Energy Management – For a cleaner and efficient world

The installed energy capacity in India stands at 160,000 MW. The demand however is about 110,000 KW. The catch is only 33% of the energy produced ever reaches the destination. Little wonder the amount of power cuts in India are amongst the highest in the world. Even the elite are not spared let alone the poor villagers. Breaking down the installed energy capacity in India further, around 75% of the energy is produced from coal or gas-fired plants, about 21% from water, 4% from nuclear and rest 0.5% from other sources like geo-thermal, wind etc. An inconvenient truth is our reserves of oil and coal will last for another 100 and 150 years respectively before depleting completely.

There is no doubt in the fact that Industrialization which began in Great Britain more than 100 years ago has raised standards of living across the world, but after a century we have realized it has also raised global temperatures by almost 6 degrees. The proportion of carbon dioxide in our planet’s atmosphere has increased by an unprecedented number due to burning of fossil fuels in factories, vehicles and homes which is a cause of concern as we live in a fragile environment where small changes can lead to heavy consequences.

This coupled with several factors like reduction of forest covers; pollution of almost every component of our ecology has forced us today to think of cleaner and sustainable ways of producing energy. And like the past 5000 years, Mankind has found ways to adapt to challenging situations.

Developments in the renewable energy space are changing the way we produce, consume, conserve and utilize energy. Solar, Wind, Hydel, Geo-thermal and nuclear are few examples of alternatives being used to replace oil as our primary source of energy. Thanks to fierce activism by NGO’s, supporting scientific researches helping in awakening  a conscious  in corporate and political entities, This process of change has begun and is encouraging.

For instance, Stanford engineers have developed a process called “photon enhanced thermionic emission,” or PETE which increases the efficiency of solar cells by 50%. By coating solar cells with a semi conducting material and metal cesium the device now utilizes both light and heat to generate electricity. Even thought present efficiency of solar cells is around 20%, an increase to 30% would make it a serious contender to replace oil as an energy source.

In the wind space, windmills are now been constructed in oceans, Mainly in shallow waters with a depth of around 50 meters where the wind speed is adequate and away from human inhabitation. This novel concept is still in its testing stage but theory says the potential is huge.

Energy Management not only includes creating new devices and finding new ways but also fixing the old, a lot of progress has been made in purifying the exhausts from the plants to ensure all harmful gases are treated before being emitted into the ecosystem.

And not just traditional sources, Energy Management scientists are exploring possibilities of generating energies from plants, waste fats even typhoons and hurricanes. The potential is only limited by our thought.

According to the “Renewable Energy Snapshots” report, published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Renewable energy accounts for almost 62% of new installed energy generations capacity in the EU in 2009. This is in congruence with the XII’th 5 Year Plan of India which focuses on increasing energy capacities through renewable sources. If investments continue and energy management is given its due, it is possible that we would see the day where all our energy requirements would be fulfilled by renewable sources. We could be stopping the poisoning of our ecology and ourselves. This technology could bring about greener landscapes, restore our forest covers and pull back many species from the brink of extinction to normalcy and so much more.

The latest Indo-US Nuclear deal is going to boost a lot of cleaner energy adoption; a career in energy management is as lucrative as it can get and one of the top 3 sectors which will witness exponential growth in the next 10 years.

Mayank Solanki

Image Source: []