The James Watt Lecture 2021: “Hydrogen and CCS – could it be the decarbonisation game changer?”
- with Philip Ringrose, Specialist in Reservoir Geoscience, Equinor ASA Research Centre Trondheim

We are delighted to announce that Philip Ringrose will deliver the 2021 James Watt Lecture titled: “Hydrogen and CCS – could it be the decarbonisation game changer?”

Philip Ringrose is Adjunct Professor in CO2 Storage at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Specialist in Geoscience at the Equinor Research Centre in Trondheim, Norway.

We are grateful to Equinor and NTNU for allowing Phil to give this presentation.

Proudly Sponsored by:
The Annual James Watt Lecture

This SEF Event is held in partnership with ‘The Watt Club’, the alumni association of Heriot-Watt University, who have a long-held tradition of recognising James Watt’s birthday each year by “supping” together.

In recognition of Heriot-Watt’s long established association with the SEF, the annual January “James Watt Lecture” is delivered by a leading commentator who will address topical aspects and issues affecting the energy sector.  The role of research and contribution of universities in supporting industry to address global societal challenges will also be discussed.

Traditionally after the presentation there is a sit down meal and opportunity for the audience to network, “sup” together and toast James Watt’s contribution to science and engineering.

In these unprecedented times with the presentation being delivered by Video Conference, we invite the audience to toast James Watt from the comfort of your own home.


There are many routes to decarbonisation of our modern high-emissions society, but all of them need a component of CO2 capture and geological storage (CCS).  Some visions argue for decarbonisation of fossil fuels via CCS while others promote ‘Carbon removal’ using direct-air capture or bioenergy with CCS. All routes to decarbonisation require significant growth in Renewable Energy (RE) and all require much more effective use of energy. The question then becomes one of finding the right balance and mix of these options.

Hydrogen as a fuel has the appeal of reaching the parts of the energy system that are difficult or impossible to tackle with RE, namely the heavy industrial sectors (cement, steel, and chemicals), shipping and heavy goods transport, heating and base-load power generation. Ammonia as a hydrogen carrier or a fuel source will also play a role. In the long-term, hydrogen could be mainly generated by electrolysis using RE (Green H2), but for the next few decades hydrogen produced by reforming natural gas together with CCS (Blue H2) will be a faster and cheaper route to rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The supply and energy balances for Hydrogen- and RE-based energy systems indicate that low-emissions energy systems are achievable at an acceptable price, although market stimulation to change from the current high-emissions energy systems is needed. In all the ‘decarbonization narratives’ Gigatonnes of CO2 need to be ‘returned to the earth from whence it came’, also described as ‘Geospheric return.’ Large-scale geological disposal of CO2 is clearly possible in terms of the available geological resources, but it needs to become a routine business in the 21st Century in order to limit global warming to 2oC.

Our distinguished speaker Philip (Phil) Ringrose will share his thoughts on this highly topical subject followed by audience Q&A.

Our Speaker

Philip Ringrose is a specialist in Reservoir Geoscience at Equinor and Adjunct Professor of CO2 Storage at NTNU. Over the last decade, he has worked on various developments in CCS and on several large-scale CO2 storage projects. He has 30 years of industry and research experience, including positions as Lead Geologist, Åsgard Development, Statoil E&P (Norway), and Advisor for Geological Reservoir Modelling and Uncertainty Analysis (Statoil). Between 1990 and 1997, he was a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Heriot-Watt Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Edinburgh, UK. He has published widely on reservoir geoscience and flow in rock media and has recently published textbooks on ‘Reservoir Model Design’ and ‘How to Store CO2 underground.’

He is Chief Editor for the journal Petroleum Geoscience. In 2012, he was elected as the 2014–2015 President of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) and served for 3 years on the board of the EAGE. He has served on numerous conference committees, including the SPE Forum Series, the EAGE Sustainable Earth Sciences Conferences, and the EAGE CO2 Geological Storage Workshop. He has participated in several of the Gordon Research Conferences and has also served as external reviewer for the IEAGHG Peer Review of the USDoE Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP) programme. He is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ.

Dr Ringrose was honoured with the following awards: Mobil (North Sea) Ltd Prize for outstanding performance in geophysics, Edinburgh University, 1981; Dr James MacKenzie Prize for excellence in postgraduate research, Strathclyde University, 1987; and an Honorary Professorship (2018–2021) at the University of Edinburgh, School of Geosciences.


Due to the COVID-19 outbreak this event will now be delivered by webinar using the ‘Zoom’ Video Conferencing facility.

If using a workplace computer to connect, please ensure your organisation allows access to the ‘Zoom’ software or alternatively use your private email address to subscribe. Zoom is FREE and you can register here https://zoom.us/signup?zcid=1231

Delegates should register for the event using this page. Once your application is approved you will receive log-in details to join the webinar. We send these some 24hours beforehand to enable you to check the functionality. We strongly recommend you check the ‘Zoom’ connection before the broadcast.

Questions of our speaker will be handled by our Chair Nicola Gordon through the ‘Q&A’ facility on ‘Zoom’.

We ask all delegates to ‘mute’ their microphones to avoid background noise and disruptions to our speaker.


4.50PM – Delegates join the webinar and wait for the host to activate the session.

5PM – Update from SEF Exec Sec.

5.05PM – Introduction of our speaker by Chair Nicola Gordon.

5.10PM – Philip Ringrose  presentation.

5.45PM – Q&A through Zoom ‘Group Chat’ functionality. Managed by SEF Chair Nicola Gordon.

6.25PM – Vote of Thanks.

6.30PM – Webinar finishes

Booking Conditions

Please note that registering for an SEF event does not guarantee you a place until your request is processed and accepted by the SEF.

We will operate a ‘wait list’ if our events are over-subscribed with priority being given to paid-up members of the SEF.

During our events we actively encourage reasoned debate amongst the audience and with our invited speaker; however, we request that all participants are mindful and respectful to others points of view. Attendees who cannot abide by these simple houserules, or who disrupt proceedings or use defamatory remarks, will be invited to leave the presentation.

We reserve the right to refuse entry to those attendees who have not pre-registered.