GRAND OPPORTUNITIES IN
New Technology for Water Recycling and Desalinisation
From increase in population that resides in coastal areas to changes in climate that reduce or redistribute water, straining existing resources, water scarcity is poised to become a significant issue in many regions of the world over the next decade. New technologies may provide solutions that can address this issue. For example, new, energy efficient and affordable desalinisation processes will enable water-scarce areas near the ocean to obtain new sources of fresh water. In other areas, innovative “water reuse” systems are proving capable of cleaning wastewater so it can be made as safe as fresh water and reused, rather being discharged as partially treated wastewater.
The DigitaliSation of the Water Utility
A variety of digital technologies are creating new opportunities that will allow water utilities to better manage their equipment and networks. From electronically controlled equipment (such as valves and pumps) that will allow them to monitor and optimise their network, to sensors that can provide detailed information on quality and characteristics of the water flowing through their pipes, the digitalisation of water infrastructure offers a range of potential benefits that include improvements in the water system’s reliability and enhancements in the efficiency of its response to changing demand. Over the long-term the integration of archives of real-time sensor data could be used with machine learning to develop with a detailed digital model of a utility’s water network, creating a digital twin that can be used to simulate the impacts of proposed changes, improvements, and expansions to the utility’s network before they are made.
GRAND OPPORTUNITIES IN
electricity & gas
Smart Sensing Framework to Improve Energy Distribution and Maintenance
Electric utilities are charged with managing complex networks of transmission lines, substations, and commercial and residential connections. In practice, many utilities still lack effective ways to monitor this complexity, relying on relatively crude measures to evaluate the health of the grid. New, connected technologies are providing utilities with more effective ways to monitor their transmission and distribution assets. Sensors will create a variety of new opportunities for monitoring and maintenance solutions. For example, connected sensors placed on power lines will allow utilities to identify the source of transmission failures more quickly. Additionally, as data from such sensors accumulates in the utility’s database, it can be analysed using machine learning techniques, developing models that may predict potential equipment failures in advance, allowing maintenance to be performed pre-emptively and avoiding outages. Such models may also precisely identify areas of the grid that may require additional infrastructure to improve reliability.
GRAND OPPORTUNITIES IN
Improving Plastics Recycling
Issues related to recycling are of increasing concern to consumers, major corporate users, and producers of plastics. A small amount of recyclable plastics are actually recycled at present, often due to the limitations of current recycling technologies. However, this situation is poised to change as new technologies may enable more effective processing techniques. Improved mechanical recycling systems, leveraging the latest advances in robotics and computer vision could provide significant improvements in the sorting of mixed plastic waste, saving many types of recyclable plastic materials that would otherwise be discarded. Chemical recycling could also reduce the need for sorting by quickly converting mixed types of plastic waste into different materials that are more easily recycled.
Transforming Waste into Energy with Anaerobic Digestion
Waste managers are also looking towards new technologies to not only dispose of waste products, but provide valuable benefits in the process. One promising approach involves anaerobic digestion of biodegradable wastes, which at the end of the process produces “biogases”, such as methane. These biogases can then be burned to provide power and heat, or stored and used as a renewable alternative to natural gas in a variety of roles.
FEATURED CASE STUDY
Utilities: Electricity & Gas
We assisted an industrial solutions client in evaluating an innovative HVAC system. CamIn evaluated the HVAC system’s pre-prototype technology, benchmarked its performance against competing technologies, developed plans for the system’s commercialisation, determined the best geographic regions to target, and identified suitable manufacturing partners. The guidance that we provided enabled our client to pursue the commercialisation of this new technology in the global HVAC market, which is expected to be worth more than US$100 billion by 2025...
FEATURED GRAND CHALLENGE
Grid inStability and cyberSecurity threats
The world’s energy distribution infrastructure is aging, and is under increasing pressure due to significant changes in the way that energy is being produced and consumed. The conventional producer/consumer relationship is also evolving, as many electric grids now include a growing number of small-scale communal renewable energy generators, as well as new domestic “behind-the-meter” forms of energy generation and energy storage installations. Consumers have become both producers and consumers of electricity, or “Prosumers”, and the conventional client-customer relationship is bound to change further, as peer-to-peer electricity trading and virtual power plants grow in popularity. Electric utilities and energy generators must change their business models to take advantage of these new developments or risk losing customers to early movers.
The nature of large, grid-scale energy production has also changed. The dependence of the distributed renewable energy resources (DREs) on favourable weather conditions makes planning more challenging, as both production and demand must be accurately predicted to prevent disruptions. As a result, investments in “smart grid” technologies have become vital and use of these technologies is growing. This digitalisation of the grid offers many new opportunities, but has also led to an increased threat of cyber-attacks on the grid. Companies must invest in innovative technologies now to respond to the emerging changes in energy production, distribution, and consumption. Doing so will allow them to effectively mitigate potential risks and take advantage of valuable opportunities.
Add-on components can be used to improve the efficiency of solar cells by installing an additional element onto a solar cell. In this paper, we discuss the merits and flaws of various types of add-on components that have recently emerged, including multijunction solar cells, perovskite solar cells, microtextured solar cells, solar concentrators, and 3D printed optics layers. We conclude that 3D printed optics components represent the most promising candidate for widespread implementation, due to ease and flexibility of the technology in terms of design, manufacturing, and installation...