Renewable Energy Generation

Industry Background

According to International Energy Agency the renewable energy sources contribute to a small portion of today’s world energy supply (IEA 2016). However initiation of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and all derivative policies and conventions have made it imperative for all nations and governments to radically shift, the production and the consumption of energy, to renewables in order to control hazardous emissions thus mitigate the greenhouse phenomena and the global warming. According to Monthly Electricity Statistics issued by International Energy Agency on 15th of July 2016 with data up to April 2016 (IEA 2016) production from geothermal, wind, solar and other renewables grew by 8.9% in the OECD countries compared to April 2015 and this is anticipated to grow sharply in future.

The term renewable energy resource is used for energy flows that are replenished at the same rate as they are used. Therefore the prime renewable energy resource is solar radiation intercepted by the Earth, because the Earth atmosphere system re-radiates to space an amount of heat equal to the amount of solar radiation received. (Sorensen 2010) The average rate of solar radiation intercepted by the earth is about 8000 times as large as the average rate of world primary energy consumption (Freris and Infield 2008). This energy flux can be harvested directly using photovoltaic technology or indirectly in forms of wind, wave, hydro and biofuels (Freris and Infield 2008; Lin Luo and Ye 2013). Apart from these there are a few more forms of energy (or energy sources) classified as renewables due to their nature and they are tidal stream, geothermal energy (Freris and Infield 2008; Alexander and Boyle 2004) and fuel cells (Rosa 2005). These broadly form target industry sectors for our business however a few considerations narrow the number of paths we’re taking on:

  1. Geothermal Energy is mainly harvested for the thermal energy and the electrical power generated by this force is not quite economic: on the other hand geothermal resources are not renewable ‘on the scale of human lifetimes’ (Brown and Garnish in Boyle et al. 2004) therefore we are not active in this category of energy source at this point in time.
  2. The overall efficiency for energy generation derived from biofuels is proved to be a fraction of 1% (Vieira da Rosa 2005). Additionally both the traditional biomass and the new forms of biofuels are not polution free (Vieira da Rosa 2005; Larkin, Ramage and Scurlock in Boyle et al. 2004) and for these reasons these types of energy are not quite aligned with our corporate strategy.
  3. The adverse ecological impacts of ocean-based energy generators are of great dispute requiring further prototyping and testing in open waters in order to resolve the shortfalls. (Rao 2011) Of great importance amongst these is negative impact on fish migration. (Khaligh and Onar 2010) We strongly hope to contribute in future technologies that harvest the tidal and wave energies for generation of power however we will have to rely on future outcomes and more innovative solutions that address the shortfalls.

These leave us with a number of defined target industries amongst power generation technologies: solar – wind – hydro and fuel cells.


Benefit

Green, clean, and safe compared with conventional energy sources as they do not emit a significant amount of greenhouse gasses, liquid, or solid waste during operation. (Blazev 2014)

Challenge

Higher cost compared with fossil fuels due to evolution of the associated technologies and the cost of raw material. (Guerrero-Lemus and Martinez-Duart 2013)

Goal

The global emission reduction will inevitably involve a switch to renewables. (Boyle 2012) ‘Studies have consistently found that the total global technical potential for renewable energy is substantially higher than both current and projected future global energy demand’ (IPCC 2012). Our goal is to play part and help the world to achieve this global shift.

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