“Global Energy”: key energy technologies up to 2040
The Global Energy Prize laureates and the GEP International Award Committee members have determined key energy products and technologies the emergence and commercialization of which will contribute to the intensive development of the global energy field.
As a recall, it was done through a Foresight session that is based on the unique system of experts’ evaluations. This foresight allowed determining directions of science and technologies development that are crucial for the global energy evolvement up to 2040.
According to experts, the world`s population is growing as well as energy consumption. The majority of it comes from the developed countries (USA and Europe) and rapidly growing developing countries (China, India). In 2015, there were 1.2 billion people in the world with no access to electricity and 2.6 billion people with no access to clean fuel sources for cooking. By 2030, the proportion of the population in rural areas without access to electricity will be six times higher than in urban areas. That is why one of the goals for sustainable development of the United Nations is to ensure by 2030 universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
"Initiatives aimed at improving energy efficiency in both developed and developing countries will help restrain the rise in energy consumption on the planet. However, we must not forget about the need to solve the problem of energy shortage and while overcoming it we have to minimize the environmental damage. That is a challenge that should be addressed by humankind, including through new energy technologies ", - said the Chairman of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, the Nobel Prize winner Rodney John Allam.
According the Global Energy Prize laureates and the GEP International Award Committee members, another important challenge is the climate change, the consequences of which are already evident for some countries and regions: drought, floods and other extreme weather conditions. In order to reduce the effects of irreversible changes many states adopt adaptation plans, and the international community is looking for solutions related to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
The most promising solutions to respond to these challenges, according to experts, is the power decentralization, elimination of unnecessary intermediaries between producers and consumers and increase of competition in the sector. Energy consumers – the households and industry - will play an increasingly active role in shaping the future of energy field, setting its own requirements and restrictions. Distributed electricity generation from renewable sources (solar, wind, etc. or a combination thereof) will continue to develop. Its consumers could be homes (villages) as well as farms or factories. The cost and availability of these technologies will continue to decline, and they may be essential for the electricity provision to remote regions and localities.
Decentralized “intelligent” system of balancing demand and generation for different types of energy (heat, gas, electricity) will help unite all the utilities systems and make these services affordable, efficient and convenient.
“Within the next 15-20 years the major breakthrough will occur not in technologies of energy production and consumption, but in technologies of their control and combination. I'm talking about the new systems of control similar to the so-called industrial revolution 4.0”- said the GEP International Award Committee member, head of oil and gas department in the RAS Energy Research Institute Tatiana Mitrova.
New conductive and insulating materials that will transmit electricity over long distances with low losses were pointed out as the key products and technologies by the Global Energy Prize laureates and the GEP International Award Committee members.
Cheap and capacious batteries for electric vehicles, which will reduce their costs and will contribute to accelerating the displacement of the market of cars with conventional combustion engines, were also in the center of experts` attention.
Another promising area of technology, according to the “Global Energy”, is a hydrogen economy and fuel cells provided the cost of hydrogen production will be reduced and related infrastructure will be developed.
Nuclear energy technologies, including nuclear fusion, will be able to keep their place in the future, provided their cost reduction, environmental damage diminishing and security improving. According to experts, low power modular reactors will be in demand.
“Last year we started our cooperation with the leading Russian experts in long-term forecasting of the Foresight Center of ISSEK (Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge) of Higher School of Economics of National Research Institute and within the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee meeting when we hold our first Foresight session. Its task was to create a forecast of the global power mix structure up to 2050”- shared the “Global Energy”, Non-profit partnership`s President Igor Lobovsky. – “According to its results, we decided to make foresight sessions a part of Global Energy Prize process and to inform the public about the vision of our laureates and the GEP International Committee members on an ongoing basis Our experts will continue participating in the global energy foresight.”
In his turn, deputy director of the Foresight Center of ISSEK of Higher School of Economics of National Research Institute Alexander Chulok said: “Foresight – is not an attempt to guess or to predict the future. It is its formation based on advanced analytical methods, and with direct participation of key experts. We have prepared seriously for this foresight session with the world`s leading experts in the field of energy: we have studied hundreds of foreign foresights, took into account the results of the forecast of scientific and technological development of Russia for the period up to 2030, which had been approved by the Government`s Chairman, we have prepared an expanded list of promising technologies based on this data. We have done our homework with colleagues. That is why we were able to conduct an effective foresight in a short time”.