Governments around the world are incorporating legislation for the rapid adoption of sustainable energy sources. There are several sustainable innovations that will change the way our energy sector currently operates. They range from cleaner energy production to smart grids for energy storage and distribution through demand-side management and more. Regardless of methodology, there is a push to move away from using fossil fuels.
Inventor of electricity, Thomas Edison, once said “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
In the broadest sense, this energy transition and transformation can be categorized into three headings. Digitization, decentralization, and decarbonization.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping to automate or digitize processes that previously took physical man-hours making them more efficient. For instance, the manufacturing sector is better equipped to monitor and control its basic infrastructures and make use of newer equipment providing better energy solutions to everyone in the value train. Pressure transmitters are being used in hydrogen applications to determine the expansion forces of liquids or gasses. Solar farms are using thermal imagers to examine overheating.
Energy no longer needs to be produced and consumed in the same locale. This is called decentralization. Energy can now be sent out from one region to another. Therefore, serving consumers around the globe via distribution networks. Lower energy intensity is enabled and there are more opportunities to use renewable energy sources.
Government incentives have enabled more companies to come into this sector allowing for increased competition between renewable energy organizations driving down the costs for such products and services while conversely upping the tax base for fossil fuels. This is considered decarbonization.
There are many technologies that are considered renewable. Solar is in a top slot along with wind and lithium batteries. However, there are some very interesting emerging technologies that we will touch on too.
Solar power is one of the ones that have experienced an uptick in popularity recently as costs have decreased. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of the world’s electricity is currently being generated via solar power. The BBC recently reported about a solar-powered train that can transmit 75% of its power back to the grid. That is impressive!
Wind turbines have been installed offshore and onshore with mixed reviews. There are newly designed wind turbines that no longer have rotating blades that should span a more environmentally friendly trend. These non-rotating turbines operate within the wind’s speed range causing a vibration that in turn creates energy. This allows for more flexibility as to installation where space may be limited.
Renewable energy depends on batteries to capture, store, and distribute energy. Battery technology has come a long way in the past decade and more and better batteries are being developed. These batteries will be less costly, have more longevity, operate at lower temperatures, charge faster, be safer, and store more energy.
Electric vehicles have been touted as having a carbonless footprint and they have been readily adopted. Not all parts of electric vehicles are carbonless. Have you ever considered tires? Goodyear is testing a tire that is made from spider silk. It is biodegradable and durable.
Three D technologies are revolutionizing many sectors from homes to rockets and more. Researchers from VTT Technical Research Center in Finland have been able to devise a three-D tree that can capture solar energy, heat, and kinetic energy from the environment. This is being tested both indoors and outside. These three D trees can take the stored energy and power thermometers, mobile phones, and some household appliances. If this theory holds and improves they may be able to totally change the dynamics of deforestation and help to power single-family homes.
The list goes on and on regarding the newfangled technological innovations in the energy sector and elsewhere. As technologies continue to evolve and improve no doubt humanity will reap the incredible rewards. Keep stopping by my blog pages to see what changes. Thank you!