Energy Management to year 2020:
Short report - 03/02/05
“A parallel of significance has been reached, between the importance of hydrogen in its nuclear sense as in our stars, with hydrogen in its humble chemical sense, here on Earth” ©SZ 1995.The “Parallel of Significance” as above was written in year 1995 as a vision statement, and as well to depict the onset of The Hydrogen Economy.
Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are progressing so that they are in their pre-phase era parallel to the pre-space era of the 1960’s.I have maintained this comparison for several years now. Some managers in the world are aware of this parallel for recently the Vice-Chairman of the GM motor car company indicated that the year 2010 mass production of the fuel cell vehicle by GM, will be their “Moonshot”.
Awareness for what is going to happen over the next fifteen (15) years is imperative for
managers. All variables must be clearly put forward so managers can assess what forces will
impact upon their organisations. From a high degree of certainty managers can then plan their strategies, for it will be a question of time and timing from that point on. This won’t be an easy equation as there are a variety of variables and some are volatile.
Before we consider other energy sources or carriers, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies alone, are predicted to accelerate from year 2007 to year 2015 exponentially. This curve description of reality will invariably “catch” many managers and planners “sleeping”.
1The social driver is as well a force that needs to be assessed very carefully. Recently the Toyota car company in the US had to adjust its year 2005 production schedule, from 43,000 units to 130,000 units, as regarding the 2004 Toyota Prius petrol/electric hybrid vehicle. This not only surprised many managers but also sent a “shock wave” through the entire global car-manufacturing sector. Similar impact will happen as relating to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies between years 2007-2015, unless managers learn to focus on the changing dynamics of “Green” consumerism.
2A global carbon constrained manufacturing sector is less than a decade away, and if not facilitated now the cost will be much higher then. It is further anticipated that the social driver will demand further government action sooner than later after year 2010.Political force is thus anticipated at greater strength before year 2015.
3Stationary power supplies for a future growing global demand will not be met as currently thought. Decentralised power producing technologies which are as well greenhouse gas reducing technologies, will supersede traditional centralised stationary power stations by year 2020.
4There is a high degree of certainty that given the current rate of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies’ cost reduction rates, the fuel cell will go beyond the implantation of micro-fuel cells for electronic devices in year 2007. Fuel cells by their tens of millions are expected to be implanted into whitegoods by year 2015 and beyond, dispensing of the need for a power socket for ever.
This scenario could have major consequential impacts on the magnitude of central stationary power supply by year 2020,and in fact curb and flatten the expected global energy supply equation as a result to year 2050.It as well should be seen as an attractive
product improvement to many future “Green” consumers of whitegoods and other electronic devices.
The politics of nuclear energy is powerful in certain countries like the US and Australia. I would anticipate that nuclear energy would in fact be used again but not to produce electricity as an energy carrier, but rather hydrogen as an energy carrier.
This scenario has been put forward already with a new breed of nuclear reactor which is much safer than past models. The reactor is a high temperature reactor processing water to produce hydrogen. Nuclear energy producing hydrogen also allows for a mass production supply scenario which will be needed during years 2015-2020.Nuclear energy being applied this way allows for large production of hydrogen 24/7,whilst renewable energy hydrogen production will invariably be intermittent.
Nuclear energy has the real capacity to augment the mass production of hydrogen until renewable energy hydrogen and other distributed domestic types can easily satisfy demand (2020-2030). I would expect the first demonstration nuclear reactor of this type by ~year 2015.
Wind turbine and solar technologies have had “double digit” growth last year and the same is expected this year. Costs are coming down as predicted and in the area of solar technology new discoveries have been made. The Sliver “Silver” solar cell by the Australian National University (ANU) has 90% less expensive silicon, and is ready to be manufactured from South Australia courtesy of Origin Energy by April 2005.The ANU as well produced the largest paraboloid in the world (400m2) called “Big Dish”, and it has already been built and is awaiting customers.
Renewable energy technologies can work with other technologies in hybrid applications.
We should see more solar/fuel cell hybrid power plants by example between years 2010-2015.
The way we extract energy from fossil fuels will differ from the current method of combustive processes. Existing processes are becoming intolerable from a pollution perspective, and will be socially unacceptable by year 2015.
The gasification of coal creating a feedstock for a 200+ MW plant operating on MCFC fuel cell design with turbine/s in full oxygen blown mode, would be the technology of the power stations of the future to build upon. This technology could then be improved to year 2020,to reduce carbon dioxide completely in conjunction with sequestration, by forming carbon black (soot) through new technology. Additional benefit is gained from these types of plants as they can as well produce large quantities of hydrogen from the gasification of coal.
I have full confidence in these new technologies as they will not only improve the quality of life for the free world, but also liberate billions of people in the third world this century.
Stephen V Zorbas
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Reports by HECRESA consulting 2001-2005;
HECRESA consulting also operates for the National Hydrogen Institute of Australia and Fuel Cell Institute of Australia. Reports for 2003 included The National Hydrogen Report-June-03, Fuel Cell Products Reference Manual-03, The Living Murray Proposal-03, Solar Thermal Technology Applications for Australia-03, Decentralised Power & Water Systems (Australia)-03, Smart House Project proposal-03, Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technology Educational Display Centre proposal-03, The Hydrogen Economy / Fuel Cell Vehicles-03, The Hydrogen Commercial Plan-01+:
Year 2004: Suggested Energy Directions for Australia to year 2020-Mar04 , Urban Transport Pollution Reduction proposal-Apr04, Greenhouse Strategy Suggestions NSW May04, Fuel Cell Science Educational Pilot Program For Principals and Teachers-July04, Education in Australia; suggested teaching material on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies-Aug04,High Schools in NSW(H2 & Fuel Cell Science & Engineering Education)-September 04,Sustainable Living to year 2020-Master Plan-short summary(communicative purposes)September 04.
Year 2005: Global Warming the next “Tsunami”- Environment Strategy for The Greater West of Sydney-Jan 05 , Victorian Greenhouse Challenge position paper-Suggestions and Comments-Jan-05, Expression of Interest draft-SolarCities –Jan 05, NSW Energy Directions Green Paper-Comments & Suggestions Jan-05