Technology watch

  • As pressures from climate change increase, decision makers will seek innovative solutions that tackle concerns about energy generation, transmission and efficiency.Keeping an eye on the technological fringe, three such innovations are quickly approaching technological and economic viability.
  • The electrical grid has changed little over the past 120 years. As renewables come on line the grid will experience greater demands to improve flexibility and efficiency. Efficiency gains may come in the form of small, high-speed digital switches that can replace existing  high-voltage transformers. Flexibility may be introduced via improved energy storage devices such as liquid-metal batteries, flywheels and ultra-capacitors – the energy storage the grid helps to moderate the peaks and troughs synonymous with renewable systems.
  • The housing stock is responsible for a great deal of energy consumption. New compressorless air conditioners that use desiccants to dehumidify air may drastically reduce air conditioning energy costs while electrochromic window technologies are predicted to slash heating costs in half by simply adjusting window shading.

Innovation in carbon capture technologies may soon make the technology economically viable. Able to capture 90% of CO2 emissions, this advancement may enable cheap coal fire power plants to stay online well into the future.

About Hayley Shaw

Knowledge Exchange Manager at Cranfield University's Centre for Environmental Risks and Futures (CERF). Sharing the latest news from Cranfield, and insights from across the industry. All things risk, environment, and the future.
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