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Undercover Engineers: Future Fuel

Find out about what our future fuel could be...

When we talk about renewable energy sources, what might we include?

The best known are things like solar, wind and hydropower and they really are here to stay as technology improves.

Renewable Energy sources

Solar power is becoming more and more efficient and affordable, especially with the development of advanced photovoltaic cells and concentrated solar power systems.

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Wind power has seen improvements in turbine technology and from the development of large offshore wind farms, and not forgetting hydropower that has expanded to include newer technologies like tidal and wave energy converters.

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And the power network grids that carry energy around are getting better at working with these energy providers too – they’ve gone from taking supply from a handful of old power stations to taking supply from THOUSANDS of renewable sources. 

That’s quite a challenge but one that engineers are rising to meet. 

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Now another technology that’s seeing advances is energy storing technology., or batteries as you might know them.

Over the years, batteries have gone from just powering torches, game controllers and TV remotes to powering machinery and electric vehicles of all sizes. 

I guess the batteries have just had to get bigger!

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Energy storage technologies have witnessed remarkable progress.

Batteries have become more efficient, cost-effective and capable of storing larger amounts of energy.

And emerging technologies, like flow batteries, use more available minerals – that’s better for the environment, and show promising potential for grid-scale energy storage.

So flow batteries are a way to store energy coming into the national grid.

Renewables like solar, hydro and wind only produce energy when the weather conditions are right – so batteries that can store all the energy that these sources create until it’s needed, will help increase the amount of renewable energy we use.

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Green Fuels

Green synthetic and electrofuels fuels are liquid or gaseous fuels that are produced using electricity from renewables sources that we’ve mentioned.

E-fuels – things like green methanol and ammonia, are carbon-neutral when burned, emitting only the amount of CO2 absorbed during production.

And there’s one type of Green fuel that some people think might be winning the race, Hydrogen!

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New, cleaner ways to generate fuel from hydrogen are exciting, not least because the benefits are that when hydrogen is used as a fuel, the only byproduct is water.

It doesn’t emit harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide which contribute to climate change.

It has the potential to provide clean energy for many applications from powering vehicles to industrial processes like refining, manufacturing and heating.

However, as with any type of fuel which is a hazardous not to mention explosive material, hydrogen can be difficult to store and transport. 

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It’s important there aren’t any leaks in the process which would otherwise cancel out any benefit to the environment. 

And like anything relating to energy, it’s important that it can be used safely.

To find out a bit more, have a listen to our chat with Titi Oliyide.

She’s a Technical Process Safety Engineer at Supercritical Solutions – a company that’s on a mission to eliminate the hardest 20% of global emissions with technology to slash the cost of green hydrogen for the world’s biggest emitters. 

She talked to us about this exciting new technology and how she’s helping to make the roll out as safe as possible.

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