Tag Archives: Renewable Energy

Driving Towards a Greener Future

Unsurprisingly, human activities account for the majority of the increase in greenhouse gases over the last century. In 2015, the EPA did a study to see which activities accounted for the greater percent, hoping that those industries would turn toward greener alternatives. Transportation accounted for 27% of the emissions, the second largest source of greenhouse gases.

The largest portion of transportation is made up of emissions from combustion of petroleum-based products in internal combustion engines, like gasoline in an engine from cars and light-duty trucks. The other part of transportation is made up of trains, commercial aircraft, boats, and freight trucks. Since 1990, the total emissions from transportation increased dramatically due to an increase demand in travel. Due to this large increase, automobile and other transportation companies have been working to utilize alternative fuels and alternative sources of energy.

One automobile company that has been especially creative in alternative fuels is Honda. While Tesla has been paving the way for electric cars, Honda has turned towards hydrogen fuel cells to power their vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell cars are zero emission, and run on hydrogen fed into a fuel cell that produces electricity, which then powers the vehicle. Honda chose to turn toward hydrogen rather than a traditional electric vehicle because they believed it to be a better long-term solution. The vehicle has a range of around 366 miles, which is the largest range of any zero emission vehicle, and fuels up in minutes at any hydrogen station. Unfortunately, Honda was not able to sell this vehicles nationwide because the only state with hydrogen stations in California. The current infrastructure of the United States is not equipped to handle releasing these vehicles at the moment. However, it is a great push towards the direction of alternative fuel we need to lower emissions drastically and in a few years, it is Honda’s hope to have more hydrogen stations around the country.

Another automobile company that has been thinking outside the box is Toyota. The company known for their fuel-efficient hybrid Prius vehicles is venturing out into other fuel options in order to cut emissions even further. The Toyota Research Institute was searching for new alternative fuel options when they figured it would take them a lot less time to have something much smarter then them searching for them. Therefore, they decided to fund an artificial intelligence software that worked towards finding new materials to use as batteries. Toyota, like Honda, has taken a step towards hydrogen-fueled cars, but believes machine learning will be able to determine a better source of fuel more quickly. By using artificial intelligence, Toyota will be able to reach a conclusion faster and will be able to produce a new vehicle that cuts down emissions. General Motors has also jumped in to create all-electric, zero emissions vehicles to reduce pollution. Following the rollbacks on fuel efficiency requirements in the U.S., General Motors hopes to pursue the electric age with the same ferocity as European governments. Since General Motors is the largest selling car manufacturer in the U.S., they hope that other automobile companies, if they have not already done so, will follow in their footsteps. They are not the most advanced in alternative fuel vehicles, but they will make the biggest impact on the industry.

Solar energy is also a very popular alternative fuel because it is relatively easy to set up and the source of energy is the sun, so it can re-charge whenever it needs.

A much talked about concept in the world of transportation is the idea of trains utilizing a fuel source other than diesel. In the UK and India, it is very much possible to implement solar powered trains with the existing infrastructure. Nothing about the voltage of the rails needs to be changed as they already fit between the voltage needed for solar energy of that magnitude. The only problem that arises when thinking of the logistics of making UK’s trains solar is the fact that they do not have the proper funding to change their trains and add power grids to the rural countrysides. India, on the other hand, has been steadily increasing the amount of electrified rails to make way for this type of innovation, but they too would need funding for power grids throughout the country. While trains do not make up the largest portion of transportation emissions, cutting back on fossil fuels in any aspect brings us one step closer to reducing our carbon footprint and slowing down the effects greenhouse gases have on our planet.

However, if these types of technology have been around for years already, we have to wonder why they have not been inserted into our society. The answer is simple: automobile companies saw no reason to change from diesel and gasoline powered engines if no one really cared about the emissions they produced. While climate change has been a big issue for many years, it was not until lately that consumers have realized the effects climate change has on our everyday lives. Since the consumer became more eco-conscious, the companies had to start creating products that were better for the environment. It begs the question, yet, whether it is right for companies to limit themselves to what the consumer wants rather than what the world needs. If we have the ability to minimize the damage of climate change, are we really going to let a few dollars stand in the way of saving our planet?

