Talk by Dr Martin Keller, Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA on 'The Road Ahead for Solar, Wind, and Bioenergy Technologies'
Dr Martin Keller, Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA deliberated on 'The Road Ahead for Solar, Wind and Bioenergy Technologies' at TERI on August 22.
Speaking about the immense potential of renewables, Dr Keller said, "We are just at the beginning of innovation in renewables."
"By the year 2030, solar technologies will have to scale up to 10 terawatts (TW) or 50 per cent of the world's electricity generation if they are to make a significant impact," said Dr Keller, speaking about the future of renewables globally.
Work on perovskite has recently brought a lot of hope to the scientific community working on efficient conversion of sunlight to solar energy. Comparing the efficiency of Hybrid Perovskite Solar Cells (HPSC) to the current silicon cells in use, Dr Keller pointed out that HPSCs can be manufactured more than 50 times faster than silicon cells! Similar to newspaper production, HPSC manufacturing can use a roll-to-roll web printing method, he said, adding that considering the same speed as a newspaper line, it would take ~3 years to manufacture 25 terawatts (TW) of 15%-efficient HPSCs vs. ~170 years to manufacture 25 TW of silicon photovoltaics.
"Apart from this, the US wind industry is also striving to supply 20 per cent of the country's electrical demand by 2030, and bioenergy too has a major push to scale up the technology to 60 billion gallons biofuel by the same year," he added in his presentation.
However, the challenges lie in putting it all together in the form of energy systems integration 'at a pace and scale that matters'. "Wind and solar add variability and uncertainty to generation supply, increasing the need for grid flexibility," said Dr Keller, citing the problem of the duck curve. Storage is one of the ways to achieve that, he said.
With researchers putting their minds to the scaling up of renewable energy through various sources and to grid integration, one can hope for decarbonised electricity at the grid level one day.