The crucial role Innovation must play in the Energy system

 

Innovation is vital to the energy system’s integration and operation design, and we need to further recognize its crucial role. I believe we undertake a radical transformation in the way we supply, transform, and use energy. This requires a profound transformation in technologies, systems, and infrastructure.

Innovation is made up of many enabling technologies that support energy. This complexity requires innovative approaches to be built in highly systematic ways. Its ultimate result is to offer innovation that can continually look for re-imagining new market designs and business models to stimulate the changes and solutions for our future energy transformation.

Innovation needs to be transformational, offer greater value than what it is replacing, show the real advantage, set out to achieve competitive gains and offer a higher level of sustainability, value and impact.

We need an innovating mantra for energy.

Energy is a vital part of any country’s ability to be competitive. Today half the world’s capital is invested in energy and its related infrastructure as it is the backbone of any industrial and urbanization strategy.

Our need is to keep pushing for discoveries, for experimentation, for demonstrating. We must nurture innovation, and we must continuously look for ways to facilitate its pathway.

Our economic prosperity will be determined by transforming the energy sector, and it is through innovation we will achieve this. To avoid the predicted consequences of climate change, the global energy system must rapidly reduce its emissions.

The vast majority of global CO2 emissions come from the energy production sector, from our buildings or transportation systems. They all need a purposeful design of a new, cleaner energy system.

Innovation needs to be at the top of its game, to be accelerated and scaled.

The energy transition that the world is undertaking is one of the most critical areas where innovation needs to be at its absolute best, top of the game, to make the level of change necessary. We need to deploy every innovative tool to leverage ideas and discoveries and then accelerate the validation into a commercialization path sooner than later.

Innovation needs to get out of the laboratories, moved from theory to application, and off the desk of those executives who fail to see the urgency of change we need to achieve the energy transition.

Innovation has risk always associated with it, but that imperative to push the boundaries does need always to be constantly in our minds; global warming, pollution, and resource finite are our “burning platform.”

We need to ramp up our need for solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, redesign energy generation, transmission, and distribution and bring a balance back into our environments.

Pushing our present understanding, looking beyond the knowns

  • Today the solutions are centred on decarbonization, applying digitalization, and switching to an energy system that is more decentralized than at present. It is finding imaginative, innovating solutions that become essential to achieve this climate change through the energy transition we are undertaking.
  • Each organization within the energy transition looks at its own position and applies any changes to advance its competitive position. Quite rightly, but in focusing on one specific perspective, you can lose the bigger opportunity.
  • We need to extend the reach of electricity; we need to focus on Hydrogen, validate carbon capture and storage (CCUS) as well as bioenergy and take them out of the lab, out of the realms of theory and validate the innovation concepts into scalable ones that deliver the gaps we have in our energy transition.
  • We must find innovative solutions to reduce local air pollution, strengthen energy security, and develop a more significant energy system that is resilient to minimize the shutdowns and power outs. We need to find solutions to reliable and sustainable energy solutions that deal with heating, lighting, cooking, and cooling. Any change needs to find a way to create local economic value and jobs, as others in any change of this magnitude will be displaced.
  • As we search for enabling technologies, we need to constantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy, accelerate storage, explore sector coupling, introduce new ways to operate within the electricity system, seek out new power generation, design the grids for increased flexibility and digitalize solutions to provide further services, tools and distributed generation deployment knowing how to diffuse innovation in these general five approaches becomes valuable.
  • We need to continue to de-carbonize challenging industry sectors like steel, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, or our transportation systems if we wish to achieve any positive outlook of curbing carbon emissions and moving onto a pathway towards a zero-carbon future.

Innovation and showing progression give market confidence and encouragement that the innovation story is designed to take decisions through this innovation adoption approach.

Everything we are looking at in energy solutions faces a scalability challenge. 

It will be the ability to harness the existing with the new, and this is the role of innovation to deliver the changes by being the bridge and being the catalyst of change with new technology and innovative solutions.

Innovation adoption in the technology lifecycle for Energy Translation

Technological innovation has a central role to play in the Energy Transition currently being undertaken throughout the world. The shifts need to take the different parts of the energy system through a lifecycle approach to any future energy system.

The six critical focal points of the energy transition.

The six main thrusts for technological innovation within the Energy Systems for today’s energy transition are:

  1.  To accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout the system.
  2. There is a real need to find innovative solutions that focus on the end-user sectors of transport, industry, and buildings.
  3. The technological and digital innovative solution needs to focus on the overall system design and the operation needs.
  4. Innovation needs to increase electrification through emerging solutions on the grids’ digitalisation and provide grid-scale energy storage for resolving variable renewable power and building out further energy storage.
  5. To push, nurture, and facilitate different energy sources to provide solutions to scale them up. These include solar power, geothermal, biopower, hydropower, onshore and offshore wind and finally tidal power.
  6. Lastly, innovation needs to achieve an affordably decarbonize industrial transition.

Many new innovation solutions need to continually unlock the system’s flexibility.

