The autumn days are getting darker, while the revolutionary inventions and their implementation in the energy sector shine more clearly and outline the horizons of the eco-future of the humankind. Only the most interesting of them in our traditional issue of Ukrenergo review.
1. Innovative batteries based on carbon dioxide from power plant emissions
Today, power plants equipped with carbon capture systems typically use up to 30% of their generated electricity only to ensure carbon emissions capture and carbon dioxide storage.
Science Daily reports that a new type of batteries, developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, can continuously convert carbon dioxide from the emissions of power plants into solid mineral carbonate. The test battery is made of lithium, carbon and electrolyte specially developed by experts. A lithium-based battery can utilise greenhouse gas before it splashes into the atmosphere.
Researchers are working on the establishment of an integrated system that absorbs carbon dioxide from the emissions of power plants and converts them into electrochemical material, which can then be used in batteries.
2. Germany launches the world’s first unmanned tram in Potsdam
Combino is the world’s first unmanned tram with artificial intelligence, developed by a group of 50 scientists, engineers, mathematicians and physicists from the German engineering company Siemens, launched in Potsdam, Germany. This is reported by The Guardian.
Combino is equipped with sensors that inform about the situation on the route. Radars, lasers and sensors actually create digital “eyes” of the tram, which determine its location and the surrounding situation along the route. The tram responds to signals on the track and can respond to danger faster than a person can.
The new model uses electricity from renewable sources (wind and solar), can transport up to 250 passengers and is currently the most environmentally friendly public transport.
3. China to be the first country to use a new technology for nuclear reactors
As reported by Energy live news, China will be the first country in the world to use the new technology for nuclear reactors. The new AP1000 nuclear reactor was installed at the Sanmen power plant.
AP1000 is a two-circuit reactor with water under pressure (two vertical steam generators) with a total power capacity of 1117 MW, developed by Westinghouse. It is much simpler and cheaper to build and operate compared with standard models, with a much higher level of safety and environmental protection.
In March 2018, preliminary security checks were completed. Sanmen-1 hot test was completed in June 2017, while fuelling began on 25 April 2018. In June 2018, AP1000 was commissioned and connected to the grid. Sanmen-1 was brought into commercial operation on 21 September 2018.
Snowy Yao, an analyst at China Securities, said: “It’s a landmark event for China’s nuclear power industry. It’s safe to say China is now one of the leaders in the world’s civil nuclear power industry.”
4. The largest battery system of Tesla PowerPack has “earned” $ 17 million in 6 months
In mid-2017, Tesla CEO Elon Mask made a promise in Twitter to the Australian government that he would build the world’s largest battery in 100 days. If he failed to do that, he would cover all construction costs at his own expense. Well, he managed to do this.
Starting from 1 December 2017, Tesla PowerPack of 100MW/129 MWh in southern Australia provides the same network services as the peak power plant. However, as confirmed by the Australian energy market operator, it is much faster, more accurate, cheaper and with zero emissions due to its accumulation system.
The giant battery cost about $ 66 million and during the first six months of operation earned a profit of almost $ 17 million. As a result, according to electrek.co, Tesla PowerPack reduced the cost of network services by 90%.
5. Flexible printed solar panels
The University of Newcastle in Australia presented a revolutionary solar rooftop. This is reported by Energy post.
The University of Newcastle unveiled a 200 m2 solar rooftop covered with 3G solar cells, produced using the new revolutionary technology. These solar cells of organic photovoltaic generators (OPV) mean a flexible transparent coating that can be printed with standard printing equipment. To do this, one can use affordable and inexpensive materials (plastic film or sheets) in large quantities and at a low price. Such solar elements can cover roofs of buildings, transport and everyday objects. The print cost is approximately 6.19 euros per square meter.
According to Professor Dastoor of the UoN, the area of 1 km2 covered by 3G solar cells (OPV) corresponds to a capacity of 50-60 MW (increasing efficiency 5-6 times). At the same time, the cost of generation can be equal to 10-11 Australian cents per kWh (about 0.062-0.068 euros), which is equivalent to the current cost of electricity generated by fossil fuels.
According to Professor John Mathews of Macquarie University in Australia, this could be a huge step forward in the development of solar cells.