The annual trade show was not particularly well-attended this year, but market sentiment is still positive in Japan – nobody believes that installations will drop due to the coronavirus outbreak. And the country’s upstream industry – modules, batteries, and hydrogen tech – clearly remains compelling, given the number of brave souls who actually did make the trip out to Tokyo Big Sight this year.
Japanese researchers have developed a new water-splitting technology based on a photoelectrochemical system made with titanium dioxide and cobalt. Cobalt is said to be a solid alternative to noble metals such as gold and silver to improve the light-absorbing properties of titanium dioxide used for water oxidation.
Panellists including a government representative and a member of the chief policy thinktank used by Narendra Modi agreed coal will continue as the staple source of Indian power into the mid century and technology should be employed to ‘clean’ it.
A new report from Hydrogen Council predicts that the cost of renewable hydrogen production will fall drastically by up to 60% over the coming decade due to the declining costs of renewable electricity generation and the scaling up of electrolyzer manufacturing. Thanks to its optimal renewable resources, Australia will be among the countries most favorably placed to contribute to the development of the hydrogen economy.
Under the umbrella of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 initiative, the research platform ERA has initiated a new batch of future energy projects. Looking at the list of winning projects, it is easy to tell that hydrogen, virtual power plant, and blockchain projects are really at the center of what Europe thinks will be important for its net-zero carbon plans by 2050.
A report from Dutch grid operator TenneT and gas business Gasunie suggests the companies should jointly develop infrastructure after 2030. With hydrogen and synthetic methane in demand, electricity and gas will become increasingly inter-linked. Only seamless integration of the two networks would enable the EU to achieve its net-zero-carbon 2050 plan.
Scientists at Switzerland’s University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil have demonstrated an aluminum conversion process which could be valuable for long-term renewable energy storage. Simulations suggest that by employing the process, a new multi-family building in Switzerland could meet all its energy demand from a 7-11 kWp solar system.
By this time next year we may be able to wave goodbye to that old chestnut about renewables endangering security of supply. Elsewhere, the price of lithium – and the products it goes into – could go either way after tanking this year.
Battery innovations started to come thick and fast this quarter as the hunt for alternatives to lithium-ion intensified and the latest slew of solar tenders indicated the relentless pressure on solar power generation costs was showing no sign of abating.
The Danish government has agreed to provide $19 million in funds for two large-scale hydrogen projects under development on the Jutland peninsula. The two projects will produce green hydrogen for the transport sector from renewables sources. Denmark’s largest energy company, Ørsted, has also announced plans for an ambitious 2 MW electrolysis plant with appurtenant hydrogen storage.
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