Among the most interesting energy news this week featured in Ukrenergo Review you will hear about which electric cars next year the most famous world car brands will offer consumers, how the European Union is going to encourage the innovative development of RES production in islands etc.
1.European Commission announces new prize to reward islands for local RES production
The European Commission announced the first edition of the RESponsible Island Prize, an award for best usage of renewable energy production in islands. It is dedicated to islands with innovative and sustainable local renewable energy production for use in electricity, heating, cooling and transport. The three winners will receive a cash prize of €500,000, €250,000 and €100,000, respectively. The news was announced on the official website of the European Commission.
According to Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, islands are perfect test labs for the deployment of innovative energy technologies. Commissioner also shared his hope that this new prize would encourage many islands and other small communities to re-think the way they produce and consume energy.
The winner will be determined according to several criteria, including the share of renewable electricity generated using innovative technologies, the impact of using RES technology on environmental and sustainable socio-economic development, as well a possibility to shar and replicate this experience. According to the EC’s website, successful applicants will also need to demonstrate how their energy system engages the local community as responsible consumers.
The prize is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme (2014-2020). Through the prize, the Commission will contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the Political Declaration on Clean Energy on EU Islands and the Smart Islands Initiative. It will also help the EU address one of the eight innovation challenges identified in the Global Initiative – the “Innovation Mission”, aimed at accelerating transition to clean energy.
2.Brussels urges to support RES industry
EU countries should develop a policy to maintain the competitiveness of RES industry within the framework of National Energy and Climate Plans. This was discussed at the second High-level meeting of the renewables section of the EU Clean Energy Industrial Forum in Brussels, reports EC website.
The Forum is part of the framework established to support the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, aiming to encourage energy transition. It was attended by CEOs, industry leaders, and representatives from international organisations.
The meeting discussed attracting private sector investments, which will be key to the success of the energy transition. The Commission proposed to mainstream climate in the next European budget, and promised to put projects forward towards the recently adopted Innovation Fund. The participants supported the creation of a one-stop-shop to allow the private sector to access the relevant instruments needed for the deployment of new renewable energy projects.
According to the EC’s strategic goals, the renewable energy target for 2030 is set at at least 32%. This will allow the European renewable energy industry to become an instrument motor for economic growth and additional jobs.
3.Most popular electric cars rounded up at Geneva Motor Show
Automakers debuted dozens of electric cars at the Geneva Motor Show, which took place last week. This is according to Cnbc.com. Aston Martin rolled out an all-electric concept car, while Ferrari announced plans to develop hybrid models of F8 Tributo.
The buyers are looking at what they may prefer: “electrification,” whether hybrid, plug-in (same principle as with hybrid, may recharge from household electricity networks or RES) or all-electric, carmakers are moving to adopt the technology at a rapid rate. This year’s Swiss car show, the biggest of the season for Europe, has hinted that electric cars will be rolling out globally in the coming year. Almost every brand, large or small, is getting into the battery game, and a number of them have made plans to go 100 percent electric.
The Geneva show, being a sort of a harbinger of things to come in the automotive market, highlights the varying forms of battery propulsion that manufacturers are turning to:
- mild hybrids that use extremely small and low-voltage battery packs;
- conventional hybrids, which use slightly larger, higher-voltage batteries that can start the car rolling without the help of the gas engine, while also boosting performance at higher speeds;
- plug-in hybrids, which can run in all-electric up to 80 km. Then, their gasoline engines kick in.
- battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, that rely solely on their onboard batteries.
4.Intel and US Department of Energy are building exascale supercomputer.
Intel and the US Department of Energy announced that they would build an exascale supercomputer. The US government has already said it would use the superpowerful device to develop applications in science, energy and defence. The project is to be completed in 2021. This is according to Businessinsider.com. According to the preliminary data, Aurora, the US’s first exascale supercomputer, will be capable of a quintillion calculations per second, Business Insider says. To put that in perspective, if every person on Earth did one calculation per second, it would take everyone over four years to do all the calculations Aurora could do in one second.
The computer’s creators hope that that kind of number-crunching brawn will enable great leaps in everything from cancer research to renewable-energy development.
When it’s finished, this supercomputer should be able to do space simulations, drug discovery, and more. The device could be used to safely simulate and test weapons, design better batteries, wind-power systems, or nuclear reactors. It could also be used to better understand earthquake hazards and model the risks of climate change.
The supercomputer is designed to apply large-scale data analytics and machine learning to understand the risk factors in order to help prevent them.
5.US Department of Energy in search of cheap jet biofuel formula
Researchers at the DOE’s Joint BioEnergy Institute are working on biological ways to improve bio-jet fuels. This is according to Cleantechnica.com. Researchers hope to achieve this by efficiently isolating the carbohydrates in non-food biomass and breaking them into sugar molecules that bacteria can digest, or “bioconvert,” into a fuel molecule.
In addition to biofuel’s considerable potential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, researchers point at another benefit. According to Clean Technica, bio-fuels allow airplanes to fly further on a gallon of fuel than they can using conventional jet fuel. After the research is completed, scientists plan to transfer technology data to commercial partners, who will be able to adapt them for future use. At present, the theoretical cost of bio-jet fuel is $16 per gallon. That is far too high to be commercially viable at present, as airlines currently pay $2.50 per gallon on average for conventional jet fuel.
To explore how bio-jet fuel could bridge the remaining price gap, the research team used complex computer simulations that modelled the necessary technology with a range of biomass and chemical inputs. The authors simulated a total of five different production pathways to four distinct fuel molecules.
The results showed that all five pathways could indeed create fuel products at the target price of $2.50 per gallon if manufacturers are able to convert the leftover lignin into a valuable chemical that could be sold to offset the cost of biofuels. The net price of a gallon of biofuel could be lowered further if airlines were offered even a modest financial credit for emissions reduction.
Following some industry research, the team also found that airlines may be willing to pay a premium of as much as 50 cents per gallon because all four biofuels deliver more energy per unit volume, meaning a plane could fly farther on a tank of the same size.