Executive Summary-Energy of the Future

Introduction

The energy sector is facing many difficult challenges to address how globally the power sector must be transformed in the near future to sustain technological advances. These challenges entail meeting requirements of securing energy for when the need arises in the future, ensuring that they are addressing climate change as well as helping those people who lack access to energy resources.

The Future in Energy Transformation

The world is in the midst of an Energy Revolution. Energy technology innovation has become an integral part in meeting the increasing demand for energy. In order to meet this objective the United States has promoted energy efficiency in all sectors; due to higher future energy demand it has implemented changes specifically in the production and consumption of energy. Such changes include measures to utilize technology innovation for the reduction of gas emissions, increase utilization of renewable sources to produce electric energy, and an increase of awareness of how energy efficiency affects climate change. In the past ten years energy companies have been required to review and restructure their current business model. Power companies have been forced to think outside the box by implementing new strategies in order to be able to sustain a market share in the energy sector. Extensive initiatives have been taken by these power companies to address the increasing electricity demand as a result of the evolution of technology. The utilities companies have concluded that if they don’t act fast they will be left behind, especially with the drastic decrease in prices for renewables and energy storage. The protruding of distributed energy resources caused many changes to take effect at a faster pace than originally planned by the energy companies. As such, the electric power industry realizing that in order to remain competitive they must continuously invest monies in research and development. Energy companies are also required to make extreme modifications to their current business model in order to comply with the new requirements pursuant to the Paris Agreement on climate change; the framework has been finalized for the nation’s first carbon regulations. The energy revolution sets the ground work and the foundation on a global basis for the efforts to address climate change as well as coming up with ways to sustain a low-carbon energy future. Recent changes in the energy sector have resulted in the recognition of the importance of economic growth in the energy division, and at the same time the need to address climate change. It has become apparent that the emerging of advanced energy technologies provides many options to implement and address the challenges of the increased energy consumption. Advances in technology are the leading factors in driving this energy revolution to a whole new spectrum. The energy transformation creates additional possibilities for technologies which have proven that their exceptional accomplishments have been regarded as having the potential to change and reshape the surroundings in which we live and work.

 

Energy transformation has contributed to the economic growth as well as the great contribution to cleaner energy in the future. Currently in the United States the utilization of fossil fuels has drastically decreased, this was due to the vast technological innovations. It has resulted in the remarkable task of continued technological progress in wind, solar, and biofuels of which it has caused an increase in the use of renewable energy. The makeup of these energy sources has resulted in a vast shift: petroleum and coal are being replaced by the growing use of natural gas and renewables, resulting in a cleaner energy future. In addition to the benefits of meeting the increased demands of energy in the future, there have been also economic benefits. Increased production of oil, natural gas, and renewable energy has contributed to the increase in employment in these industries. Technological innovation and increased production of energy translates to price reduction for the supply of energy. The reduction in prices will benefit businesses as well as the residential arena; businesses realize an increase in their net income which translates to having to pay higher taxes to the taxing authorities, and households have an increase of disposable income.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/energy-and-the-environment/renewable-energy-and-electricity.aspx

 

As stated earlier, the breakthroughs and advances have been made predominantly in the technology sector of renewable energy. Energy companies have concluded that solar wind and hydro power are more efficient for meeting today’s growing energy demands; how will renewable energy be utilized in 30 years? The development of energy storage technology has been determined to be of the defining feature in the future of energy. There are various benefits to energy storage which is due to the renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar, these will have the capacity to meet the supply and demand for energy. There are some drawbacks as well to the utilization of wind and solar. Since the production of renewable electricity is associated with wind and solar power they are also considered unreliable when it’s dark or there is minimal wind blowing. As we have realized how vital these power sources have become to our growing demand for energy, there is an increase demand for the investment in technologies that allow energy producers, such as the power sector, to come up with the capacity to store energy that is generated when the sun shines and the wind blows. The stored energy will be released on a need to basis, which results in providing a clean air environment as well as satisfying the high demand or when the wind or the sun is not available. As the world discovers new ways to meet its growing energy needs, there is also consideration taking place on how power companies are increasing their efforts to address climate change.

