A “Non-Conventional” Power Shift
Conventional sources of energy have served our needs for a long time. Various devices have been invented to extract conventional energy. Steam Engines, Diesel Engines, and Petrol Engines are some very popular devices used over the globe for the conversion of conventional fuel sources to usable energy. While these fuels are being used since ancient times, they also release pollutants as by-products. Global warming, the Greenhouse effect, and Smog formation are some of the consequences that happen due to the emission of these pollutants from the combustion of fuels. The situation has deteriorated to alarming levels in most parts of the globe. Consequently, with a strong need of finding some alternative sources of energy, the world is looking towards non-conventional sources of energy.
Steam Engine Petrol Engine Diesel Engine
Some of the popular non-conventional sources of energy are Wind energy, Solar energy, Geothermal energy, and Hydro energy. The most significant advantage of using these sources of energy is that they have almost negligible by-products that are harmful to the environment. Initially, the processes adopted for the extraction of energy from these sources were not satisfactorily efficient but even then, by the end of 2016, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 2,006 GW which is huge progress. Wind and solar energy accounted for most of the capacity with capacities of 467 GW and 296 GW respectively. Renewable generation capacity increased by 161 GW or +8.7% during 2016, continuing the trend since 2009 of about 8-9% annual capacity growth. Solar energy took first place, with a capacity increase of 71 GW (+32%), followed by wind energy with an increase of 51 GW (+12%). Hydropower and bioenergy capacities increased by 30 GW (+3%) and 9 GW (+9%) respectively. Geothermal energy increased by just under 1 GW. Renewable capacity expansion continues to be driven mostly by new installations of solar and wind energy.
With such advancement in non-conventional energy, some companies like Tesla, Inc. have implemented the use of electric power in the automobile sector to overcome the polluting effects of present fossil fuels based technologies. With the support of the government from various nations, we are witnessing a global shift from the use of conventional to non-conventional sources of energy. Projects like SolarCity and Gigafactory are already in making. With such advancements and neck to neck competition, getting innovations in the field patented is a key to sustain leadership and competitive advantage. With the increased popularity of solar energy, various technologies (like Automated Solar Panel Cleaner, Solar Intensity Retainer, Efficient Storage Devices) have been invented. A large increase in patent applications related to non-conventional sources of energy is an indicator of the extent of inventions taking place in this sector. Yet a lot still remains to be done. While a vision of removing conventional vehicles and introducing non-conventional energy-based (particularly electric) vehicles as substitutes has strongly taken hold globally, we are yet to witness some fantastic ideas and innovations that may have the potential to completely transform the automobile industry.
Gigafactory-Tesla, Inc. SolarCity