Advances in technology are the world’s best bet for meeting increasing energy demands while also protecting the environment. The energy industry is making great strides in how energy sources are extracted, created and used—always with the aim of using less to do more. As the world’s population grows and less developed parts of the globe become more technologically advanced, the energy industry’s commitment to new technology will make it possible for more and more people to have access to the electricity they need while keeping the environment safe and healthy.
High-temperature superconducting cables can help reduce power loss
Technology is also being used to update the world’s energy grids. According to a US Department of Energy report, the country’s energy grid loses about 10% of all electricity generated before it can get to consumers. More efficient high-temperature superconducting (HTS) cables are being developed to reduce the amount of electricity lost and expand power grids’ capabilities. According to the DOE, HTS cables may be safer and more environmentally sound than traditional cables; HTS uses liquid nitrogen as a coolant instead of the dielectric oil used in many conventional high-voltage cables. These cables are being used around the world, with success in the US, China and Korea, among other countries. The technologically advanced cables are currently more expensive than traditional copper cables, but experts say the cost will go down as more HTS projects are put into use. By improving the efficiency of moving electricity over long distances, less total energy will be needed to power everything we use. Accordingly, scientists and engineers are working to streamline the electricity grid, modernizing transmission cables with new materials that allow electrons to move more easily, producing less waste.
Possible future solution for efficiently transmitting and storing energy
Nanotechnology creates and manipulates matter at the molecular level that makes it possible to create materials with improved properties, such as being both lightweight and having ultrahigh strength, and greater capabilities such as in electrical and heat conductivity. Many applications are possible for the energy industry. The oil industry already uses nanoscale catalysts for refining petroleum. Nanoparticles with unique catalytic capabilities are being researched to more effectively and efficiently refine thick, gooey oil sands into highly refined oil.
Nanotechnology may be a promising solution for the transmission and storage of energy, particularly electrical power and hydrogen. Nano-based materials may create new opportunities to transport electricity efficiently and at lower cost over very long distances.