 

Conclusion

Renewable energy in various forms offers great opportunities for technological innovation and progress. Over the next thirty to fifty years continued efforts without interruption must be facilitated in order to keep up with the increase in demand for energy. Renewable energy development can be beneficial in underdeveloped and developing countries. Biofuels are highly regarded as a means of addressing climate change as well as satisfying the increased demand for the use of energy. The increase in the development of energy storage technology, finding new energy carriers will result in meeting greater energy demands.

 

 

 

Recommendations

 

  • Continue to invest in research and development for new ways for improved energy storage technologies.
  • Continued efforts to educate the public on energy efficiency – the purchase of energy efficient appliances
  • Implementing stricter building guidelines – the construction of buildings and homes to be built with higher energy efficiency codes.

Visualize The World In 2050- Transportation and Energy Here And Now

-Transportation in the Future – Revamping the U.S. Transportation system by 2050

The technologies of traditional transportation require the use of fossil fuels for vehicle energy. The combination of the rising cost of fuel prices, and the detrimental effects of petroleum as a fuel source there has been an uprising interest in finding alternative in transportation technology.

 

For many years companies have been working diligently in advancing with the development of sustainable transportation alternatives, as discussed throughout the semester about the development of hybrid and electric vehicle technology. Hybrid Cars use a rechargeable energy storage system to supplement fossil fuel energy for vehicle propulsion. The hybrid’s smaller engines from the regular cars are more efficient, and have the capability to use a combination of different fuels such as petroleum and ethanol. Hybrid electric vehicles have a battery inside and are able to be charged from the main power. Hybrid cars also have the capability for an energy recovery mechanism, which slows a vehicle by converting its kinetic energy into a form which can be either used immediately, or it can be stored and used later on. Jaguar Land Rover will be building electric cars for Britain according to Fortune. According to Forbes Britain has committed to investing $485m for the introduction of autonomous cars and for the improvement of greener technologies for their cars.   China has invested approximately $4.5 billion in 2015 to build electric cars in order to decrease its fuel imports as well as improve its air pollution. China automakers have introduced into the market various electric vehicle models; it was estimated that between January through October 2016 there were 337,000 new-energy vehicles, which includes all energy and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It is estimated that there will be approximately 5 million new energy vehicles on the road by 2020.

 

According to Feng An claims that by 2050 China’s transportation sector by introducing all motor vehicles free of exhaust emissions; China is strategically addressing its energy deficiency my implementing new-energy powered fast trains and bio-powered airships. Boats and ships will be able to be powered by underwater energy stored stations utilizing wave and solar energy.   The future of transportation is full of new prospects. Various car companies are approaching the increase in demand for energy in various ways.

 

Another means of transportation is the introduction of vehicles powered by fuel cells. Japan is the dominant country which is introducing the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.   It has been estimated that approximately 40,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will hit the road by 2020 as well as 160 fueling stations. The fuel cell vehicle is a type of electric vehicle which uses a fuel cell, instead of a battery, or in combination with a battery, to power its on-board electric motor.

