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  5. > Materials and Sensors for Renewable Energy (Technical Insights) 

Materials and Sensors for Renewable Energy (Technical Insights) 

  • December 2013
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 83 pages

Summary

Table of Contents

Optimizing Design for Enhanced Performance

Research Outline

This research service offers insights on nine dimensions of materials and sensors technologies for renewable energy, highlighting their penetration, opportunities and prospects, and roadmap. The nine dimensions of this research service are:
- Year of impact
- Market potential
- Global footprint
- IP intensity
- Funding
- Breadth of industries
- Impact on megatrend
- Potential point of convergence
- Size of innovation ecosystem

Key Findings

Wind Energy: Increased use of ferrite and rare-earth permanent magnets would reduce the number of moving parts in a turbine by simplifying or eliminating the gearbox, but the unit requirements for iron oxide and rare-earth elements in permanent magnets would increase.

Solar Energy: The next wave of improvement would be in addressing critical challenges related to radiation, concentration, and working fluid temperature differentials during operation.

Biomass Energy: A major focus of global research would be to develop the use of plant stems, which is currently unusable, as one of the raw materials. Similarly, R&D efforts will be taken in developing new materials and techniques to prevent biofouling of surfaces. Research efforts will also explore the possibility of using microorganisms to facilitate biofuel production.

Grid Energy Management: A smarter grid using sensors at various levels in the power network ensures quick power flow, optimum consumption, and increased earnings. Producers will be focusing on two-way power flow, efficient line rating, and grid power balance in the future.

Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy can be integrated with other renewable energy sources in a microgrid to provide power in remote locations.

Wave Energy: Robust digital algorithms integrated with wave energy systems will still help run the system even during signal disturbances caused by external influences such as rough weather.

Hydroelectricity: Advanced pressure-sensing and self-adjusting hydroelectric generators can help augment energy production.

Technology Overview

Wind Energy
- Energy from wind is harnessed to produce electrical energy. Wind energy technology can be divided into three different categories, namely onshore, offshore and airborne wind energy.
- Onshore wind refers to turbines located on land and it is a commercially proven and implemented technology in the wind power technologies domain.
- Offshore wind technology can be broadly categorized into two groups, that is, shallow-water wind energy generation and deep-water wind energy generation.
- Airborne wind energy is a design concept for a wind turbine that is supported in the air without a tower, but it is still in the nascent stage of development.

Solar Energy
- Solar energy technology is categorized into two segments – solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP).
- Solar PV consists of two different technologies: crystalline silicon and thin film.
- Polysilicon is the most prevalent bulk material used for the first generation of solar cells. Silicon-based solar cells are commercially manufactured using pure silicon. Most of the crystalline silicon solar cells have been manufactured using the casting method where the crystalline ingots are cut to wafers. Basically, the crystalline silicon solar cell is divided into four different types; mono crystalline, multi crystalline solar cells, ribbon silicon and mono-line multi silicon. The first generation solar cells are the most popular solar cells and they account for xx to xx % of commercial production.
- Thin film PV has 2 main families; 1) cadmium-telluride (CdTe), and 2) copper-indium-diselenide (CIS) or copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS). Their main advantages are their lower consumption of raw materials, high production efficiency, and ease of building integration. Thin film PV currently account for 10% to xx % of global module sales.
- CSP uses mirrors or lenses to covert solar radiation into electricity. CSP is also known as concentrated solar thermal. It is typically applied in comparatively large-scale plants under very clear skies and bright sun. When CSP is combined with thermal storage capacity, they can continue to produce electricity even during the evening when the sun is down.
- CSP technology utilizes four alternative technological approaches: parabolic trough CSP; linear Fresnel; dish/engine systems; tower concentrating solar power systems.

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