Ed’s note: Innovative energy technologies of the future


What are the innovative technologies that will form the basis of our power ecosystem in the next decade? How will these be incorporated into our lives, and what breakthrough technologies could we expect to see in the next decade?

I have been reading a lot about technological innovation in the power and utility sector recently. As we try to make sense of the current state of the world, there is something to be said for those that are innovating even during challenging times. Perhaps innovation gives us a sense that there is life after a pandemic, perhaps it’s just the delight that comes with things that are shiny and new?

I wanted to share some of the innovative technologies I have come across – a list which is by no means exhaustive or complete – include the following:

CO2 removal at scale

Jan Wurzbacher, Co-Founder and co-CEO of Climeworks believes that in addition to net-zero emission technologies, negative emission technologies will grow in scale and use. This is in order to remove existing or ‘historic’ carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“By becoming widely accessible, the demand for CO2 removal will increase and costs will fall,” Wurzbacher wrote recently, adding that: “CO2 removal will be scaled up to the gigaton-level, and will become the responsible option for removing unavoidable emissions from the air. It will empower individuals to have a direct and climate-positive impact on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

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Hydrogen battery technology – for your home storage need

The world’s first residential solar-based hydrogen energy storage system is under development in Australia. This innovative collaboration between GHD and the University of New South Wales, the 60kWh LAVO Hydrogen Storage Technology, uses hydrogen for residential energy storage.

Digital twins

As the energy transition reaches scale around the world, and renewable energy becomes more cost-effective than fossil fuels, the role of digitalisation will gain speed in supporting an upswing in offshore wind capacity.

Thomas Laurent, CEO of Akselos, says: “The rapid development of digital twins – virtual replicas of physical devices – will support a systems-level transformation of the energy sector. The scientific machine learning that combines physics-based models with big data will lead to leaner designs, lower operating costs and ultimately clean, affordable energy for all.”

Digital twins are rapidly becoming part of a new innovative business paradigm as they provide the opportunity to model changes in configurations, monitor the health of the plant and increase the resilience of “everything from wind farms to bridges and unmanned aerial vehicles” through a real-time digital replica.

Smarter cybersecurity

Smart cybersecurity is a reaction to the need to manage cyber risk by lessening security gaps as a result of manual processes and the impact of cybersecurity skills shortage. This will see the integration of artificial intelligence, machine learning, adaptive networks and supercomputing into the realm of cybersecurity.

Art Coviello, the former chairman of RSA, a cybersecurity risk management firm, told Forbes recently: “There are too many things happening – too much data, too many attackers, too much of an attack surface to defend – that without those automated capabilities that you get with artificial intelligence and machine learning, you don’t have a prayer of being able to defend yourself.”

Wireless charging

Long-range wireless charging is a potential innovator in the residential and commercial spheres. As smart cities and smart homes become an increasing reality, the potential for voice control, remote control and wireless charging is increasingly possible.

Says Ori Mor, a member of the Forbes Technology Council: “Long-range wireless power delivers power from a distance without wires. A power transmitter is on one side of the room, while the charged device includes a power receiver. Long-range power is available with different technologies, including radiofrequency (RF), ultrasound and infrared (IR) light.”

Many of the technologies listed above would fit nicely into longer-term smart city objectives as cities and utilities work to boost resiliency to natural and manmade disasters through digitisation and automation (with effective cyber risk protection), deploying backup power sources, battery storage, microgrids, and more.

Have you come across a technology that you believe to be particularly innovative? How do you see it being deployed or do you have an example of where it has been successfully deployed? We’d love to hear more about that as we explore innovation in the energy sector.

Wishing you a week of discoveries.

Until next time!

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