This week’s extended days-off will mark a holiday for European football fans. However, what about energy fans? The solution is simple: to read a new issue of Ukrenergo review with a selection of the most interesting energy news over the past week. So, take your seats and let us charge ourselves together.
1. A battery that can be charged in a few seconds. Researchers from Cornell University in the United States developed a new battery architecture enabling people to charge a battery within seconds. The new technology involves placing the anode and cathode of the battery in a self-assembling 3D gyroidal structure. “This three-dimensional architecture basically eliminates all losses from dead volume in your device,” says Ulrich Wisner, professor at Cornell University and author of the study. This means maximally fast and productive use of all battery resources. Moreover, reduction in the size of the new architecture to the nanoscale ensures greater density and power, which creates access to energy in much shorter time compared with conventional batteries. When you connect your battery to the power outlet, it will be charged within a few seconds – this is what the new model’s developers say. The architecture of this concept is based on a special block copolymer self-assembly, used by the Visner Group for many years in other devices, including a gyroidal superconductor. At present, a group of researchers continue to improve its design and are engaged in the registration of patent documents. Therefore, the lightning-fast charging of your devices, from a smartphone to an electric car, will probably become a reality very soon.
2. New commitments from EDF. One of the world’s largest energy companies, the world’s second-largest electricity producer, the French state giant EDF announced the reduction in direct CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and the intention to achieve carbon-neutral energy production by 2050. The EDF Group committed itself to reduce direct emissions of CO2 significantly to reach a level of 30 million tonnes in 2030 (compared with 51 million tonnes in 2017). In particular, this will be achieved by means of shutting down or modifying existing power plants currently operating on coal and fuel oil, while accelerating the development of renewable energy in addition to nuclear production. It is to be recalled that EDF operates the whole nuclear power complex of France while holding a range of the most diverse energy assets in its portfolio. The EDF Group has already reduced its emissions by 35 percent since 2013 and is a major contributor to reducing carbon emissions in France. According to the company, reduction in emissions is the key goal of the EDF Group corporate responsibility. This policy of EDF meets the high expectations of society in combating climate change, as well as the interests of various stakeholders, including clients, investors and shareholders.
3. Disconnection of the power grid of Lithuania from the BRELL energy circle. Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, initiated an implementation of the project of optimization of the electricity transmission grid in the northeast of Lithuania. According to the press service of the Ministry of Energy, this infrastructure project is being implemented as part of preparing to synchronous operation with the grid of Continental Europe ENTSO-E. “Within the framework of the project, we will perform grid modernization works required for the successful disconnection from the “Soviet system” and connection to a secure European grid. At the same time, it will ensure reliable grid operation and better service to consumers in the northeastern electricity sector, saving over half a million euros a year due to lower operating costs for electrical equipment,” said Žygimantas Vaičiūnas. Two 330 kV transformer substations in Visaginas and Utenan regions will be reconstructed with the involvement of EU funds. In particular, in the course of the implementation of this project, the most powerful high-voltage 750 kV line connecting Ignalina NPP and Belarus will be dismantled. The reconstruction of the transmission system in northeastern Lithuania is planned to take four years and will be completed not later than in spring 2021. The total cost of the project amounts to 23.9 million euros. The EU will finance 45 percent of its sum or 10.8 million euros. It should be emphasized that Lithuania considers the disconnection from the Russian IPS/UPS system, which integrates the systems of Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (BRELL energy circle), a priority in the national energy sector development.
4. A new platform from the Energy Community. The Energy Community Secretariat launched a new platform to improve donor coordination and information sharing. The Energy Community Donor Coordination Platform is already in operation but it is still in the process of integrating new projects and programs from international financial institutions and donors. This is the first online platform of this format to represent key donor programs in all Contracting Parties to the Energy Community and observer countries. The main objective of the platform, covering all sectors included in the Energy Community Treaty, is to provide better donor coordination and exchange of relevant information. Since its early days, the Contracting Parties to the Energy Community and observer countries obtained benefits from widespread donor assistance and international financial organizations. With the new pieces of Energy Community legislation and expansion of its geographical borders, the complexity of the donor assistance procedures increased significantly. By providing key information about the program through an easy-to-use search engine, the Energy Community Donor Coordination Platform allows participants to maximize synergy and overall benefits for each community member country, and, therefore, serves as a useful and necessary tool.
5. “Smart” wind power plants. Manufacturers of wind turbines and power plants hope that technology, innovative sensors and data processing will significantly boost development in the sector. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the analysis of collected information will increase the efficiency of using wind turbines. Despite the powerful boom of alternative energy in recent years, wind generation is increasingly losing the battle with solar installations. While wind power developers have spent 1.1 trillion dollars on new wind farms, even more money is going into new solar systems. In addition, governments gradually abolish subsidies, and in recent years, global solar investments have surpassed the funding for wind turbines. That is why large “wind” companies, such as Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Invenergy LLC, are investing in technologies aimed at extracting more electricity from each propeller rotation. And this is not a piece of cake. Therefore, here comes the help of technological progress. On wind farms with hundreds of turbines, the front wall of propellers takes a maximum of wind, thereby reducing the efficiency of the rotation of turbines located behind. The decision here is a smart integration of units with each other, which can increase electricity generation by 15 percent. According to WindWISDEM, this will be possible to implement by means of developing a special software for the wind industry, currently funded by venture capital firm YStrategies Corp. This is a striking example of how competition with solar installations stimulates the development of wind turbines.