Tomorrow's power generation mix

A significant amount of current scientific research at universities globally is now focused on the field of alternative energy; ranging from semiconductor physics for solar photovoltaics, to bioengineering of locust stomach bacteria for cellulosic biofuels.

Each of these technologies could be the subject of an evening’s debate, but an equally interesting question is how the current and expected future technologies can feasibly be combined to displace fossil fuels from the energy mix.

How much wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydropower etc are feasible? The answer will clearly vary by location, and with the ongoing development path of each technology. Principles of how to combine different types of power generation source are common across diverse regions, however.

Each power generation, transportation fuel and energy storage technology is likely to face resource limitations, and a variety will need to be used in combination to significantly displace conventional energy from the grid.

Constraints in grid stability (whether the main grid, or small scale isolated grids) from the intermittent power generation of wind and solar is one central challenge, where newly developing energy storage technologies will play a role.

The talk will outline a range of key technologies and issues, based on Phil Napier-Moore’s experience as an engineer working on a range of these project types, and open the floor to how the power generation mix will look in the future, in Thailand or elsewhere.

Phil Napier-Moore leads Mott MacDonald’s technical consulting work in renewable power generation for South-East Asia. He has managed and directed projects for a range of multilateral agencies, national governments and a large number of private companies, working internationally on low-carbon power projects in 20 countries around the world, in particular within Asia and Europe. He is a Chartered Energy Engineer and obtained his first class Masters of Engineering degree from Oxford University.

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  • Andrew

    @Andreas. Your idea reminds me of the Energy Star rating system that shows the energy efficiency of household appliance.
    @Jan/Marian. There are demands from consumer who are interested in alternative energy car (e.g. the popularity of the hybrid), but there are still issues with technology (e.g. battery) and economy of scale that need to be overcome. Most consumer will not want to (or can not afford to) pay too high a premium for being environmental friendly.

    June 9, 2012

  • Andreas

    @jan That comment is spot on. Consumer adoption is a major factor in the race to clean-up our act. Got me thinking about a project of mine dating back to 2008 entitled The Progressive Fuel-Economy Standard. I was young and naive; thinking I could save the world. Still, I think the general idea is sound and so I uploaded an outline in the Files section. Have a look and tell me what you think. Interested to get your opinion.

    June 8, 2012

  • Marian Y.

    Perhaps the intention is to offer 'alternative' energy which will encourage the Auto Industry to continue to produce cars that depend less on gasoline. Choices is good.

    June 8, 2012

  • Andreas

    @mishari Add a reference to quantum mechanics and we've got a winner ;-) Seriously though, could this CESS World product actually be legit? It's beyond my pay grade but I have a hard time seeing how plugging-in a device to your electrical socket would help you save energy.

    June 8, 2012

  • Jane

    Alternative-fuel pumps: Propel Fuels opened the country’s (U.S.) first station where drivers can pump gasoline, ethanol, and biodiesel, cyclists can get tune-ups, and commuters can find public transit schedules.

    June 7, 2012

  • Krib S.

    Thanks Andreas.

    June 6, 2012

  • Mishari M.

    Just saw this in The Nation about an "Energy Saving Device", I checked out the website and it's good for a few laughs imo with gems such as "Strong compensation of light wave realizes power saving more than 10% by activating electric energy, which is transformed by several electric loss factors cause damage to electric system, into its own condition" looks like we need to invite those guys down to BKKSci :)

    June 3, 2012

  • Andreas

    Krib. Had a chat with Phil and he was more than happy to share the material he used during the talk. I've made a PDF version of the PPT available here:

    June 1, 2012

  • Krib S.

    Would have loved to have attended. Hopefully I'll be able to next time around. Does anyone have the presentation slides or a video of the discussions. Really wanna catch up since my expertise is in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Thank you!

    May 31, 2012

  • Linus G.

    Although some minor technical matters occurred I felt the presentation was good. Perhaps the speech lacked a little depth. The discussion afterwards was interesting and I was impressed the contenders where so knowledgeable within the subject.

    May 31, 2012

  • SoMa S.

    Right now, they are having the opening ceremony for the new hydroelectric power plant in Thailand. You can watch it on the Thai tv Ch.9 right now if you are interested : )

    May 31, 2012

  • Jane

    Good discussion last night. You brought up fracking, a technology that contributes substantially to world energy supplies – mainly gas and oil in the near future. Fracking technology has been around for decades but was not economical. What has changed is that horizontal drilling has dramatically improved plus the rising price of oil and gas made it worthwhile to tap into the shale formation. As a result, gas price in the U.S. is at decade low. It'll be challenging for alternative energy.

    May 31, 2012

  • Jane

    Very interactive. Good place to meet people.

    May 31, 2012

  • Andreas

    Great event. Thanks everybody who attended. A fellow attendee mentioned a relevant TED video during the discussion following Phil's talk. I thought I'd share it with you.

    Reinventing the battery, Donald Sadoway

    Thank you Linus for bringing it to our attention.

    Cheers, /Andreas

    1 · May 31, 2012

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