Author: Fableeha Bushra Choudhury

Area of Work: Energy Environment And Natural Resources

The world’s primary energy supply is derived mainly from oil, coal and natural gas. To meet increasing energy demands and mitigating climate risks, it is important to look towards new technologies. These new sources will allow developing regions like South Asia to access cheaper and more economic sources of energy.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s total primary energy supply is derived from three main energy sources – oil (31.3%), coal (28.6%), and natural gas (21.2%).[1] The current system for energy production relying on these three main sources is becoming a problem due to risks associated with climate change, pollution, and increasing energy demands in developing regions. There is an ever increasing need to meet energy demand in a clean and sustainable way. A key part of the effort in sustainable energy production lies in re-examining sources of energy.[2]

Although developments are being made in obtaining energy for consumption from biofuel, hydro, nuclear and other sources, developing regions such as South Asia require access to cheaper and more economic sources of energy.

Three new technologies with the capacity to revolutionize power and energy production and consumption in the near future are:

Printable Organic Solar Cells

The printable organic solar cells are extremely low cost, and hold the promise of raising efficiency of photovoltaic solar power generation to an economically viable level. Currently in the research phase, the light weight can either be built into construction materials directly, or laminated on building walls or other irregular surfaces for exposure to sunlight. Solar cells made of plastic polymers are also believed to perform better in low light conditions.[3]

Tidal Turbines and Floating Wind Turbines

Tidal turbines is a form of hydropower that converts tidal energy into electricity and it is currently in use in a smaller scale.[4] In deeper waters, where winds are often stronger and steadier, floating wind turbines can be used to unlock the offshore wind power potential of these areas.[5]

Space-based Solar Power

Solar energy harnessed on the Earth’s surface is affected by the filtering effects of the atmosphere. In space, there is no such effect so solar power can be harnessed in space and beamed back as microwaves to the Earth’s surface. The expected benefit of such a system is significantly higher collection rates than what may otherwise be possible on Earth.[6]

Renewable energy has the potential to not only solve the ever increasing energy crisis in developing regions like South Asia, smart technologies such as those discussed above can attract investment, diversify the energy mix, spur technological research and pave the way for economic growth. Smart energy technologies can enable developing countries in South Asia to scale up the share of renewables in the total energy mix to 40% by 2040 and 80% by 2050.[7] However, to utilize the potential of renewable resources and smart technologies, there needs to be greater collaboration between the public and private sectors. Government support in terms of policies for renewable energy technology development and implementation is crucial for development of sustainable energy production.

POWER & ENERGY SERIES

[1] IEA Key World Energy Statistics Report 2016

[2] The Need for Clean Energy, Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA). Retrieved from: http://www.chfca.ca/education-centre/the-need-for-clean-energy/

[3] Six of the most promising new green power technologies, power-technology.com. Retrieved from: http://www.power-technology.com/features/featuresix-of-the-most-promising-new-green-power-technologies-4199646/

[4] 17 Emerging Energy Technologies That Will Change The World, Business Insider. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/17-emerging-energy-technologies-2014-4

[5] Six of the most promising new green power technologies, power-technology.com. Retrieved from: http://www.power-technology.com/features/featuresix-of-the-most-promising-new-green-power-technologies-4199646/

[6] 17 Emerging Energy Technologies That Will Change The World, Business Insider. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/17-emerging-energy-technologies-2014-4

[7] Smart Energy Solutions: Increase Renewable Energy. Retrieved from: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/increase-renewable-energy#.WHp2eht97IU

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