During 2010 the final draft of “Knowledge Module 12: Fossil Energy Systems” of the forthcoming Global Energy Assessment report was completed. The GEA is the decadal update of the World Energy Assessment, undertaken in the style of the IPCC Assessment Reports on Climate Change, but focusing on societal challenges relating to energy and describing technology options and pathways for addressing them. The GEA is intended to provide policy-relevant analysis and capacity-enhancing guidance on energy to national governments and intergovernmental organizations; decision-support analysis to the private sector; and analyses relevant to academic institutions.

Zheng LI of Tsinghua University and Eric Larson are the Co-Convening Lead Authors of the Fossil Energy Systems Knowledge Module of the GEA. Williams is a Lead Author. Contributing Authors include Guangjian LIU (who returned to China in September 2010 after 2.5 years with the CMI Capture Group at Princeton) and two retired bp employees: Dr. Theo Fleisch, formerly a senior scientist with bp in the gas-to-liquids area, and Mr. George Nicolaides, formerly with bp’s refining business. Additionally, Larson is a Lead Author of the bioenergy sub-section of a separate Knowledge Module on Renewable Energy Systems.

The Fossil Energy Systems Knowledge Module articulates the feasibility of a radical transformation of the fossil energy landscape to simultaneously meet the multiple sustainability goals of wider access to modern energy carriers, reduced air pollution health risks, enhanced energy security, and major GHG emissions reductions. CMI analyses of co-production of liquid fuels and electricity via co-processing of coal and biomass and of natural gas and biomass with CCS are featured prominently, since such systems are the only fossil-fuel based systems with the potential to address all four major energy-related societal challenges (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Commercial or near‐commercial fossil energy technologies discussed in the GEA’s Fossil Energy Systems Knowledge Module and their suitability for addressing four major energy‐related challenges. Among the listed technology options, only co‐production systems (that include co‐processing of some biomass) along with coal or natural gas address all four challenges.