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Renewable Energy: Fuel of the Future

April 18, 2019 | Energy & Power

The demand for energy has seen tremendous growth since the last decade and it is projected to reach three times by the year 2040. In order to meet the demand for electricity & power, countries around the world are hugely dependent upon fossil fuels, which are easily available in the open market. However, the reserve of fossil fuels is limited and will be wiped out in the next century. Also, the emission of greenhouse gas from fossil fuel is extremely harmful to the environment and is one of the major contributors to global warming.

To curb this global issue and meet the increasing demand of energy, people have shifted to renewable energy, which has nearly zero impact on the environment and is the best alternative for a sustainable source of energy.  But due to its huge capital investment companies have come up with a revolutionary concept of hybrid energy where energy can be derived from two or more sources. The most trending combination of hybrid energy is the mix of fossil fuel and solar power. Other combinations of hybrid energy could be a pairing of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, batteries, and others.

The hybrid energy system is an ideal solution to control environment-related issues as it provides sustainable power, improves performance, reduces cost, and can be tailored as per varying end-user requirements.

"Evolution of Renewable Energy in Primary Fuel Demand"

The global demand for energy is primarily met by crude oil and its by-products. However, rising concern pertaining to GHG emission and clean technology has shown the countries a sustainable way to fulfill their energy requirement. In 2015, countries around the world have marked a milestone in the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris to negotiate an international agreement to combat climate change within the next decade.

In the agreement, participating countries had to focus on accelerating energy technology innovation to make energy even more affordable, enhance energy security, gradually phasing out subsidies on fossil fuel, reduce methane emission in Oil & Gas production, increase investment in renewable energy technologies in the power sector from USD 270 Bn in 2014 to USD 400 Bn in 2030.

The global primary energy consumption grew by 2.2% in 2017 up from 1.2% in 2016. Oil remains the world’s dominant fuel in the energy Mix but its market share is declining every year due to rising concern over clean energy technologies. As shown in fig.1, the contribution of renewable energy has increased by 2% in the last 8 years and looking at the investment trend committed in COP-21, this contribution is expected to double by the year 2030. Since 2015, the total global installed capacity of solar PV has reached 402 GW in 2017 from 228 GW in 2015.

This tremendous market expansion was largely due to the increasing awareness of solar PV potential and cheaper alternative energy among all renewable technologies. China becomes the world’s leader by installing 53 GW of solar power in the year 2017 followed by USA (11 GW), India (9 GW), Japan (7 GW), among others.

"Asia Pacific is Paving the Way for Others"

Globally, countries in Asia Pacific are increasingly investing in various renewable technologies and achieving its 2020 targets. Fig 2 shows the primary energy consumption by different fuel by different regions for the year 2017. Asia Pacific is the leading consumer of oil, coal, and renewable energy whereas North America is still dependent on oil and natural gas for primary energy need. Nuclear energy is also a zero emission clean energy source but due to potential hazard, this technology is predominated by the North America. In the past few years, countries across Europe and the CIS region have included renewable energy in total energy mix at a significant rate and lots of solar and wind projects are in pipeline till 2030.

"The Future of Energy is Hybridized"

Hybrid Energy is the concept of combining two or more energy sources to achieve flexibility and sustainable power solution. Hybrid systems find their application in diverse sectors, covering residential, commercial buildings, marine industry, power plants, distributed generations, telecommunications, and government utilities. Many industries around the world are upgrading their old power systems to the most advanced hybrid technology in order to get more energy output, efficiency, and lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE).

In India, Revayu Energy got a contract to commission first hybrid energy (solar + wind) pilot project of capacity 4kW at GCCI premises, Verna industries, Goa. Last year, African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) has invested in Starsight Power Utility, a Nigeria based energy service company providing solar-diesel-battery hybrid solutions to its commercial and industrial clients. Wartsila has been awarded a contract to design and provide state-of-the-art multipurpose transport vessel to Aker BioMarine. This vessel is a comprehensive package of a hybrid propulsion system having two Wartsila 20 diesel engine including hybrid drives and battery package, gearbox, controllable pitch propeller, and thruster. The hybrid vessel is expected to be completed by 2021.

"Future Market Leaders in Various End-use Industries"

In today’s world, hybrid energy finds application in almost all end-use industries. Several notable companies exhibit a stronghold in the industry. These include manufacturers, EPCs, equipment providers, and technology providers. Major companies providing hybrid energy solutions are Cummins, Volvo Penta, Rolls Royce, Wartsila, MAN Energy Solutions, General Electric, Vergnet, Vestas, Siemens, Husk Power Systems, Honeywell, and among others.

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