5 Ways the Internet of Things will improve the energy sector
Reduction in energy demands
In 2016 and beyond, the Internet of Things (IoT) will greatly change the way we consume energy. loT will empower users with actionable insight to better understand their energy consumption in real-time, down to the small appliance level — to create personalized recommendations for users based on data gathered.
“I’m pretty confident that the Internet of Things is going to have net negative power consumption,” said Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure at Google. “If you control lights, heat, and cooling in a smarter ways, that’s really substantial.”
While trimming home energy use can bring big energy reductions, the true future lies in an integrated system, a smart grid. As of right now, the flow of energy in a normal grid is one way, with energy flowing from power plants to homes and businesses. With a smart grid, it would flow multiple ways — allowing people to control their own energy, including selling the energy they make. A smart grid would allow customers to preset how and when their home or business uses energy, including the ability to control by way of smartphones.
Predicting and mitigating problems
Because IoT makes sense of large amounts of data captured from machines, it uncovers valuable insight into the health and performance of equipment and infrastructure. For example, General Electric is developing a sensor network based on the principles of loT to monitor turbines constantly in order to reduce downtime. These predictive analytics help identify impending problems early in order to avoid unexpected downtimes or failures.
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Cisco provides a great example of loT at work: A devastating ice storm could bring down miles upon miles of power lines, leaving tens of thousands of customers without power. An optimally connected system allows for faster triage, more collaborative decision-making, better communications, and a more productive workforce response. The result is power restoration well ahead of customer expectations. Energy operators can find ways to optimize investments in new and existing facilities, and integrate more distributed energy resources onto the grid.
By having equipment, operations and systems interlinked, IoT could significantly alleviate problems while increasing efficiency and productivity.
In theory, IoT will increase efficiency, but how exactly will it in practice? Here are two examples:
According to Computer Weekly, Xerox Research Centre Europe has developed a system for managing traffic flow in Los Angeles with dynamic pricing at parking meters. The company deployed 7,000 sensors around the city to detect if a parking meter was occupied, and then adjusted pricing dynamically to ensure 20 percent of parking spaces were always available.
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AT&T is working with manufacturers like GM and BMW to add LTE connectivity to cars. In the process, it’s created brand new connected services, including real-time traffic information, real-time diagnostics for the front seat or even “infotainment” for users in the back seat. With the interconnectivity of mobile devices, vehicles and road systems will effectively help professionals to reduce travel time, enabling them to get to work faster or run regular errands in record time.
Whether at home, in the office or on the road, IoT will reduce the complexity of managing energy consumption from different places and provide an all-in-one stop. This means devices like your smartphone, tablet and laptop can connect and have access to other smart devices like the air conditioner or washing machine for enhanced usability. IoT will usher in a wide array of benefits from remote-controlled households, improved home security to more convenience, lower bills and more intuitive devices.
When Apple introduced the iPhone to the world in 2007, the marketplace for mobile apps was pedestrian. Today, it’s worth more than $25 billion with endless potential.
IoT will be much the same, except bigger. It is expected to drive innovation and could create new business models for the provision of energy services such as new forms of demand management may lead to creative alternatives to traditional energy consumption patterns. It could also drive forward lifestyle innovations, transforming the idea of a smart home into a reality.
Along with innovation, loT can drive value. By 2020, IoT is expected to grow the energy market from $7.59 billion in 2015 to $22.34 billion, according to MarketsandMarkets. IoT-based technology solutions and associated services are anticipated to bring immense value to the energy sector in coming years.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere