With fossil fuel demand expected to peak near the end of the decade and renewable energy deployment expected to accelerate, what are the leading energy technologies to watch as we move to 2022?

The renewable energy market is transforming because of lower prices and rising demand for greener energy sources. 

Renewable energy’s advent has reshaped global markets, and change fueled by renewables is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. 

Even a few years ago, few could have predicted this, the enormity of new technologies developed to assist countries in beginning the process of decarbonizing their economies or that household names like Google would invest significant sums in solar energy projects.

Some of these shifts have been gradual, while others have been abrupt. Others are only getting started, and their significance isn’t publicly recognized.

Strong market trends are driving the energy shift forward despite the current lockdowns. 

While there may have been some reduction in energy usage during the outbreak, electricity demand will rebound this year, according to Filippo Gaddo, head of energy economics at Arup. 

Renewable energy will account for a growing share of this. The ecosystem and atmosphere are getting harmed by fossil fuels. 

Renewable energy sources are becoming more popular. So here are 10 Technological Innovations on renewable energy you should watch in 2022.

1. Artificial Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis | Image Credit – Love To Know

The globe is doing everything to utilize most of the available renewable energy resources

Photovoltaic cells are already used to capture sun and wind energy. Biofuels such as ethanol and methanol, on the other hand, show promise as ecologically valuable, long-term energy sources.

What if humans have the unrivaled ability to generate their energy directly from the sun? 

Chem Catalysis, a publication, released a study on the subject, claiming that the human race is on the edge of becoming a reality.

The gathering and storing of energy from sunlight is known as artificial photosynthesis. 

Scientists are also looking at how water may be transformed into hydrogen and oxygen, thereby lowering carbon dioxide levels in the environment.

2. Solar Powered Trains

New Delhi: Solar Powered Environment friendly DEMU trains
New Delhi: Solar Powered Environment friendly DEMU trains | Image Credit – The Borgen Project

The current global environmental crisis has prompted all sectors to reduce emissions and limit climate change.

In this respect, the railway business has a reasonably good starting point, generating just a tiny percentage of world emissions while also being one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation available.

Countless projects worldwide are already demonstrating that carbon-free alternatives exist and are just as efficient, with ideas ranging from hydrogen trains to network electrifications gaining ground.

Byron Bay designed and built a solar-powered train that runs entirely on renewable energy. The train has 100 seats and travels 3 kilometers. 

This technology is expected to be advantageous in cities with tram systems, especially as transportation is responsible for some of the highest levels of greenhouse emissions in many nations.

3. Solar Roof Tiles

Solar Roof Tiles
Solar Roof Tiles

Previously, existing solar panels required mounting structures and took up space that could not be used for anything else when put on the roof. 

Furthermore, the owner is responsible for the roof and the solar plant. Solar roofs are multi-purpose roofs that combine roofing elements with solar cells. 

We can use flat tiles with embedded solar cells or shingles for solar roofing.

Solar roofs that are strong and long-lasting can save money during installation and roof upgrades, resulting in lower electricity bills.

4. Carbon Nanotube Electricity

An illustration of aligned metallic carbon nanotubes in the team’s thermoelectric device
An illustration of aligned metallic carbon nanotubes in the team’s thermoelectric device | Image Credit – Sci Tech Daily

By scavenging energy from its surroundings, a novel material consisting of carbon nanotubes can create power. 

MIT engineers have invented a new way to generate electricity based on microscopic carbon particles that can cause a current by reacting with the liquid around them.

Carbon nanotubes are single sheet molecules made up of rolled-up carbon atoms. 

These can create power and be used instead of other energy sources in small electrical gadgets.

5. 3D Printed Solar Energy Trees

Solar power from energy-harvesting trees | Image Credit – VTT

 How can we protect nature in this situation? Thanks to solar and 3D printing technology advances, researchers at Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre may have found the answer. 

They’ve created some pretty attractive prototypes of “energy collecting trees,” as they term them. 

Solar energy is generated and stored by tiny leaves, which can power small appliances and mobile devices. 

They thrive indoors and out, and they can harvest kinetic energy from wind and temperature variations in the environment.

Wooden stems with solar panel leaves make up 3D printed solar energy trees. Most countries still burn wood; thus, these were invented to replace wood with sunlight as an energy source. 

These are made to look like trees and can be used in gardens and natural settings. Solar energy trees can also be used to collect heat energy.

6. Waste powered planes

Ditching Kerosene | Image Credit – Wired

Planes are often powered by fossil fuels, which are limited in supply and have a detrimental environmental impact. 

Fuels generated from waste, such as wood and household trash, are reacted with catalytic chemicals to power these waste-powered planes.

7. Lithium-glass Batteries

Prof. John Goodenough with the new glass battery
Prof. John Goodenough with the new glass battery | Image Credit – Uchicago.edu

The electrolyte material, a highly conductive glass produced from lithium hydroxide and lithium chloride and doped with barium, give the battery its name. 

This material permits the battery to be charged quickly without forming metal dendrites. 

During discharge, the battery works by removing alkali metal from the anode and depositing it at the cathode.

The most current advancement is this invention in solid-state batteries and a probable blueprint for energy storage in the future.

8. Electric Tires

What makes EV tires different | Video Credit – Tyre Reviews

Goodyear is working on a novel concept called electric tires, which charge while in use. They’d be propelled by the friction heat generated by the road’s tires. 

When these tires aren’t moving, they may still be charging. As fantastic as electric vehicles are, their incredible range remains a limitation. 

Regenerative braking comes in handy, as it captures energy that would otherwise be lost as heat and restores it to the battery. 

Engineers have also studied various extracting power from shock absorber rebound and compression. Goodyear sees a chance to get some extra energy from the tires.

9. Liquid Sunlight

Liquid Sunlight
Image credit – acs.org

The term “liquid sunlight” now refers to a green fuel produced using a mechanism similar to natural photosynthesis. 

The method for making this fuel is based on transforming light, water, and carbon dioxide to methane using compatible inorganic and biological components.

Solar power is used to convert liquid sunlight into a fuel source. Scientists have been exploited this liquid as a long-term energy source by incorporating it into artificial photosynthesis.

10. Tidal Energy

Tidal Energy
Tidal Energy | Image Credit – Economic Times

Over two-thirds of our planet’s surface is covered by oceans. The oceans’ energy, which manifests itself in waves and tides, has enormous potential. 

The total power generated by these sources is projected to be 3000 GW. New technology and projects offer a considerable possibility for renewable energy development in numerous countries.

Tidal energy, like solar energy, is a reliable source of energy. Scientists have previously struggled to take advantage of this because of the location, as it is difficult to transmit energy from the ocean to land. 

Tidal energy can now be used as a direct source of electricity, potentially powering up to 20% of the UK.

Conclusion 

The three most famous clean energy technological success stories are solar energy, wind energy, and battery energy storage. 

Cheaper batteries fuel increased sales of electric vehicles and a building boom of grid-scale electricity storage projects. 

Energy from solar and wind farms is now routinely offered at prices below electricity from fossil-fueled plants. 

If new solar, wind, and storage technologies are “locked out,” global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions may fall far short of what is required to avert the worst effects of climate change.

(Last Updated on March 28, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Rishu Shakya, a bachelor’s degree graduate in Business Information Management, holds an extraordinary empathy towards mother nature and her ecosystem. She has always been captivated by green Earth and its charm. She regards spreading awareness about clean energy and sustainable development as her passion as well as responsibility. She believes her compassion about the Earth and human relationships will undoubtedly assist our planet to be a better place.