These are the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2019

July 3, 2019

The World Economic Forum released a report that listed the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019, which are as follows:

large_myTqyxHjBB7OZnwP74Rs-7_I4EDL_ZwMPpoM512befs.png

You will note that Grid-Scale Energy Storage makes the top 10.

Grid scale means > 100 MW.  There are four technologies that might make it: Batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air energy storage, power to fuel (H2, CH3OH…).

We already have hydro on demand, good for peaking, but little pumped hydro (Ontario’s Adam Beck, at 80 MW, is the largest pumped hydro project around), and none specifically geared to store renewable energy. 

Power to liquids or gas is around 30-40% efficient.  Unless you can find a way to use the waste heat in a beneficial manner.

Batteries?  At grid scale?  The environmental impact (and demands on rare metals) will be huge, and batteries are 4-5 times more costly per kWh than pumped hydro or compressed air.

Compressed air comes off pretty good in a comparison. 

Can Technology Arrest Global Warming?

Your interest in energy is, unfortunately, shared by few.  Your question as to whether technology can arrest global warming is a good one, and the answer is probably yes, but the chances of that happening fast enough are probably close to nil, mostly for cost and political reasons.

For consumers in the developed world, their only concern is that energy (power, heat, fuel) is available when needed without inconvenience.  Just as everyone knows that “hamburger comes from stores”, we also all know that “power comes from wall plugs”.  For consumers in the less-developed world, things are far more complicated, and energy issues are far more impactive, but they consume much less energy per capita than we do.  In fact, many of them suffer from “Energy Poverty” – a lack of access to even small amounts of power for lights at night and phone charging.

Still Optimistic?

For those who retain a significantly optimistic outlook on issues relating to carbon dioxide emissions reductions and climate change, the BP Statistical review for this year, just issued, and considered one of the most authoritative annual analyses of the energy industry, is sobering, to say the least.