 

Public Transportation in the Future – Solar-Powered Trains

 

What is in the future for public transportation? Californian Tom Hunt claims that renewable energy such as solar power trains can be utilized in the train system. The company Solar Trains LLC which has been founded by Tom Hunt has initiated the probability to construct a solar canopy over miles of the train tracks, enough to solar-power the nation’s electric train system. The concept is to install the solar panels above canopies instead of putting them on the trains and the trains would travel under the canopies. The introduction to use solar as canopies above the trains would result in trains going faster and more efficient. The use of solar train canopy has the capacity to reduce enormously the use of fossil energy on trains. Currently the NJ Northeast Corridor, Midtown Direct, North Jersey Coast and Raritan Valley Line use overhead wires to run its trains, just imagine if the system would convert to using solar powered trains there will never experience overhead wire problems due to temporary power loss. According to Hunt the trains would be more efficient. The Obama administration had provided funding for this type of rail improvement but the Republican governors declined. Currently California is making an attempt to improve its rail system for high-speed rail linking the Bay Area to Southern California, which will be entirely powered by electricity; this plan is a long time away from being completed. This type of rail system overhaul is a huge undertaking, which needs to be thought out carefully.

 

 

 

Public Transportation in the Future – Solar-Powered Cars

 

Solar powered cars get their energy from the sun by converting it into electricity. These cars are powered by electricity, which fuels the battery, which also runs the car’s motor, but some solar cars direct the power straight to an electric motor. Solar cars use photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into energy. One of the major benefits of a solar car is that they are efficient for the environment since they do not create greenhouse gases. The Solar powered car of the future would entail a car being covered in solar coatings which will be able to be charged up while going down the highway or being parked in a sunny spot. Currently, a German solar company by the name of Heliatek is introducing this idea whereby constructing a car whose sun roof is replaced by an organic solar cell windows.

 

 

Transportation in the Future – Fly Electric!

 

It has been projected that by 2025 Electric Planes will be the way to fly.   In 2015 a plane was tested to fly in the French Alps. It was a two-seater aircraft, which ascended more than 20,000 feet in under two minutes, and reached speeds of 142 miles an hour; an overall flight duration of 300 miles. This plane did not burn any fuel and did not release any gases, and used an all-electric powered by a single battery. Engineers at the University of Stuttgart built the electric powered plane. It is estimated to be cost effective as well as safe to the environment. Currently it is estimated that an airplane releases around 500 million tons of carbon dioxide into the earth each year, which is an apparent factor for global warming; electric flight will replace petrochemical. By 2025 if these electric planes are utilized they have the capability to carry 100 passengers, and due to advances to these technologies flying might become cheaper in the long run.

 

 

Transportation in the Future – Fly Solar!

 

On July 13, 2016 after sixteen months and a 17-leg journey, a solar powered plane concluded it’s around the world flight touching down in Abu Dhabi. The plane as it is named “Solar Impulse 2”. The solar powered plane was the result of the commitment of providing clean air flying. The plane’s wings are compiled with 17,000 solar cells that power four electric motors. The solar cells recharge lithium batteries that allow the plane to fly at night. There are numerous improvements that need to be made; as such it might not be a means of air transportation any time in the near future. Flying solar is not a possibility now, but might be in 20 years from now with further research into alternative aircraft power.

