Innovative technologies with power to change the world

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Innovative technologies with power to change the world


Yoon Sang-jick, minister of trade, industry and energy, and 23 energy ministers across the world convened at the Grand Hyatt Seoul in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, yesterday. Provided by the ministry

Energy ministers from around the world have agreed on 10 breakthrough clean technologies they believe will change the energy industry.

The technologies were announced yesterday at the 5th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting, an annual gathering hosted by energy ministers from 23 countries that consume 70 percent of the world’s energy, and Saudi Arabia as an observing country. The meeting in Seoul ends today.

“The Korean government will actively apply these selected technologies that were discussed in this meeting to the nation’s energy technology policies,” said Yoon Sang-jick, minister of trade, industry and energy, yesterday. “These are technologies that address Korea’s changing energy supply structure.”

Many technologies, handpicked by the 23 member countries, overlap the ministry’s energy technology road map unveiled in April, and reflect Korea’s recent power supply trend.

Sources of power are being decentralized, whereas central generation facilities supplied energy throughout the system in the past.

Information and communications technologies such as Internet of Things technology are being integrated into conventional energy generation systems. As sources of energy generation are limited, energy efficiency is emphasized more than ever before.

One technology identified by the ministers is a Big Data-based energy supply management system that involves IoT technology, with devices automatically connected to each other to keep track of behavior histories for each resident or worker inside the building. It can be implemented in residential housing, as well as commercial buildings and factories. In the case of factories, the automated system predicts energy demand in advance by analyzing the entire manufacturing cycle. The technology not only prevents waste, but expands the energy management industry, which was estimated to be about 308 billion won ($301 million) last year.

The microgrid system, which connects independent generators on a network through multi-way power distribution technology, also was cited. The technology connects and combines multiple independent generators, who usually use renewable sources, to enable each region to sustain its own energy supply system. This helps stabilize energy supplies and reduces power distribution costs.

High voltage direct current (HVDC) technology was picked to prepare for possible construction of a supergrid system across Northeastern Asia. Korea, China, Japan and Russia expressed their interest at the World Energy Congress last year.

As the system enables sharing of renewable energy produced in each country, the HVDC technology transfers high-voltage AC electricity to lighter DC making transportation and management of the power throughout the supergrid system a lot easier.

Korea Electric Power Corporation is working to develop the HVDC technology by 2021, while estimating the energy market to be as large as 75 trillion won ($73.2 billion).

Regarding energy storage, new technologies to curb peak load problems, which raise energy demand due to the overlapping of peaks, and to develop small-scale compressed air energy storage units for urban areas also were chosen.

Another technology introduced was the thermal energy storage system, which stores industrial waste heat, ground heat and solar heat without converting it into other kinds of energy. Such heat storage facilities are expected to open in each building and underground to prevent greenhouse gas emissions.

The Korean ESS market was 83 billion won last year, according to the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning. The world market is expected to grow as large as 60 trillion won by 2020.

Various technologies to advance production efficiency of existing renewable energy were introduced.

The meeting also picked fossil fuel manufacturing technologies for transportation from sources like non-food biomass and low-quality crude oil. Whereas many countries so far introduced biofuel for aircraft, mostly extracted from used cooking oil and vegetable oil, the technology aims to be compatible with a wider range of natural resources as a source of biomass.

Some carbon dioxide recycling technologies were picked that cut costs in carbon dioxide storage facilities. After collecting emitted carbon dioxide from traditional power plants, the technology converts it into chemicals, plastic and biofuels.


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