TMCnet Feature
December 12, 2019

Tech Advancements in the UK Energy Sector

Over the last decade or so, the energy sector in the UK has experienced a steady and fundamental shift towards embracing renewable and cleaner energy. A large role in this much-needed change has resulted because of the proactive governmental policies. At the same time, much of this shift has been made possible by recent technological innovations.

It is extremely likely that innovations in energy technology will continue to make an impact on the energy sector in the UK over the next few decades. In a report published by National Grid, the most promising of these technology solutions have been identified. The report also outlines the technologies that are extremely likely to contribute to the nation’s efforts to achieve decarbonization.

According to Utility Bidder, a noted business utility supplier, the power system in the UK may look very different a decade down the line.

Mentioned below are some of the leading tech innovations that are likely to contribute significantly towards the evolution of the country’s energy sector.

Self Powering Homes: Solar power is already a significant component of the renewable power infrastructure in the UK. However, solar power also has immense potential for growth via smaller domestic setups. The use of DIY rooftop solar systems has now become increasingly prevalent, with companies such as IKEA offering solar panels equipped with battery systems with their flat-pack furniture. 

In the near future, improvements in solar technology will make it easier to integrate them into buildings. A number of companies are already working on creating solar power-generating windows that could be seen very soon in our buildings. Similarly, very soon, businesses, as well as homeowners, will have complete control over their own green energy via onsite biomass boilers.  

Kite Powered Wind Energy:  Use of on and offshore wind turbines as a source of renewable energy is now common in many regions across the UK.  The latest innovation in this field looks to improve wind generation efficiency by reaching higher altitudes. The world’s first kite firm received the official go-ahead from the UK government in 2017. This wind power facility pulls turbines and generates electricity using two huge kites that fly 450 meters above the ground in loops. The company handling this project claims that compared to conventional wind power generation systems, Kite Power Systems have lower operational maintenance costs and Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE).  

High Efficiency Batteries: Innovations in battery technology are also expected to have a significant impact on the future of green energy in the UK. There are numerous potential performance benefits of using solid-state batteries. Unlike standard lithium-ion batteries containing semi-liquid type electrolytes, these batteries use a solid electrolyte. Compared to lithium-ion, solid-state batteries offer a longer life cycle, twice the energy density, and can be charged six times faster. Numerous renowned companies are making serious strides to bring these batteries in the market within the next few years.

Bladeless Turbines: The wind turbine is considered to be an inseparable component of the renewable energy industry. However, the time has come to change them around to make them more efficient. Recent innovations in wind energy space have resulted in the creation of bladeless turbines. Instead of rotating blades, these turbines oscillate when wind passes through a conical mast. As there is minimum contact between moving parts, the need for spare parts replacements and lubricants is minimized. In addition to reducing maintenance costs by 80%, these turbines will also minimize the visual impact and noise associated with traditional turbines.

The Next Generation Nuclear Reactor: The next generation of nuclear reactor technology has the potential to make the creation of nuclear energy more efficient, economical, and safer. These generation IV reactors will generate a higher amount of energy using the same fuel quantity and utilize the older reactors’ waste products. At present, efforts are on to develop molten salt reactors that will dissolve fuel using molten fluoride salt. The first of these reactors is expected to hit the UK market within 2030.        


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