The energy sector is constantly evolving. With breakthroughs in energy research occurring daily, keeping up with the latest trends and developments is a tall task. Below, you'll find a discussion of the top five energy trends and an analysis of energy markets.
The Top 5 Trends in the Energy Sector
From renewable energy research reports to innovations in advanced energy technologies, there's always a breaking headline pertaining to power-related industry updates. Of course, the list of new energy-related ideas is endless. However, five specific topics encapsulate the most significant energy industry trends happening today.
These trends matter to anyone who pays an electric bill or is concerned with climate issues. So, whether you own or manage a commercial or residential building or are an energy professional looking to keep astride with the latest industry news, keep reading.
1. Green Hydrogen
Over the past decade, clean energy research has transformed into a global effort. However, as fears over climate change and fossil-fuel dependence continue, researchers rush to develop alternative methods, many of which may eventually provide an offramp from petrol. Green hydrogen is one such solution.
So — green hydrogen — what is it? Essentially, it's a process that splits a water molecule into oxygen and hydrogen. In this split, energy is produced, and most importantly, the energy is clean. Fundamentally, the process uses renewable energy resources to electrolyze water.
Energy scientists are only beginning to understand the value of green hydrogen. However, it's now recognized as a brilliant solution that might allow a large-scale transition from the carbon cycle and into economies with net zero emissions.
Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of the total hydrogen production is green. The reason is that electrolyzing equipment is costly and requires its own infrastructure. Therefore, there isn't enough financial incentive to adopt it just yet. Additionally, producing green hydrogen requires tons of renewable energy. As the market stands, there needs to be more renewable energy storage to support large-scale production.
However, studies predict that green hydrogen will play a significant role in ushering in clean energy security over the next few decades. Also, many governing bodies are launching energy bills incentivizing the production of green hydrogen. For example, the United Nations launched the Green Hydrogen Catapult, which aims to lower the cost of production. Likewise, other nations, like Japan and the United Arab Emirates, are placing billions of dollars to prioritize the production of low-carbon hydrogen fuel in the coming years.
2. Carbon Neutrality
You've probably heard major corporations and governments vow to achieve carbon neutrality. For example, U.S. President Joe Biden formed a National Climate Task Force to help develop emissions-reduction goals to secure a net-zero economy by the year 2050.
Carbon neutrality comes down to two types of action. The first is to eliminate one's carbon footprint. Lowering your carbon footprint is a process that wears many masks. Anything from installing renewable energy for your home or business, investing in an electric car, or biking to work decreases your carbon shoe size.
However, it's nearly impossible to eliminate all carbon emissions. Therefore, the second way to offset carbon emissions is by investing in carbon offset projects. These investments are called carbon credits. Such credits are allotted to various projects, like forestation efforts or biogas programs.
Governments have already created registries for businesses to calculate and track carbon footprints. Ultimately, reducing emissions will become a legal mandate, so companies must be ready to meet these new regulations.
3. Energy Storage Systems
One of the most prominent issues with renewable energy sources — like solar and wind — is storage. For example, some areas receive shorter windows of peak sun hours, making powering a home or building on solar power alone a great difficulty. However, with proper storage, homes could run off a reservoir of energy.
New energy storage systems are essential to increasing the adoption of renewable energy. Report after report shows the necessity of investment in energy storage systems. They are necessary to guarantee that those who use renewable energy won't have to worry about running out of power at crucial moments.
These systems aren't only battery grids for solar power. There are also storage systems for hydro, thermal, and mechanical power in development. In addition, many governments are placing resources behind forming robust storage systems. For example, in 2021, California invested in the Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility, the world's largest renewable energy storage grid.
4. Biomass Energy
Biomass energy is another renewable energy from agricultural crops, wood, and manure. Any natural substance used to make fuel is called feedstock. Before the age of coal and fossil fuel, biomass was the primary energy material. Now, biomass is returning as an option for achieving an energy-efficient society.
Through pyrolysis or gasification, biomass can be converted into clean energy. Currently, about 5% of U.S. energy consumption is from biomass materials. However, biomass is being developed for jet fuel. Many scientists predict the return of biomass energy sources in the years ahead.
5. AI Technology Development in Energy
While the AI buzz continues around ChatGPT and OpenAI, environmental scientists also recognize its upsides to boosting energy efficiency. AI is a wonder tool for gathering, translating, and relaying enormous amounts of data in real-timev . For this reason, there's much excitement over leveraging AI to create data-driven solutions for reducing carbon emissions and other climate issues.
AI now provides some of the best uses for insights on macro and micro scales. Governments and corporations already use AI for compiling insights and strategies for long-term emission reduction.
However, AI also helps individuals and smaller stakeholders with their day-to-day operation electrical energy habits. AI can gather and produce helpful insights that lower energy costs and manage buildings' power consumption; such data points ultimately save money and reduce carbon emissions.
How the Future of Energy Looks From Where We Stand
There's plenty of room for hope when considering the level assessment of energy activity. Businesses and governments worldwide have made unified efforts to adopt many of the above energy strategies.
However, there remain roadblocks. Infrastructure, refusal to adopt new methods, and political disagreements often stand in the way of action. Although large-scale environmental change is the foundation for adopting renewable energies, it's crucial to remember that individual home and building owners must do their part. The best news? They can do it while saving money.
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