With the global need for renewable, clean & sustainable energy growing at an advanced rate; which companies are pioneering technologies to meet the demand?
With recent prime time television advertising focusing on clean energy & our children’s future; leading energy suppliers are now more than ever showing how they plan for a future of sustainable, clean energy.
As part of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals agreed as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the need for sustainable & clean energy has become paramount. SDG7’s intention is to Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (1)
With energy requirements set to peak in 2030 & an ever burgeoning electrification & EV market, particularly in the automotive sector; where will this additional energy be generated from & who is supplying it to whom?
With global energy needs being at the forefront of policy makers & industry minds alike, SDG7 was addressed & discussed in depth at the High Level Political Forum in 2018, with the following outcomes & observations being made:
- From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of the global population with access to electricity increased from 78 per cent to 87 per cent, with the absolute number of people living without electricity dipping to just below 1 billion.
- In the least developed countries, the proportion of the people with access to electricity more than doubled between 2000 and 2016.
- In 2016, 3 billion people (41 per cent of the world’s population) were still cooking with polluting fuel and stove combinations.
- The share of renewables in final energy consumption increased modestly, from 17.3 per cent in 2014 to 17.5 per cent in 2015. Yet only 55 per cent of the renewable share was derived from modern forms of renewable energy.
- Global energy intensity decreased by 2.8 per cent from 2014 to 2015, double the rate of improvement seen between 1990 and 2010. (1)
Therefore, with this information in mind & a clear disparity arising between the needs of the planet & the ability to deliver; which companies are striving forward to ensure & enable the global affordable & clean energy needs are met.
CryoPower & Cryogenics
Highview Power have harnessed the versatile & environmental benefitting power of Cryogenics. Highview Power’s technology is based on the air liquefication principle, enabling the storage of air as a liquid. The benefits of this type of high-density storage, is that once there is a need for energy supply, the liquid can be reverted back in to a gaseous form, generating energy which powers the Highview Power turbines, subsequently producing instantly available & sustainable energy supplies.
The Highview Power liquefication system is base on a three-phase process:
1/ Air is compressed & turned into a liquid.
2/ The liquid air is then stored in high-density storage tanks.
3/ The liquid air is then converted into gas & used to power turbines, subsequently generating electricity (2)
As part of the SDG7, the need for renewable energy is a necessity rather than a need. BP, having been supplying renewable energy for more than 20 years state that:
“Renewables are the fastest-growing energy source in the world today and we estimate that they could provide at least 15% of the global energy mix by 2040.” (3)
With the costs of Solar energy having reduced by up to 80% over the past decade, this has made the technology more efficient & more affordable.
However, with pressure from environmentalists about the defacing of our countryside’s & fields with vast blocks of shimmering black solar panels, some companies are seeking alternatives on water.
With large islands of solar panels under construction or already placed in reservoirs & lakes across the Netherlands, China, the UK & Japan, a group of Dutch engineers are taking their floating solar islands out onto the Andijk reservoir. In the largest development of it’s type in the world, a series of 15 floating solar islands is to be installed on the Andijk reservoir in north Holland.
Arnoud van Druten, the managing director of Floating Solar, a solar panel supplier, said: “We would like to have started earlier but because of the environmental issues regarding bird seasons, there is only a limited period in the year, these three months, that we can put anything in the water.” (4)
The water company PWN which owns the land & the lake, anticipates that there will be enough renewable energy generated by the these solar islands, to power 10,000 homes.
We are used to seeing the giant arms of the wind turbines across our fields & out at sea, as they seemingly effortlessly swish through the air, generating energy as they go. Despite wind farms coming under criticism for their environmental impact & costs, they are still an integral component to the renewable, clean & sustainable energy mix.
Orsted’s ‘Hornsea Project One’ wind farm located off the Yorkshire coast, once completed in 2020, will be the largest offshore windfarm in the world, with the capacity to power one million homes. As of June 4th 2019, 50 of the 174 turbines had been installed & despite construction still continuing, they have already begun generating energy from the completed turbines.
In addition to the renewable abilities of solar, cryogenics & wind; the advancing developments in the bio-energy market, must also be considered.
Companies across the globe have been tapping into the abilities to generate energy from biomass & household waste. The ability to convert biomass into fuels, energy, heat & electricity is not a new concept; but many people are wary of the carbon deposits which can still be inherent in the processing of such products.
Another British innovation currently in the design phase, is the proposed £200 million biomass plant planned in Preston, Lancashire. The plant is expected to generate around 40 megawatts of low carbon electricity which Longridge Road Energy say could power up to 89,000 homes.