Besides technological innovation, there is growing potential for redesigning operational systems through new services, tools, and distributed generation deployment. There are opportunities to find fresh market designs that have demand-response models central to then provide new, more tailored services and then the exciting potential of designing new business models that look to greater co-creation, more flexible power purchase agreements and bring the consumer into the system as contributors, aggregators and highly energy aware.

My focus is on innovating energy.

Innovation must be at the forefront of the energy change; otherwise, we will fail to deliver on the 2050 commitments and goals, and that will have consequences for our very existence as we know it.

Besides writing about innovation and energy on two dedicated blogs of innovating4energy.com and digital4energy, I recently launched a complimentary website of innovating4energy.website, one that is laying out my business positioning and offerings to help in accelerating innovation within the energy system. That “open for business” sign.

I set out to offer the external perspective to those busy inside organizations focusing on mapping out the future of energy and where they fit to support, compliment, and provide different value points to this thinking and eventual work. I see this as more advisory to complement their insights, more feeding into and complimenting their expertise with different points of value.

Our need for a climate-friendly energy source

We need to find a climate-friendly energy source that overcomes those current end-use sectors that are hard to electrify as they need to require high-intensity heat levels than coal and natural gas provides. These high-grade industry heat sectors, known as hard-to-abate, such as steel and chemicals, some heavy transport, aviation, shipping, agriculture, and industrial feedstocks, need to put in place a clean energy carrier.

Enter Hydrogen, reinvigorated and repurposed based on Renewables and new Technology designs

Presently Hydrogen is the only feasible route for at-scale decarbonization. It is a highly versatile, clean, and flexible energy vector. So many have evaluated the potential of hydrogen sector by sector that ramping up Hydrogen is needed to achieve any energy transition in an efficient and economically attractive way.

The problem today is that Hydrogen is simply not (yet) fit for large-scale deployment. The accepted wisdom is Hydrogen is a really good solution as a clean energy carrier, feedstock, and fuel. It can facilitate the extensive scale integration of renewables through conversion from H2O to pure Hydrogen (H2). Continue reading “Our need for a climate-friendly energy source”

Are we seeing the Apple of Hydrogen in Plug Power?

This Monday, January 11th, 2021 Plug Power (PLUG) closed at $53.97 in the latest share trading session, it has gained 98% over the past month. Today with a fresh expansion announcement it is standing at $64.02 at this moment of time. Clearly, Plug Power is outpacing the Industrial Sector. It belongs as one of the alternative energy company stocks that focuses on green hydrogen, the present ultimate answer to as close as you can get to a zero-carbon fuel.

So what is going on? What is causing this incredible jump and market sentiment?

To add a little more to this “what is going on” let me do something else.

Why do I compare Plug Power to Apple in past years? It is simply how its stock has rapidly accelerated away in the past year or perhaps the growing expectation of sizable growth to come, on new products and market penetration. 

A year ago, Plug Power struggled to raise money, but it has been executing on a plan consistently in the past few years that is beginning to pay off. Continue reading “Are we seeing the Apple of Hydrogen in Plug Power?”

Hydrogen is the big ticket, it needs a landscape view

Hydrogen is undoubtedly becoming the big agenda ticket within any Energy Transition. It is the promise of being a central pillar for many parts of the world to achieve their decarbonization targets to get as close as they can to zero carbon by mid-century.

Hydrogen seems to hold, it seems, such a promise, but it is nearly all to do. There is so much to validate, prove, and certainly scale. We have some exciting pilots, even some emerging commercial-scale projects.

Still, these pilots or pockets of limited commercialization are not connected up or integrated into a Hydrogen Economy. So far we are not able to scale sufficiently to generate that same unstoppable momentum that Wind and Solar as sustainable renewables are achieving, in dislodging fossil fuels.

Today we do not yet have a Hydrogen infrastructure, market and price competitiveness, or overarching policies to build into a movement that shifts the energy needle.

We have lots of desire and willingness, some recent infusion of development money, especially here in Europe, but we do need to now make hydrogen really happen on a commercially sustainable basis. Continue reading “Hydrogen is the big ticket, it needs a landscape view”

Tension, Bottlenecks and Concerns within the Hydrogen Transformation

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.

Let’s look at some of the present and future issues that will need to be resolved for Hydrogen to realize a greater future and play its part in the energy transition. I want to here summarize a few of my present concerns over Hydrogen. Continue reading “Tension, Bottlenecks and Concerns within the Hydrogen Transformation”

The different shades of Hydrogen are getting Hotter

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 am Applying my Fitness Landscapes theory to the Energy Transition by taking my “walk” through Hydrogen as my opening exploration to traverse this landscape

Continue reading “The different shades of Hydrogen are getting Hotter”

Has Hydrogen got the Necessary Gas to Deliver?

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.

The more significant battle is all about shifting to clean energy sources thoroughly, and that should be our overriding focus. Continue reading “Has Hydrogen got the Necessary Gas to Deliver?”

Believing in Hydrogen

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.

Hydrogen is familiar, but it has failed to live up to its reputation as it has been based on fossil fuels, that now needs to change. Continue reading “Believing in Hydrogen”