Bioenergy constitutes a type of renewable energy derived from biomass sources. Liquid biofuels with quality comparable to gasoline are directly blended for use in vehicles. To achieve this quality, companies improve biofuel processes and upgrade techniques. The majority of biofuel conversion processes like hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), pyrolysis, plasma technology, pulverization, and gasification use thermal conversion for obtaining biofuels.
Further, upgrade techniques like cryogenic, hydrate, in-situ, and membrane separation are used for removing sulfur and nitrogen content. Similarly, the fermentation process produces bioethanol which is easy to blend directly with gasoline. Fermentation also has the ability to convert waste, food grains, and plants into bio-ethanol, thereby providing feedstock variability.
Energy-dense feedstocks result in optimum fuel quality. For this reason, startups and big companies consider algal and microalgal feedstocks for use in the aforementioned conversion processes.
Phycobloom produces Algal Bio-Oil
Phycobloom is a British startup that uses synthetic biology to produce bio-oil from algae. The startup’s genetically engineered algae release this oil into the surroundings. Since the same batch of algae is reused, it makes the process fast and inexpensive. Considering that algae require only air, water, and sunlight to grow, this technology also closes the loop between greenhouse gas emissions and fuel production. The startup’s solution thus lowers the dependency of the transportation sector on fossil fuels.
Bioenzematic Fuel Cells (BeFC) provides Paper-based Biofuel Cell
French startup BeFC generates electricity using a paper-based biofuel cell system. The system combines carbon electrodes, enzymes, and microfluidics. The enzymes convert glucose and oxygen into electricity using a miniature paper material. The technology is suitable for low-power applications, like sensor data collection and transmission. Moreover, the absence of plastic and metal makes it a sustainable and non-toxic form of energy storage means.
4. Grid Integration
Grid integration technologies primarily include transmission, distribution, and stabilization of renewable energy. Scaling up variable renewable energy generation is often far from demand centers which results in transmission and distribution losses. To overcome this, energy-efficient, grid electronic technologies such as Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) semiconductors are leveraged.
The challenge of frequency and voltage fluctuation due to variable renewable energy generation is solved through microcontroller-based solutions. Despite these technologies, stabilization of the grid is a huge challenge due to intermittent energy usage. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology empowers the stabilization of the grid during peak hours while grid-to-vehicle (G2V) solutions leverage the vehicle as a storage unit. As a result, both the energy and transportation industry benefits.
Ageto Energy designs Microgrid Controllers
Ageto Energy is a US-based startup that produces microgrid controllers for coordinating all the elements of the microgrid. The startup’s microgrid controller, ARC, functions as a brain for the microgrid and integrates various conventional and renewable resources, including energy inverters, generators, power meters, and sheddable loads. ARC is encased in a durable enclosure to withstand extreme weather and temperature. In addition, it provides real-time monitoring and control of the microgrid.
Veir develops High-Temperature Superconductors (HTS)
US-based startup Veir offers high-temperature superconductors. The startup’s HTS cable operates at up to ten times the current of conventional wire while maintaining superconductivity. To maintain the HTS at operating temperature, Veir uses evaporative cryogenic cooling, which is twenty times more efficient than mechanical subcooling. This enables the generation and transmission of large-scale renewable energy, empowering utilities to easily transition to cleaner fuels.