In recent weeks I have been thinking about our business environment differently. The past few months have forced the majority of us to work in different ways. We have become in a very short time “remote workers.” in necessity and need.
Yet for many “newbies” in remote working, who have been working from home in these last few months, are now facing the decision of when and if they can return to their old normal of their office. It is a difficult decision and one that needs careful consideration and clarification of “how safe is this and what will have changed in my old working environment?”
Going back to the business office is undergoing such a radical shift due to the pandemic and all of what it has forced us to do; social distancing, being in lockdown, minimizing physical contact. The environment we work in is not simply a physical one, it has become a psychological one to manage as well.
The Hydrogen transition story is still in its early days of becoming a sustainable part of the solutions we need to decarbonize the planet.
Although the use of Hydrogen has been around for years, it is the potential to replace other energy sources at an industrial scale that is exciting. The execution of Hydrogen solutions is a real imperative for this decade to validate and demonstrate.
We need Hydrogen solutions across so many industrial applications as well as a significant contributor to reducing heat in buildings or powering up our vehicles.
What I can see in the Hydrogen story is all technically feasible, but I am having several concerns on the pathway to delivery.
I get conflicting messages and feel some underlying tensions are occurring between those fighting to keep grey or brown Hydrogen, blue Hydrogen, and debating when they can go to green Hydrogen. It needs resolving and arguably phasing correctly. This is a “brewing battle” that will not be resolved in the confines of the Hydrogen Council, or, will it as they position themselves as the Hydrogen Ecosystem orchestrator?
Here in this post, I want to ‘walk’ through the shades of Hydrogen and their differences, moving to the solutions being offered to expand our use of hydrogen.
Then I want to offer a second post following, on discussions around Electrolysers and Carbon Capture, and the need to utilize or store as “hot” issues to be resolved. The present decade has been termed “the Hydrogen Decade,” but the road to travel is both bumpy, uncomfortable, and demanding to navigate.
I continue my Hydrogen journey. Recently I have leaned heavily on six great sources of Hydrogen knowledge to relate to the complexities with the Hydrogen story, as part of the Energy Transition we are all undertaking.
Absorbing reports from the IEA, IRENA, Bloomberg NEF, the Hydrogen Council DNV GL, and finally, Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy has helped me understand and relate to all the complexities within what Hydrogen offers in solutions. There have been countless others contributing their reports, views, or articles that I have read, tried to absorb, and relate too.
I set out to get a better picture of Hydrogens’ potential through some thoughts I offered in a recent post of applying a three-horizon lens to the understanding of any energy transition, and the one for Hydrogen has still to be finalized. Here in this post, I continue to frame the complexities within the challenges.
Something that will take thirty to forty years to turn from being ambitious and full of intent into realization is hard to relate too. Hydrogen is one of those promised solutions that can potentially allow us to achieve our “net-zero” carbon ambitions that have been “set in stone” (The Paris Agreement) dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, signed in 2016 that we need to achieve by 2050.
Hydrogen is becoming a central pillar for many countries across the world to help achieve their targets to this net-zero by mid-century. Hydrogen holds, it seems, such a promise, but it is nearly all to do. There is so much to validate, prove, and certainly scale to make a real impact on changing the sources of our energy.
The more you investigate Hydrogen, the more you realize the complexity of making it a viable energy source of sufficient scale. One that will really deliver the suggested results that Hydrogen could meet 24% of the worlds final energy demands by 2050. Today it provides around 1%. To change our energy systems reliant on Oil, Gas, Coal, and make these renewables based on Solar, Wind, and Water separation is at a level of magnitude is hard to imagine.
I strongly relate to Smart Cities or Smart Infrastructure as the grouping area dealing with the business dealing with the Edge for final energy transmission or the final beneficiary, the Consumer but I do relate to Urban Development as a “greater” catch-all for thinking a little wider on the potential to engage far more.
There is so much potential in technology currently being invested in our cities and their infrastructures. There are many estimates of this investment, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, they estimated that cities around the world would need to double current infrastructure investments from $10 to $20 trillion annually, to build the necessary physical infrastructure to support growing populations and needs.
The Smart Grid is evolving and will be essential in the next decade to bring the kind of transformation our existing energy grids require. Infrastructures to be fit for purpose must be fully integrated and smart to manage the increasing complexity and needs of electricity in the 21st century.
Smart Grids are part of the Smart Infrastructure approach in our need for complete Urban Transitions currently being undertaken. Let me try to step back here and give some broader understanding of “smart grids”
Smart infrastructure connects many parts of the city both physically and digitally. Services that capture the relevant information enable the deployment and introduction of the appropriate assets as the solutions.
Smart solutions for resolving the demands placed in everyday events like traffic flows, energy, and water requirements, transportation utilization, or in managing energy peak demands or optimizing buildings.
Through digital understanding, you learn from what is in place to improve the future in designs, capability, and asset utilization through the use of intelligent data providing relevant insights.
A digital understanding can help predict many variances and assumptions, for example on load demands, on traffic flow, on shifting resources to balance the “system” for the immediate and future; all of these are based on the data collected and can be compared on the forecasts made.
To achieve this, you need a constant flow of ‘real-time’ data, not historical ‘lagging’ information, that is often out of date before you can evaluate it.
Energy is essential to the modern economy. It provides the vital power source of electricity for industry, for public services and powering infrastructure, as well as resolving domestic activities where heating, lighting, cooking can take place in different ways from traditional wood fires. Our growing reliance on communications, technology, and mobility all are reliant on having this constant source of energy.
As we grapple with the impact and effects of the CORVIt- 19 virus, we are rightly ‘transfixed’ on saving lives, keeping people healthy, but underpinning this is maintaining essential services. A reliable, constant power source is critical for hospitals, for our homes and work environments to support and sustain us.
In an extraordinary time of being “locked down,” we appreciate the safe haven we call home, the office, or the working environment. We are expecting it to be a safe environment for us to continue to operate and provide us the comfort and protection we are all looking for.
Having intelligent connected structures is playing an increasing role in our lives, in the mission of your organization, in your loved one’s daily lives; in offices, in our building like hospitals, in government offices, in research labs or schools, and most importantly in our homes.
We often do not recognize everything that goes int our building to deliver an optimal or suitable space for us to be productive. We assume it is there, working and functioning as required. It is when something goes wrong, we begin to notice. It is when we have time to stop and look around we begin to wonder how we can improve our environments. There is a lot we can do, and as we learn to work increasingly “at a distance.” Continue reading “Viewing our buildings differently for what they offer”