“overcoming Challenges In Large-scale Energy Storage” – ANWAR HOSSAIN, FCA Chartered Accountant | Financial Management and Reporting Specialist | Accounting Professional | Head of Accounts & Finance in MNC
Solar energy is energy from the sun that is converted into heat or electricity. Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant source of energy available. Solar technology can harness this energy for a variety of uses, including generating electricity, providing lighting or a comfortable indoor environment, and heating water for domestic, commercial, or industrial use. However, solar still faces many hurdles before it can replace fossil fuels for energy production. There are many unexpected challenges with solar power that entrepreneurs are learning about while doing business in these developing countries.
“overcoming Challenges In Large-scale Energy Storage”
The standard cost of solar power is a term that describes the cost of the energy produced by the solar system over a period of time, usually the guaranteed life of the system. The cost of solar energy plants is high initially. In addition, there are ongoing maintenance costs for both of these categories as well as the cost of financing any loan.
The Energy Transition
Intensity of sunlight is one of the main obstacles to the efficient use of solar energy. It varies in different parts of the world. The amount of useful solar energy incident at any given location is highly dependent on latitude and climate. The equator receives the most solar energy per year and the poles receive the least. Dry climates receive more solar energy than cloudy ones.
A good amount of land is required for solar farms, as energy production is directly proportional to the surface area covered. Therefore, the largest solar farms in the world are built in deserts and large open spaces. However, this is not possible in small countries with limited land, or in large countries where land consolidation is increasing to prevent the use of agricultural land to develop a solar farm.
Adequate transportation is needed to transport electricity to urban load centers. Intermittent sources such as solar can cause various problems in transmission planning and efficient operation of transmission infrastructure, resulting in higher transmission costs, increased congestion, and production limitations when sufficient transmission capacity is not available. Because of potential transmission constraints, solar project developers will need to evaluate the economic trade-offs of locating where resources are better versus locating near loads where transmission constraints are less likely.
Reliability is another big problem with solar power. A solar panel can produce electricity for a maximum of 12 hours a day and the panel can reach a short-term peak production around noon. Solar panels with a tracker can follow the sun to distribute the maximum generation time effectively, but that means the panels use very little of the day to produce a lot of volume. During peak production, storage batteries can be charged by solar panels that help provide a dribble of power at night. But they can be expensive, contain toxic substances and wear out quickly due to frequent charging and discharging cycles.
Status Of Power System Transformation 2017
Photovoltaic performance is another hurdle. In the desert, one square meter of solar panel can get the energy equivalent of more than 6 kilowatt-hours during one day. But the solar panel cannot convert that much energy into electricity. The efficiency of the solar panel controls the usable energy. Most commercial solar panels are less than 25% efficient. The more efficient the panel, the more expensive it is to produce.
Although generating energy from the sun has no carbon emissions, the production of solar panels and related technologies can involve environmentally unfriendly materials. Nitrogen trifluoride is common in electronic products; including those used in solar cells, and is a greenhouse gas 17,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, most solar cells contain small amounts of the toxic metal cadmium, and the batteries needed to store the generated electricity can contain a host of other heavy metals and harmful substances. As solar technology improves, manufacturers may be able to move away from these potentially dangerous, but for now, significant environmental benefits that solar energy provides. the great opportunities of this energy vector are essential to the energy revolution and the challenges that science and industry face in its full development.
With the growing popularity, it is now common to find large energy or industrial projects related, to a greater or lesser extent, with the development of hydrogen technology and the use of their energy.
Due to the current situation of gradual power transition, this power vector has gained more prominence, emphasizing many of the expectations and hopes to transform the current power matrix. This is mainly due to two reasons.
Indonesia’s Solar Future
On the other hand, hydrogen is another method that can be used for different purposes (energy storage, industrial use, vehicle propulsion, etc.) without producing emissions (as long as we are talking about the so-called green hydrogen, which is gaining popularity and is obtained from renewable sources).
On the other hand, there are many chemicals that can be obtained from the electrolysis of water, as in the case of “green hydrogen”.
So, these two great advantages, among others, give hydrogen “green” and its value chain a remarkable importance in recent years, which is expected to increase in the coming years as the technologies associated with this solution evolve.
In this way, large private projects and investments announced in recent months aim to strengthen the value chain of hydrogen and related technologies, with the aim of ensuring its development and making this one of the main players of the energy mix of the future. .
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As a result of the increase in recent months, for example, the so-called “Hydrogen Valleys”: hubs around hydrogen and its technology that are developed in many cases by private entities with the support of the public sector.
However, much of this investment is specifically aimed at ensuring that hydrogen becomes a reality. Despite the theoretical benefits and potential, it is an industry that still presents, without many opportunities, major challenges in the various stages that make up the value chain.
As explained in previous blog posts, electrolysis is now the most sustainable and developed way to produce hydrogen. It is also a process that allows obtaining high H2 purity (about 100%), which makes it very valuable as it gives better results for later use. All this, and zero impact on the environment, because it is a non-toxic process in its environment.
Currently, there are three different types or methods being developed to increase hydrogen production through electrolysis.
Benchmarking The Future Of Energy
These methods, from most to least developed, are alkaline electrolysis (AWE), Proton Exchange Membrane electrolysis (PEM) and high temperature solid oxide electrolysis (SOEC).
Although each has its strengths and areas for improvement, what they have in common is the biggest challenge facing the industry today: the need to reduce the current production costs of obtaining hydrogen through one of these three methods.
According to estimates by the US Department of Energy, the cost of producing hydrogen must be less than 2 dollars per kilogram (almost 1.8 euros) to be competitive in any of its applications.
However, this is a goal that seems distant, if we go by the numbers shown by the International Energy Agency in its 2019 report, where it is noted that no country or region has been able to reach this figure (which, according to the same report, is about 3 dollars). However, logic shows that in the coming years this number will begin to decrease as the cost of renewable energy used for the production of hydrogen decreases, which will lead to a significant reduction in the opex of these systems.
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In addition, organizations that support hydrogen, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency or the United Nations Organization itself, have described different plans to try to help these forecasts with other ways to reduce this cost of production. All of them seem to use this reduction – in addition to the use of renewable resources – in the development of economies of scale, thereby seeking to increase the level of production to large volumes that reduce the cost of each kilogram produced.
As a result, platforms such as the “Green Hydrogen Catapult” are beginning to appear, creating a network of cooperation between companies such as Iberdrola, Yara or Envision with the aim of increasing current production levels and reducing the average cost.
These types of measures, and the aforementioned reduction in the cost of energy sources, will be the main tools on which the gradual implementation of the electrolyzer industry will be based.
Similarly, there are other possible ways to reduce costs, such as improving the efficiency of the electrolysis process (thus reducing energy loss) and adapting the generation technology to the use or specific application where the hydrogen obtained will be used. All this with the aim of achieving low-cost hydrogen fueling, which is now the main means of accelerating the energy transition
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