Nextbigfuture has reviewed AI and Computers and Space for 2016 and looked ahead in those areas.
Here we will look at Energy.
France also had a shutdown of some nuclear reactors because of concerns over japanese parts The component in question was manufactured by Japan Casting and Forging Corp., which is based in Kitakyushu. In June, ASN pointed to potential weaknesses of the Japanese steel components, with carbon concentrations exceeding standards. The Japanese part is used at 12 nuclear reactors in France, according to local reports. In June, the French regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), said it had identified 18 French nuclear power reactors operated by EDF – of both 900 MWe and 1450 MWe capacity – whose steam generators could contain high carbon concentrations.
Only three nuclear reactors are currently online in Japan: two at the Sendai plant and one at Shikoku Electric Power’s Ikata station.
Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics said Dec. 13 it estimates seven reactors will be restarted by the end of March 2017 and another 19 by March 2018.
About two-thirds of 57 nuclear reactors under construction are expected to come on line in the next three years.
Solar and battery production continue to make progress. The cost of solar and batteries continue to look promising for future market share.
Bloomberg forecasts that cheaper coal and cheaper gas will not derail the transformation and decarbonisation of the world’s power systems. By 2040, zero-emission energy sources will make up 60% of installed capacity. Wind and solar will account for 64% of the 8.6TW of new power generating capacity added worldwide over the next 25 years, and for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested.
China is proposing a $50+ trillion global energy grid. Global Energy Interconnection (GEI), a vision of a world power grid, was outlined by the State Grid Corporation of China (“State Grid”) It would be based upon a global network of Ultra High Voltage power lines connecting global power generation including massive wind farm at the North Pole and solar power from equatorial areas to energy users around the world. It would also be used to distribute inexpensive coal power to India and South Asia from now to 2035.
Future of Energy
Wind and solar costs are going to fall even more quickly over the next 25 years than Bloomberg had previously estimated. Levelized costs of generation for onshore wind and photovoltaics will drop by 41 percent and 60 percent respectively in the period to 2040, taking our global average estimates for the two technologies in 2040 to $46 per megawatt-hour and $40 per megawatt-hour1. The previous year, we had predicted cost reductions of 32 percent for wind and 48 percent for solar.
The reasons we now expect wind to get 19 percent cheaper for every doubling of capacity include faster include turbine size and efficiency, resulting in rising capacity factors, as well as economies in manufacture and reduced operating and maintenance expenses. The reasons we expect solar PV to get 26.5 percent less costly for every doubling of capacity include several of the same factors, plus increases in panel efficiency and a big shrinkage in capex disparities between different countries.
India is projected to increase electricity demand between 2015 and 2040 by 298 percent, and emissions by 215 percent, over the period
Other future energy options will need to be abundant, inexpensive and useful for the local, region areas and nation where it is implemented.
The corporations that implement them will need to have strong political influence and strong economics.
Robotics, big data and technology can enable supercheap oil and natural gas
Technological progress, particularly in big-data analytics, has the U.S. shale industry poised for another, longer boom, a “Shale 2.0.” Shale companies now produce more oil with two rigs than they did just a few years ago with three rigs, sometimes even spending less overall.
Shale fields will increasingly be developed using advanced automation, mobile computing, robotics, and industrial drones. At present, barely 10 percent of projects use fully automated drilling and pressure-control systems, for example.
Big Data can make oil fracking 4 times more efficient
Many companies are keeping their big-data projects proprietary, some information is publicly available. Halliburton reports that its analytic tools achieved a 40 percent reduction in the cost of delivering a barrel of oil. Baker Hughes says that analytics have helped it double output in older wells.
At present, each long horizontal well is typically stimulated in 24–36 stages, with, on average, only one-fourth to one-third of those stages productive. At present, in other words, about 20 percent of stages generate 80 percent of output.
The current state of stimulation technology means that, on average, at least 300–400 percent more oil is not extracted. Bringing analytics to bear on the complexities of shale geology, geophysics, stimulation, and operations to optimize the production process would potentially double the number of effective stages—thereby doubling output per well and cutting the cost of oil in half.
Microwave oil recovery could unlock trillions of barrels of oil.
Factory mass production of emerging nuclear technologies will make nuclear part of the future energy mix
China’s HTR-PM (high temperature pebble bed nuclear reactor) project is squarely aimed at being a cost-effective solution that will virtually eliminate air pollution and CO2 production from selected units of China’s large installed base of modern 600 MWe supercritical coal plants.
It is a deployment program with the first of a kind commercial demonstration approaching construction completion and commercial operation by mid to late 2018. Major parts of the machinery will be able to be merged into the existing infrastructure. The system can affordably replace the coal burner at Chinese plants while still using the grid and other infrastructure.
Molten Salt nuclear reactors continued to make technical progress in 2016 and have the potential to be competitive in a low cost energy future. Supercritical water nuclear reactors are still under development and research and have the potential to be competitive and would align as a next step for China’s many pressure water reactor companies.
Nuclear fusion, antimatter, space based solar and technological long shots still being tracked
Nextbigfuture is still tracking super high technology energy possibilities. They still have to prove their technology or their economics and get solid funding.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.