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ESG in Power: Technology Trends

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns are driving leaders in the power industry to reduce exposure to fossil fuel generation and replacing it with low carbon sources. At the consumer level, individuals now want to power their homes and businesses with renewable power. Not only does renewable generation improve sustainability credentials, but it is also beginning to improve revenues.

Listed below are the key technology trends impacting the ESG theme in the power industry, as identified by GlobalData. Hydrogen

Hydrogen will become a game-changer by being the source of cleaner power (zero-emission fuel) on a massive scale. Hydrogen is light, storable, energy-heavy, and does not produce direct carbon emissions or greenhouse gases (GHGs). In the short- to medium-term, hydrogen technology could be used to replace compressed natural gas (CNG) in some areas with minor changes to the existing infrastructure.

Hydrogen technology can serve as a long-term, large-scale clean energy storage medium that aids power generation from renewable sources. However, formulating a cost-effective and well-regulated transition is a complex issue, and the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources is currently expensive.

While the use of hydrogen as a fuel produces no carbon emissions, its production most often does. There are a variety of ways to produce hydrogen: brown hydrogen is derived from the gasification of coal or lignite; grey hydrogen from steam methane reformation; blue hydrogen is derived as grey but uses carbon capture and storage (CCS), and green hydrogen is produced by electrolysing water.

The production of grey and blue hydrogen generates large amounts of emissions, with the former resulting in 9 to 12 metric tons of CO 2 per metric ton of hydrogen produced. Blue hydrogen would produce roughly half the carbon emissions, but green hydrogen is the only carbon-free production method. Electrolysis capacity is currently limited, making green hydrogen expensive to produce. Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

CCS technology is a potential answer to global carbon emission concerns, as it prevents the release of large amounts of CO 2 emissions into the atmosphere from fossil fuel power plants. CCS technology comprises a three-step process where anthropogenic CO 2 emissions are captured, transported, and stored in deep geological formations to prevent the release of hazardous gas into the atmosphere.

CO 2 capture processes can be considered new to the power industry but have been used for the past 60 years in the oil, gas, and chemical industries. The technology has the potential to capture 90% of CO 2 emissions from conventional fossil-fuelled plants. Electrification

A key enabler of a decarbonised future is the universal provision of access to electricity. One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is that, by 2030, all populations worldwide should have access to electricity. As of 2019, 90% of the people in the world have access to electricity, but this figure comprises only 46% in sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Bank data. Over 800 million people still do not have reliable access.

Urban electrification will be the heart of many technological advancements in the electricity market. New […]

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