We are facing a global problem - put simply the way we generate electricity needs to change. Our energy supply is at a tipping point.
Consumer behaviour has changed and yet our energy generation hasn’t moved in tandem. The technology of telephones has evolved from fixed line switchboards to Smart Phones, and yet we still generate the energy to power them in exactly the same way as we did when the national grid was created in 1933.
Failing energy infrastructures combined with changing consumer behaviour, increasingly volatile weather conditions and environmental concerns mean that we need a new energy solution that is more affordable, dependable and cleaner than traditional alternatives.
Meeting Our Energy Needs
Global energy demand is set to grow by 30% by 20403. The challenge facing the world is to meet rising energy demand whilst moving to an affordable, low carbon economy. This can only be achieved by a shift to new and improved technology in sectors such as stationary power for homes and business.
Stability and Cost
Energy supplies are becoming increasingly unstable and the cost of energy is set to continue rising.
In the United States grid outages resulting from unreliable power supplies cost the economy US$150bn in 20134. In Europe a move away from nuclear and an increase in renewables has also given rise to grid stability issues.
In the UK 20% of our coal generation is to be decommissioned by 2020 and the cost to replace this will be £150 billion. This cost will inevitably be passed onto consumers and businesses through rising fuel bills.
Natural gas use will grow to become 25% of the global energy mix as the US heads toward energy independence based on newly accessed gas reserves (ref: IEA World Energy Outlook). The leading economies of Japan and Korea import 97% of their energy in the form of LNG and are already pioneering fuel cell technologies as a way to reduce their overall energy bills and cut their carbon footprint.
Fuel cell technology is widely recognized as the most efficient way to generate power from natural gas as part of a distributed generation solution that can utilize and support our existing infrastructure. By further developing fuel cell technology, a trend which is already well underway in Asia and USA, we can reduce our fuel consumption, save up to 25% on our carbon footprint compared to centralisation generation and secure power supplies.
3. IEA World Energy Outlook 2015
4. Fuel Cell Annual Review 2014, 4th Energy Wave