January 19, 1938. That was a remarkable day as the General Motors Company launched the serial production of the diesel engines. Many aspects have changed during these 80 years, no doubt. One of them – gradual replacement of the diesel engines by the electric ones. Energy innovations are proliferating all around the world extremely swiftly. In order that you do not miss the most important energy news today, the Ukrenergo review stays up-to-date with the latest and the most interesting news. This week will thus become remarkable for:
1. Renewables vs. conventional energy by 2020. Electricity from all forms of renewables will be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020. The following announcement was proclaimed by Adnan Amin, Head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), at last annual summit in Abu Dhabi. No doubts, the prediction is more than ambitious. As of today, fossil-fuel power typically costs between $0.05 to $0.17 per kWh.
Due to the latest estimations by Irena the average cost of electricity generated by various forms of renewables varies from $0.05 per kWh within hydrogenation to $0.07 per kWh for solar panels. The cost of electricity generated by onshore wind and solar photovolvatics was the most expensive. However, Irena predicts, the price of offshore wind and solar thermal power will fall to $ 0,10 and $ 0,06 respectively until 2020. Thus, a complete transition to the renewables just in two years will be beneficial both from the ecological and economic points of view. Well, if the prediction comes to life, the renewables energy will overcome its current problems through investments attraction whereas transition to renewable energy sources will be more than real.
2. New energy policy in Germany. German party leaders agree new energy policy for coalition talks. The parties currently in talks to form Germany’s next government have agreed to speed up the roll-out of renewable energies and start to phase-out of coal-fired power generation. Contrary to a draft announced earlier this week, the blueprint agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD) no longer explicitly postpones Germany’s 2020 climate target. The agreement now obliges to achieve the energy goals until 2030. Germany’s energy transition (“Energiewende”) – the decarbonisation of the country’s economy and shift away from nuclear and fossil fuels to a renewables-based energy system – will continue under the next government. New energy agreement previews as well 1.5 billion euros investment for “regional structural policy/structural change coal policy” in 2018-2021; climate protection law adoption to ensure that 2030 climate targets are met (to be passed in 2019); increasing the share of renewable power to 65 percent by 2030; Introducing additional measures to expand and modernise energy grids (law to speed-up the electricity grid expansion). Hence, the new energy policy in Germany will remain one of the strongest and the most progressive in the world.
3. Bitcoin mining vs. electricity demand. Lately everybody keeps discussing the cryptocurrency. However, is there something interesting about them within the energy sphere? Actually, yes. Bitcoin miners on track to use more electricity than all of Argentina in 2018,mention Morgan Stanley analysts. Miners of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could require up to 140 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2018, about 0.6 percent of the global total. Besides, the analysts claim that the mentioned indices will not have a great impact on the fossil fuels and new additional generation facilities development all around the globe except for China which is the world leader in cryptocurrency production. China is already moving to clamp downon the country’s bitcoin mining industry over concerns about both excessive electricity consumption and financial risk . However the analysts also claim that high electricity demand may introduce new business opportunities for renewable energy developers and that many utility companies like NextEra, Iberdrola, Enel and even Big Oil is moving into the renewables space.
4. Free public transport however clean air. Seoul to offer free public transport on Monday to combat fine dust in the city. On 15 January, 2018 South Korea launched an alternate no driving day restriction in the capital city. The authorities asked the car owners not to use their vehicles in case it was possible The ministry said restrictions apply to roughly half of all affected cars from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. South Korea usually implements alternate no driving days based on odd and even last numbers of a vehicle’s license plate. The ministry said the measures are being taken because fine dust levels have reached 57 micrograms per cubic meter in Seoul as of 4 p.m. Sunday. The corresponding numbers for nearby Incheon and Gyeonggi Province reached 54 micrograms and 67 micrograms, respectively. Such numbers represent “bad” concentrations of fine dust in the air that can pose health problems. However, the most interesting issue in this entire story relates to public transport offered by the authorities. The following practice is not brand new for Seoul. The fine dust related restrictions first introduced in February of last year was last issued on Dec. 30. Looks like climate changes and possible climate threats are influencing lives of people especially in the world`s biggest economic centers. No doubts, the Seoul practice should be taken into consideration in the other big cities.
5. Three-times more effective thermoelectric devices.Study of the Massachussets Inswtitute of Technology finds topological materials that may boost the efficiency of thermoelectric devices. In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the MIT researchers identify the underlying property that makes certain topological materials a potentially more efficient thermoelectric material, compared to existing devices. The boundaries of this nanostructured material may be pushed so that the topological materials become a good thermoelectric material, more so than conventional semiconductors like silicon. In the end, this could be a clean-energy way to help us use a heat source to generate electricity, which will lessen our release of carbon dioxide. Thermoelectric devices are made from materials that can convert a temperature difference into electricity, without requiring any moving parts — a quality that makes thermoelectrics a potentially appealing source of electricity. The phenomenon is reversible: If electricity is applied to a thermoelectric device, it can produce a temperature difference. Today, thermoelectric devices are used for relatively low-power applications, such as powering small sensors along oil pipelines, backing up batteries on space probes, and cooling minifridges. Te-Huan Liu, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, played with the size of tin telluride’s individual grains to see whether this had any effect on the flow of electrons under a temperature gradient. They found that when they decreased the diameter of an average grain to about 10 nanometers, bringing its boundaries closer together, they observed an increased contribution from higher-energy electrons. That is, with smaller grain sizes, higher-energy electrons contribute much more to the material’s electrical conduction than lower-energy electrons, as they have shorter mean free paths and are less likely to scatter against grain boundaries. This results in a larger voltage difference that can be generated.