Trending to the future: DNV GL’s ‘Technology Outlook 2030’

Source: DNV GL report

Best case scenario for 2030 – safer, smarter, greener (illustration: DNV GL)
Best case scenario for 2030 – safer, smarter, greener (illustration: DNV GL)

How will the world look in 2030? A recently released report from DNV GL, Technology Outlook 2030, strives to bring focus to how the next decade will play out from a technology perspective.

Examining trends and looking out over the next decade, the Outlook aims to answer questions such as:

  • Which digital technologies are important in advancing and implementing the energy related technologies?
  • What impact these technologies will have in the next decade?
  • How the power and renewable industry and society can optimally prepare for 2030?

The trends the Technology Outlook examines are grouped into three categories. The first, “enabling trends”, include the acceleration of digitalisation and virtualisation. “Transforming trends” include low-carbon systems, with a focus on transport, healthcare and food. The third, “sustaining technologies”, covers technologies that can be applied to natural ecosystems and the ocean space.

Later, the Outlook takes up two possible scenarios for society in light of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The best-case scenario is one in which we live in a society “that has been able to leverage the disruptive nature of technological capabilities in a positive manner, shifting direction towards a socially, environmentally and economically resilient future.” Continuing on our “current development pathways” – not meeting the challenges of climate change and continuing current trends in which SDG goals are achieved – will mean we’ve failed to leverage technology’s promise.

While the Technology Outlook covers the impact of technology on broad spectrum of industries, the energy segments are of particular interest.

Oil and gas
The impact on oil and gas “will be driven both by economic factors and by sustainability issues”:

“The industry faces an unprecedented combination of market forces, regulation, societal pressure over climate change, and challenges to integrate with other sectors like power and renewables.”

To meet the challenge, digitalisation, which is well underway, will continue its growth, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality offering greater efficiency.

Offshore, DNV GL expects that the trend to power fields from shore via subsea cables will grow, reducing the number of gas turbines that from that account for approximately 80% of the offshore CO2 emissions.

DNV GL expects hydrogen production to increase: “In our view, the main challenge is being able to create low-carbon hydrogen value chains with economic potential to scale globally.”

And the oil and gas industry can take the lead:

“Recent DNV GL research provides detailed analysis of the factors affecting the future competitiveness of hydrogen production pathways. We see the oil and gas industry is well positioned to take a leading role in the hydrogen value chain. It has major stakes in gas transport infrastructure, liquefied natural gas facilities and terminals, natural gas storage sites, and CO2 storage operations.”

We’ve already seen the effect of solar- and wind-generated electricity on the power supply mix, so the impact of new technologies on the renewable energy sector is expected to be significant:

“Towards 2030, the impact of new technology like EVs, electrochemical storage, high-efficiency heat pumps, hydrogen production through electrolysis, synthetic fuels and consequent introduction of IT controlled demand will only increase. Today, we are at the brink of needing new market rules, which should have evolved sufficiently by 2030 to ensure a smooth transition to an electricity supply increasingly powered by wind and solar.”

Moreover, digital technologies are expected to contribute to increasing energy efficiency, contributing to a reduction of reliance on fossil fuels.

Explore further
Technology is in DNV GL’s DNA and the full Outlook covers a broad horizon. Visit to download the full Technology Outlook 2030 and explore more  technologies that will shape the next decade.