In the past 10 years, the UK has undergone a steady shift toward solar and other green energy sources. Most of this change has been pushed by various government policies. The move to green energy has also inspired technological innovation. These innovations are likely to continue making a huge impact on the UK energy industry for many decades to come. Here are some of the technologies playing an important role in the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions.
DIY solar systems are becoming quite common. Today, you can purchase a solar system from companies such as IKEA. In the future, improvements in solar technology will make it possible to install solar power windows.
Onsite Biomass Boilers
Biomass boilers use solid fuels from plant materials. They can use wood or special crops. To avid increasing carbon emissions, they use wood or plant material used has to be sourced sustainably. As a result, for each tree felled, more trees or plants are panted. It ensures that all carbon release from the combustion is reabsorbed by the plants or trees panted. Biomass boilers can use wood chips, wood pellets, or logos. The biomass can be in small quantities or bulk.
Kite Powered Wind Plants
The use of wind turbines is common in the UK. The latest innovation involves sourcing power from higher altitudes. In 2017, the UK approved a kite firm, which was a first of its kind at the time. They are two giant kites that are 450 meters above the ground and they pull turbines to generate power. Kite systems have low operational costs and the levelized cost of energy.
The battery technology innovations are expected to have a huge impact on the future of renewable energy in the UK. It is especially so when it comes to solid-state batteries that have shown a lot of promise. Unlike the common li-ion batteries, these batteries use a solid electrolyte. They have a longer lifecycle, double the energy density, and they charge six times faster. Various companies are making huge strides in this sector.
Wind turbines are a core component of green energy. However, they could use improvements to their efficiency. The latest innovation in this sector is the use of bladeless turbines. The turbines oscillate instead of having rotating blades when the wind rushes through a conical mast. Because of reduced contact between moving parts, there is less need for lubricants and replacement parts. Besides that, they produce less noise and minimise the visual impact of wind turbines.
Solar Energy Ground Source Heat Pumps
When the sun shines on the ground, the heat is absorbed. In places without access to hot dry rocks or hot water springs, ground source heat pumps are a great alternative. They extract the energy absorbed by the ground from the sun and it can be used for space heating.
Improved Nuclear Reactors
The innovations around nuclear reactors could make them safer and more energy-efficient. These reactors, called generation IV reactors, produce more heat from the same fuel and recycle waster from old reactors. There are efforts to create molten salt reactors that dissolve fuel using molten fluoride salts. The first of such reactors are expected to go online in the UK in 2030.
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