‘Mobile’ renewable energies: a new concept is born

By , 29 November 2016 at 13:11
‘Mobile’ renewable energies: a new concept is born
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‘Mobile’ renewable energies: a new concept is born

By , 29 November 2016 at 13:11

Mobile renewable energies are easier to install and can be transported to other locations when needed.

The idea we have today of solar and wind energy is photovoltaic panels and mighty wind generators. These installations are not suitable for other activities that need a more ephemeral supply of energy. In these cases, electricity is usually generated from fossil fuels such as diesel, which is carried in cans or tanks. However, the lowered costs of solar and wind technology is creating a new option.

Lower costs mean the appearance of systems that can be installed easily, then removed for transport and used somewhere else. Mobile renewable energy is a new idea that comes into play when loading tanks of diesel proves too expensive or simply infeasible.

The reason is usually the landscape and the lack of infrastructures. Like many technological innovations, the use of mobile renewable energy originated in the defence sector. The United States army need to use energy in conflict zones, and uses diesel equipment for this. When these cannot reach the area in question other ways of generating electricity were needed.

It was quickly realised that these mobile solar panels and wind systems could be used for other purposes. Mobile renewable energies can make a difference in areas without access to the mains electricity. They have been suggested for refugee camps or areas without infrastructures, like a project in Nigeria where this type of system was installed in a place far from the roads to make it possible to supply drinking water.

Another example of its use is related with a highly specific economic activity, like mining. Before working a seam of mineral, you have to find it, and that means going there and prospecting in the area. This is work that calls for energy, naturally, but often takes place in rough, mountainous country where carrying diesel tanks is particularly arduous. Sometimes, lorries cannot reach the area, and fuel must be flown in by helicopter.

This is where mobile renewable energy comes in, to lower costs. Traditional renewable energies are of little use here, because they require investment of 25 years. Prospecting does not guarantee that there will be a vein, and even if there is one, it cannot be guaranteed that the work will last for this length of time. This is why flexible solutions are needed, whose installation and removal does not require great effort, an which can be set up again in a new location when required.

 

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