The Future of Power Plants
Rising energy demand, emerging new challenges, need to meet the objectives of more renewable sources and the push to slash Co2 have been cornerstones to tap into newer technologies with regards to the energy sector. The need to make the power plants portable has been stemming from the idea of tapping energy from various sources and not just from the conventional sources.
There are multiple formats through which electricity is produced and consumed. Mobility has been critical to fulfil the growing energy demand that is fulfilled through decentralization and digitization of new energy resources. This demands the future power plants to be robust, intuitive, and fool proof. The trends are swaying towards renewable energy at an affordable cost and companies are spending millions in creating newer technologies that is not stand alone but weaved into the society. In this article we would explore the future of power plants and some of the best practices across the globe.
The power plant of the future is going to be on the rooftops of every home. The increasing demand for electricity is putting an unexplainable load to the conventional power plants that is in turn becoming harmful to the ecosystem. This amazing development has empowered individual homeowners to less depend on the national electricity grid for their energy demands. The ownership cost of batteries is considerably reducing which is motivating individuals to install solar panels and store electricity to the batteries. However, the initial procurement and installation charges of Solar Panels is proving to be a hindrance in many countries.
Underwater Tidal Plants
Like Solar, Tidal Power Plants have not tasted any success due to high costs and limited availability. Underwater Tidal Plants are a more predictable power source compared to the intermittent renewables like wind and solar. Countries such as South Korea and Scotland are betting high on Tidal Energy primarily because it does not occupy too much space and is least in terms of emitting greenhouse gases. The rest of the renewables (Solar and Wind) require a large mass of land for it to be installed and make it functional. Another key advantage of Tidal Power is its predictability – low and high tides are generally cyclical.
Some of the societies across the globe are in the process of moving towards sustainable energy and are taking every possible step to create their own energy. A cluster of homes in a society, nowadays, are willing to go all-electric by installing solar panels to generate electricity and channel them through a microgrid. These microgrids act as a self-contained electricity distribution network that can function independently and not connected to any larger grid. These microgrids are built with the latest technology where power is allocated to each house based on energy production pattern, thereby optimizing the usage.
Virtual Power Plants (VPP)
The technology that exists scantily in the USA, Europe and Australia is a cloud based distributed power generation units that comprises of solar parks, wind farms and combined heat and power units. The power generated through these interconnected units are dispatched through a central control room of the Virtual Power Plant. The objective is to de-stress the load on electricity grid by smartly distributing the power generated and to also trade excess energy with the help of a platform.
Having said all the above, without a doubt, it is going to be a herculean task to move to newer formats of energy production, But in the interim our focus should shift to redefining the best practices, and utilise the current pandemic time to undertake measures such as:
Commencing shift from Coal/Diesel to Gas-based power generation (Gas being the cleanest of present fossil fuels) for base-load demands, and eventually to the long-awaited Nuclear Fusion Power Plants. If you have not read about the ITER yet, you need to know about this grand project now!
Existing Oil & Energy production companies should strongly consider fast-track adaption of Industry 5.0! This involves digitalizing assets and processes, which results in higher efficiencies, lower emissions, and lower expenses. Entry costs are no longer a barrier, with various companies providing great value for money solutions. In fact, two start-ups Navin Kumar, Managing Director, Navsar Engineering co-founded: Keemurai and BlackHammAR, revolve around these principles and provide cutting edge solutions for Oil & Energy plants.
Embrace and encourage decentralised energy. We already have sufficient energy sources that are now off-the-shelf, plug-n-play modules. Navsar is developing micro-grid solutions that utilise Solar, Wind, Waste-To-Energy, Energy Storage Systems in various permutations and combinations that can suit a range of customers.
Electric Vehicle adaption has commenced globally, and the pace needs to be maintained to provide enough time for all stakeholders: consumers, manufacturers, policy-makers to ensure everyone is benefitted from and adapted to the transition. A good idea for this would be to promote PHEVs – Plug-In Hybrid EVs. At the same time, Green Hydrogen needs to be made techno-commercially viable for fuel-cell-powered automobiles.
To tie all these up, it’s time our Transmission and Distribution networks are made expansive and efficient. We should consider building cross-country & inter-country High Voltage networks, so that clean energy can be transmitted from areas of abundance and distributed in areas of scarcity.
NAVSAR is one of the Leading Energy and Infrastructure development Company based out of Singapore offering a bouquet of services and solutions for the Energy & Infrastructure Industries. Visit www.navsar.in to know more about our services and email firstname.lastname@example.org to know how we have been helping our clients. For information regarding our A.I. services, visit our partners www.keemurai.net
Article References: Power Technology, The Wired, World Economic Forum