New Ways to Get Electricity

New Ways to Get Electricity

Innovation

Electric car use will substantially improve the air quality in cities. For this to apply beyond cities, coal-fired power plants should not be heavily involved in the production of the electricity required for electric car batteries. Experts are earnestly seeking new sustainable sources to supplement hydro, solar and wind power plants. What are their latest ideas?

6. 8. 2019

Most current forecasts and studies agree that, especially in countries with a higher share of renewables, advances in electromobility could see electricity supply fluctuate. That is why it is important to come up with a solution, as quickly as possible, for the large-scale storage of electricity from renewable sources and to find a way of backing them up with other low-emission sources when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. At present, this job is primarily in the hands of nuclear power plants. This is perhaps why the European Commission, in its latest documents, is projecting that, in 2050, the European energy mix will consist of 80% energy from renewable sources and the remaining 20% from nuclear power plants.

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DID YOU KNOW THAT...?

...ŠKODA is successfully working to reduce its production-generated CO2 emissions through energy-saving measures and by buying and producing energy from renewable resources? The company’s 2018 annual report shows that, last year, more than 58% of the electricity that ŠKODA used in its operations was from renewable resources. The average energy consumption per car has decreased by 36% since 2010.

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NORDIC TRAILBLAZERS

The most successful country in terms of producing energy from renewable resources is Sweden: The country covers more than half (54.5%) of its overall consumption through renewable resources (in the Czech Republic, the figure is about 15%) and is increasingly relying on wind farms. Sweden’s inspiration has been Denmark, the European country where wind farms account for the biggest share of total energy production. Germany is fourth, behind Ireland and Portugal, while the Czech Republic is 14th, just ahead of Hungary.

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HORNSEA ONE
THE WORLD’S BIGGEST WIND FARM

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Location: North Sea, about 120 km from the Yorkshire coast (UK)
Size: nearly 410 km2
Turbines: 174; output in megawatts: 1,200
Turbine height: 65 metres
Owner has announced plans to install turbines four to five times taller – around the same height as the Shard in London – in the North Sea.
Owner: DONG Energy (Denmark-based company)

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UNDERWATER GREAT WALL OF CHINA

China is trying to harness tidal energy in a move that, though new, symbolically picks up on the country’s history. It is considering building a huge hydroelectric power plant in the form of a 30-km ocean-front underwater wall fitted with turbines. Preliminary calculations suggest that the flowing seawater could produce energy almost on a scale to that generated by three nuclear reactors.

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URINE ENERGY

The ability of bacteria to convert organic substances such as human or animal urine into electrical energy is being explored by researchers at the University of Bath in the UK. The key benefits of the new cells that they have developed using this principle include low-cost production and spatial efficiency. Experts call them microbial fuel cells (MFC) and say that MFCs could be used as “mini power plants” connected to home toilets to produce energy for homes, including for electric car charging.

This article was originally published in the ŠKODA Mobil supplement Drive into the Futuree.

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