Visualizing The Global Transition to Green Energy
A fully green future could be closer than you think. With each passing year, the steadily declining price of renewable energy makes it increasingly competitive against fossil fuels.
Today’s infographic from Raconteur breaks down the material shift towards renewable energy, and where in the world it’s taking place.
Time to go green
A recent United Nations report estimates that renewables must make up 70% to 85% of electricity by 2050 to combat the dire effects of climate change.
The good news? Embracing renewable energy is becoming easier on the wallet. Most renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper and quicker to produce, and it’s speeding up widespread adoption.
|Cost of electricity per energy source ($ per KWh)||2010||2017|
|Concentrating solar power||$0.33||$0.22|
The price of solar photovoltaic cells are projected to dip dramatically over this seven-year period, as solar panel infrastructure moves away from being an experimental technology, and into a trusted energy source easily replicated at scale. Solar also received the most new investment by energy type in 2017, up 18% from the previous year.
Of course, it won’t happen overnight. Even as the world continues to electrify, coal will still make up almost one-third of the world’s energy mix in 2040, while renewables will only be at 25%.
Nevertheless, concentrated efforts to curb our reliance on coal are signals that the fossil fuel is on its way out, and new investment in green energy sources is on the rise in most regions.
The Renewables Race
It’s perhaps not surprising that China is leading the change in renewable growth. The nation tops the list of spenders, spending more on green energy than the United States and Europe combined.
|New Investment by Region||2016 ($ billion)||2017 ($ billion)||% Change|
|Other Asia and Oceania||$35.7||$31.4||-12%|
|Middle East & Africa||$9||$10.1||11%|
In places where a consistent and reliable source of energy is hard to come by, people are looking to clean energy as a way to leapfrog ahead of using the carbon-intensive electricity grid entirely.
Take Ethiopia for example: the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project along the Nile River will help meet the area’s rising energy demands. Once completed, it will be the largest dam on the continent and generate around 6,450 MW of power.
This trifecta of innovation, investment, and falling costs could be the answer to bolstering renewable energy infrastructure for decades to come – and it will be interesting to see the ultimate pace at which green energy supply comes online, and what that means for the world.
Visualized: Inside a Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium-ion batteries are critical for many modern technologies, from smartphones to smart cities. Here’s how this critical technology works.
What’s Inside a Lithium-Ion Battery?
Winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2019, the lithium-ion battery has become ubiquitous and today powers nearly everything, from smartphones to electric vehicles.
In this graphic, we partnered with EnergyX to find out how these important pieces of technology work.
Lithium-ion batteries have different standards in various regions, namely NMC/NMCA in Europe and North America and LFP in China. The former has a higher energy density, while the latter has a lower cost.
Here is the average mineral composition of a lithium-ion battery, after taking account those two main cathode types:
|Material||% of Construction|
The percentage of lithium found in a battery is expressed as the percentage of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) the battery contains. On average, that is equal to 1g of lithium metal for every 5.17g of LCE.
How Do They Work?
Lithium-ion batteries work by collecting current and feeding it into the battery during charging. Normally, a graphite anode attracts lithium ions and holds them as a charge. But interestingly, recent research shows that battery energy density can nearly double when replacing graphite with a thin layer of pure lithium.
When discharging, the cathode attracts the stored lithium ions and funnels them to another current collector. The circuit can react as both the anode and cathode are prevented from touching and are suspended in a medium that allows the ions to flow easily.
Despite making up only 7% of a battery’s weight on average, lithium is so critical for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries that the U.S. Geological Survey has classified it as one of 35 minerals vital to the U.S. economy.
This means refining lithium more effectively is critical to meeting the demand for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.
EnergyX is powering the clean energy transition with the next generation of lithium metal batteries with longer cycle life, greater energy density, and faster charging times.
Ready to join the energy transition? Learn how with EnergyX.
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