Power generation is only one aspect of the energy transition. Yes, it encompasses the industry’s transition away from producing electricity through the combustion of fossil fuels (e.g., oil, coal, and natural gas) and toward the use of renewable resources.

However, the overall objective is to reduce CO2 emissions while creating energy storage, important electrifying infrastructure for industry, and improving mobility. Low-carbon or carbon-free fuels like hydrogen are being proposed as long-term answers to these problems.

Tremendous progress has been made toward energy decarbonization over the past ten years. The rise of wind energy in Europe, which has reduced the cost of renewable energy and made the sector self-sustaining, setting an example for the rest of the globe, is one of the highlights. According to the Utility Bidder, the next wave of wind success will include the US, Asia Pacific, and Africa.

The European Commission assessed that the power sector’s carbon footprint had decreased by 14% in 2020, despite exceptional conditions.

According to the International Energy Agency, capacity expansions in China and the US, which aspire to achieve 100% carbon-free power by 2035, are anticipated to increase in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019.

With the IEA forecasting double-digit growth from utility-scale and distributed solar energy and other renewables, renewables are also expected to play a main part in addressing Africa’s expanding demand.

However, there is still a great deal to be done to reach carbon neutrality, including significantly reducing emissions by the biggest users of fossil fuels and decarbonizing existing energy infrastructure, in addition to increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources in the energy mix.

Getting Closer to Net Zero

The energy industry must provide a secure, economic, and sustainable energy mix, which is an “energy trilemma” in many aspects.

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First and foremost, this entails supplying the world’s expanding energy requirements, projected to rise by 4.6 percent in 2021.

It is obvious that renewable energy sources, which accounted for about 90% of the increase in global power capacity last year, must be used on a far larger scale.

This entails expanding the market for bioenergy (electricity from biomass), sustainably produced carbon-free hydrogen, and other alternative fuels, as well as scaling the underlying technology to compete with fossil fuels in terms of cost and capacity.

Alternative fuels will make it possible for major industrial emitters to decarbonize successfully. Steel and cement manufacturers will be among the industries that use alternative fuels. New energy sources will also aid the heavy shipping sector.

Managing the peaks and troughs of renewable energy supplies is another difficulty. It is the responsibility of the power industry and legislators to guarantee that energy storage solutions are quickly scaled up and marketed. To make this happen, we must be able to store extra renewable energy and release it when demand is at its highest.

Nuclear energy should also be considered as a way to provide clean and reliable baseload power to the energy mix, notwithstanding the difficulties that come with it. Initially, this will still rely on fission reactors, which the IEA refers to in its Net Zero by 2050 report as a crucial foundation for the energy transition. The long-term goal is for nuclear fusion, which is intrinsically safer, to become a major energy source.

Even though many demonstration projects are in progress, the earliest commercial fusion reactor might be seen in the 2030s. However, in all likelihood, it won’t be until beyond 2050 that large-scale fusion reactors start supplying electricity to the grid.

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Capturing Carbon and Using It

If a rapid switch to carbon-free fuels is impractical, carbon emissions can be controlled by implementing strategies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

This may be relevant to some transportation modes and heavy industries, such as shipping, where carbon may be caught at sea and later stored or used for various industrial purposes on land, such as the creation of synthetic fuels.

Power generating is a different illustration. A long-term deal has been struck by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering (MHIENG) for a bioenergy power plant in the UK to utilize MHIENG’s carbon capture technology. This will be the greatest application of negative emissions technology in the history of power generating. It will help the UK government achieve its challenging goal of cutting carbon emissions.

The Rio Grande LNG project, which sequesters CO2 from the liquefied natural gas process in the port of Brownsville, Texas, is being worked on by Next Decade in the US along with MHI America and other partners.

This project has the key potential to be one of the largest carbon capture and storage initiatives in North America. Approximately more than five million metric tonnes of CO2 are anticipated to be captured each year and permanently stored on the earth due to the project.

Removing CO2 that is already present in our atmosphere is a greater difficulty. One method for reducing emissions or possibly turning them around is Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. While DAC has long been used to clean the air in submarines, research on using it to remove carbon from the atmosphere is in its early stages.

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Our woodlands, however, are by far the biggest CO2 filters. Yet the globe lost 178 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2020, an area almost the size of Libya. An area the size of the US might potentially be replanted, according to a study. Even if trees cannot, on their own, absorb increasing amounts of carbon, they are nonetheless an important step toward a carbon-neutral world.

Achieving COP26

There is no magic solution to keep global warming below 2° Celcius by 2050, and the current trajectory is still too slow to break the vicious loop of global warming and climate change. In order to achieve that goal, a joint effort from all stakeholders will be required to rein in climate change through more ambitious policies and activities.

The UN Climate Conference, COP26, which will be held in Glasgow in November 2021, may give all the necessary players — including decision-makers from government, business, NGOs, and the energy and technology sectors — the push they require to unite and intensify their efforts to move closer to the 2050 net-zero target. The outcome might be a far more action-oriented strategy that could lead to the energy the world needs. #KhabarLive #hydnews #hyderabadnews

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