SOLAR WASTE TO ENERGY (SW2E)
The world depends heavily on fossil fuels as the main source of energy for production of electrical energy and desalted water in domestic and industrial sectors. This has a negative impact on the Global Environment and Economy resulting in high CO2 emissions with real threats on sustaining life on the earth. As economies and populations are rapidly growing, all nations face unique challenges related to finding reliable and cost effective alternatives for sustainable supply of energy and water while reducing carbon emissions. The COP21 Conference held in Paris on November 30 through December 11, 2015 has set ambitious targets through the legally universal agreement that was discussed aiming to keep Global Warming below 2°C and thus not risking catastrophic changes to food production, sea levels, fishing, wildlife, deserts, water reserves and other ecological systems.
This agreement can be considered as the first step on the road towards a better climate to save the planet and assure a safe future for existing and future generations. Obviously there is a fundamental need to accelerate deployment of sustainable technologies for energy, water and food production to overcome the respective security challenges in all countries. Moreover, beside the climate change, the depletion of fossil fuel sources is an increasing concern that motivates all nations to pursue renewable energy sources.
Electricity generation through solar energy, especially in MENA region and sunny parts of the world, has been identified as one of the most promising options to supply renewable energy for different applications. However, energy production from renewable sources is mainly characterized by strong fluctuating supply patterns, which limits the expansion of large capacity of renewable sources over short time. Due to transient and dynamic nature of solar energy, energy storage systems or hybrid solutions that enable stabilized electricity supply and shifting supply to meet demand play a key role in renewable energy systems to guarantee firm capacity on demand and smooth operation of the grid. Solar PV systems are known to vary by 10 – 15% due to hourly solar variations over daytime while the impact due to cloud cover can cause up to 60% of energy output drop within few minutes. This creates great uncertainty for the system operator and major challenges for integration of such variable sources with the grid. As a result, large scale energy storage and hybrid systems emerge as an imperative solution to overcome the dynamic nature of energy supply and demand.
Large scale storage relying solely on batteries, which is the available technology, is not an optimum solution for such huge capacity and is very costly especially for shifting supply to meet loads. Batteries present some sever limitations: additional investment costs, maintenance and extra costs due to periodic replacement induced by their short lifetime. Storage in batteries is still relatively expensive for large scale grid-connected applications, for the short term batteries can be used for voltage and frequency regulation at some nodes of the grid together with large scale energy storage technologies at generation plants.
The pumped storage hydropower (PSH); the most technically efficient and dominating large scale electrical energy storage technology (>95% of global capacity), is the only commercially proven technology available for grid-scale energy storage. However, it requires a certain topography that provides a head (potential) between elevated locations such as hills or mountains and depressions. As the land topology in promising sites for solar power plants is almost flat, this fundamental condition is not satisfied, which leads to exclusion of this technology.
Obviously world’s renewable energy capacity growth targets require practical and affordable solutions for grid stabilization to be efficiently, effectively, and safely deployed and operated. Therefore, meeting the future demand for energy and water in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way is one of the biggest challenges facing the world for accelerated deployment of renewables in short and long terms. As those challenges imposed by increasing climate change incidents, which are happening in many parts of the world, are uniquely demanding, cost effective and reliable models need to be developed in a short time. Therefore, hybrid solutions may provide the quickest solution until effective energy solutions are developed.
The IEU has developed an innovative system, which is a totally new concept for integration of solid waste reactors with hybrid Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) solar power generation, and concentrated solar thermal (CST) collectors to maintain a sustainable and continuous supply of energy and fresh water inexpensively and almost free of carbon for all sunny parts of the world.
The innovative integrated system introduces a hybrid system of solar and Waste to Energy to provide a sustainable and profitable solution as an alternative to expensive energy storage methods. The system enables continous, cost-efficient and sustainable power production, without energy storage or with the absolute minimum capacity of energy storage. Very interestingly, the new SW2E system has a major advanced step further over existing solar and waste to energy systems, where hydrogen in combination with solid waste has been converted into clean oil, clean gas, and fertilizers. This means that the storage is less costly and less sophisticated while standard turbines and power cycles can be used for power generation. Moreover the energetic efficiency is much higher and footprint is much less. Furthermore, this patentable technology is under filing and ready for deployment on a full commercial scale.
On the project development side, the IEU has developed a complete model, which optimizes the economic factors that have created severe barriers in the past. With the IEU business model and SW2E technology, round-the-clock solar and waste to energy are economically viable and technically reliable in most countries of the world.