Editorial – Rising to the challenge

 March 25, 2015

The world currently faces existential twin threats from global warming and over-population.

Cheap and readily-usable forms of energy are also in limited supply, impacting on the world’s ability to create wealth and improve the lives of billions of people who still live in extreme poverty.

Access to clean, secure, and affordable energy for all is one of the central challenges of our age, and the need to innovate in this area has never been greater.

Fortunately, the energy industry is rising to this challenge in ever more interesting and creative ways, engendering a fundamental change in the way we perceive, generate and use energy.

For example, the use of distributed generation and energy storage technologies is increasingly making “variable output” renewable energies such as wind and solar a more commercially viable alternative compared with more traditional sources.

Technologies based on advanced materials sciences such as fuel cells and solar photovoltaics are also rapidly evolving into usable and affordable alternatives to conventional fossil and nuclear fuels.

There have been rapid technological advances in the extraction and use of conventional fuels, such as the shale gas boom in the USA, the worldwide potential for generating energy from subsea methane hydrate deposits, or the ever increasing efficiency of turbines.

Nuclear power, too, is evolving with technologies such as a thorium fuel cycle which offers improved safety and waste management characteristics.

And on the horizon are new technologies such as space-based solar and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) as well as new network control and management systems such as DC micro-grids that could radically transform the sector by resolving the intermittency issue of renewables, and leading to wider use of cheaper, cleaner energy.

Welcome to ii Energy. Our aim is to identify, explain and analyse the most significant trends and developments in energy technology globally that will shape future energy markets, drive changes in the world economy and – ultimately – improve the way people live their lives.

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