RENEWABLE ENERGY 4 innovations that boost the performance of renewable energy sources
Electronics are becoming more advanced, which means industries are struggling to meet the demands for power supply. Francesco La Camera of IRENA has reported that the world can no longer rely on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs, making it crucial for industries to develop renewable energy sources with higher performance.
Recognizing the importance of powerful yet sustainable energy sources, IRENA found that solar energy sources have increased their generating capacity by 19 %, while wind energy has boosted its generating capacity by 13 %. These increases in power generation are due in part to the following innovations:
Luminescent solar concentrator technologies
While classic photovoltaic panels are more popular among end-users, luminescent solar concentrators are a great alternative solar energy source. This innovation captures sunlight in its plastic material and concentrates it along the edges, consequently allowing small photovoltaic cells to generate power.
This was first studied by Michigan State University researchers in 2013, and the website "Solar Energy" explains that the technology showed a power conversion efficiency of 0.5 % during this time. Now, it’s been discovered that the luminescent solar concentrator can trap 75-80 % of the light in its plate. On top of that, the innovation can shift short wave radiation to an extended wavelength, making its conversion efficiency much higher.
Microinverters for solar panels
Though microinverters aren't new tech, most users leverage standard string inverters for their solar panel systems. These string inverters are more cost-effective than other counterparts, but their performance pales in comparison to microinverters.
Inverters are critical in transforming raw solar energy into usable power, and microinverter supplier Hoymiles highlights the importance of high-powered microinverters in reducing waste from energy production. Microinverters have a 99.8 % MPPT efficiency rating and even power generation monitoring platforms, allowing end users to maximize the amount of solar energy collected from their panels. Through this, end-users get a highly reliable energy source that can provide greater power output.
Energy management for smart grids
Monitoring platforms have become essential for users of renewable energy sources, since they allow users to assess the performance of these technologies.
To illustrate, a study on Energy Management in the Smart Grid highlights that energy management platforms can increase the efficiency and reliability of power coming from sustainable energy grids. These management systems can apply algorithms and advanced control systems, so that the energy supply from smart grids can be optimized for the end user. By leveraging these energy management systems, communities relying on smart grids or even individual users who utilize renewable energy sources can find ways to improve their power supply.
Modular wave energy converters
Aside from solar energy sources and smart grids, modular wave energy converters are also promising as a renewable energy source for offshore companies and coastal communities.
Since modular wave energy converters are placed in oceans with strong waves, researchers from Manhattan College discovered that this innovation can produce up to 81 milliwatts within a wave period of one second. This is possible through the product’s buoys, which generate electricity from the strong waves. This energy harvesting device can also be installed in various observational buoys, giving it a longer lifespan for energy production.
Through these technologies, more users can enjoy reliable and efficient clean energy. Now that there's a greater demand for renewable resources, one can expect that renewable energy sources will only get more efficient and powerful in time.