Innovations

Hamburg considers innovative heat storage scheme

district heating pipes in Hamburg

Institutions in Hamburg are proposing to build a large underground thermal heat storage system that could supply roughly a quarter of the city’s heating needs with waste heat from industrial and power plants. If successful, it would make Vattenfall’s plans to realise a CO2-neutral district heating network superfluous. It could also serve as an example for other cities. … [Read more...]

The top 10 advanced energy stories of 2016 – and how they will shape 2017

Solar Impulse 2 - symbol of advanced energy

From the first American offshore wind power to the economic power to employ millions of people, "advanced energy" is a major growth market that shows no signs of stopping, writes Lexie Briggs, social media manager at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a US-based national association of business leaders promoting clean energy technologies. Briggs identifies the ten major advanced energy stories of 2016 in the US - and looks at how they will help shape … [Read more...]

Despite the hype, batteries aren’t the cheapest way to store energy on the grid

Tesla Powerwall installed in garage

There are many different kinds of energy storage technologies, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Lithium ion batteries are the most popular form of storage at the moment, but according to Roger Dargaville, Deputy Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute, they are not always the cheapest option. Nevertheless, lithium ion will probably be the dominant option, not because of economics, but because of human behavior. Courtesy of The … [Read more...]

Fast reactors are alive and kicking

Rosatom's fourth unit at its Beloyarsk nuclear power plant is a BN-800 fast breeder reactor that was connected to the grid in December 2015

Fast breeder reactors have already been successfully developed in Russia and they will become successful outside of Russia too if policymakers and investors decide to make them a priority, writes Ian Hore-Lacy, Senior Research Analyst at the World Nuclear Association. … [Read more...]

Energy may be ripe for the sharing economy, thanks to Bitcoin’s blockchain technology

lexie briggs article-slider

The marriage of blockchain technology with microgrid applications could transform the way communities and organisations use renewable energy, writes Lexie Briggs of Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), an association of businesses in the US that includes companies such as Vestas, Siemens, Microsoft, GE and Schneider Electric. Siemens has just launched a project in Brooklyn, New York, that allows neighbours to purchase solar power from each other’s … [Read more...]

DNV GL on risks of renewables: “We need new tests and standards to prevent major failures”

The largest man-made system on earth (photo DNV GL)

The transition to renewable energy is accompanied by the widespread use of power electronics, such as inverters, which require a whole new way of testing smart equipment, says Theo Bosma, Program Director Power Systems & Electrification at DNV GL, one of the largest technical consultancies in the world. According to Bosma, the new power electronics are not adequately tested at the moment. “New technologies such as solar, wind, batteries and … [Read more...]

Stephane Quere, Innovation Director Engie: “Hydrogen is a big topic for us”

Engie first CSP project in South Africa

Hydrogen, which can be used to store energy, produce electricity and fuel vehicles, is one of the innovation priorities for French energy giant Engie (€70 billion revenue). This is a company that prides itself on its diversity however, explains Stephane Quere, Innovation Director at Engie, with activities stretching from Europe to Africa and Asia, and businesses from gas distribution to security systems. Some of the main priorities for Engie are … [Read more...]