The Future In Energy Transformation

What will the future of Energy be like in 30-50 Years? There are higher future energy demands; in the next 30 to 50 years and our global environment will demand more and more energy. There are three driving forces that will make energy more in demand. There is a vast increase in technologically dependency. The emerging technologies (i.e. autonomous vehicles, advanced genomics, mobile) have the potential to change and reshape the surroundings in which we live and work. The extensive use of the Internet whereby people rely extensively to communicate through email, the use of online banking, tools to find information and many more. These are just a few of things that people are so reliant on the internet. It has been estimated that by 2051, the US population is projected to reach the 400 million threshold, and 420 million by 2062. The future of energy is also affected by the supply side of energy, whereby various sources of energy are working together to make fuel in order to satisfy the increasing demands in the next 30 to 50 years. As we noted earlier coal was the dominant source of energy in America, but in recent years the use of coal has decreased drastically, as such in the future will be the second most protrusive source used in the future as energy over the next 30-50 years. This decrease in coal is predominantly due to coal plants becoming older and obsolete. As a result, the closing of these coal plants mean that there will be less coal being produced. The closing of old plants does not necessary induce for new coal plants to be built. It is estimated that coal with drop by 30% of the nation’s energy in the year 2064.   Another agent of energy change is the increase of renewable energy. Solar and wind are two examples. It is vital that both government and businesses are knowledgeable on the upcoming new technologies so that they can begin implementing strategies and start preparing for its impact.   In recent years there have been numerous disruptive technologies introduced into the public sector. Natural Gas will be considered the primary source of energy. The growth of natural gas will be the biggest change. Natural gas is considered to be in abundance and cheap. Currently, 25% of natural gas accounts for the production of electricity, and the majority of homes are being heated by natural gas. Due to the high gas demand, low cost, and the abundance of it, natural gas will be the driving factor of utilization in the future. In the year 2040, natural gas is estimated to make up 35% of US energy production, resulting in being the driver source of energy surpassing coal consumption. It is apparent that the advancement will forever revolutionize the lives of many people, businesses and especially the overall economy. Energy transformation is being driven by five global megatrends interacting with and amplified by a set of shifts taking place within the power sector. The five megatrends-technological breakthroughs; climate change and resource scarcity; demographic and social change; a shift in global economic power and rapid urbanization – are challenges for businesses. Is the Energy sector ready to revitalize its business model to sustain current and future disruptive innovations? In the near future, society will be forced to find new ways and will be required to research and develop alternative energy sources. If no action will be taken in coming up with new ways to generate energy there will be an energy crisis in this century. Breakthroughs and advances have been made in the technology sector of renewable energy. Energy companies are addressing the growing demand of having to provide new products and services by making strides in how energy sources are extracted, created and used. Renewable energy technologies are being utilized such as solar wind and hydro power, which are more efficient for meeting today’s growing energy demands. According to Forbes “The development of energy storage technology is going to be one of the defining features of the 21st century’s energy landscape”. Energy storage technologies allow you to get the most out of renewable energy resources such as wind, which produces more power than it is needed at night where much goes to waste. They can use this wasted energy to heat homes and offices. One of the future sources of energy storage as we said is batteries. Batteries are an integral part of an electric vehicle. This energy storage technology, i.e. “zombie” batteries are being used in the existing electronic vehicle. As the demand increases and the number of electronic vehicles are increasing in purchases, charging stations are being set up in various places. It has been estimated that a lithium ion battery could last from 5 to 20 years and still retain 80% of its charge. The lithium ion battery afterlife can be utilized in homes.

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000397437

 

 

 

Various countries utilize solar power, wind power and water power as their renewable energy. It is estimated that in the future renewable energy sources will be a thing of the past. Korea is planning to invest $36 Billion in renewable energy by year 2020. They are planning to use this money to develop renewable energy industries, such as solar and wind power and eco-friendly power plants by year 2020. It is estimated that power plants will generate 13 million kilowatts of electricity manually which is an equivalent of 26 coal plants. In addition, 4.5 trillion is to be invested in energy storage and 2 trillion in eco-friendly power plants. Another advantage to this investment of building plants and investing in renewable energy will result in an increase of 30,000 jobs by 2020. The Netherlands has built a high-tech Dutch solar bike path. This high-tech solar bike path is called “SolaRoad”, whereby one of the two lanes has solar panels which serves as the feeder of energy back to the grid. The solar panels are designed to be able to generate enough electricity to power homes. After a year of testing it was concluded that the solar panels generated enough energy to power a home for a year just from operating for only six months. There is still more work to be done with improving these solar panels; an issue occurred whereby a portion of the panels peeled off and the path had to be closed off. Japan has entered the solar panel by placing them on their rooftop. Japan has begun work on what will be the biggest floating solar farm. This solar farm is being built on a reservoir. This is estimated to supply energy to approximately 5,000 households when it is completed in 2018. China, Brazil, Egypt and India are also countries which have joined in putting solar panels on their rooftop. The government is encouraging Tokyo builders to make buildings more energy-efficient with solar panels in addition to having form of storage and other devices such as fuel cells. California installed solar panels which resulted in an excess of solar energy. California is considered the leader in the production of solar energy.