Top 5 tech disrupting the energy industry in 2021

From generation to efficiency and from storage to transport, the energy industry is ripe for disruption from both new and emerging technolgies, some of which are impacting the market already. The rise of renewable energy and electric vehicles will lead to systemic changes of greater significance than the sector has witnessed for over a centrury. This energy transition will bring both challenges and opportunities, both winners and losers.

In a bid to map the future landscape and highlight key industry trends, Lux Research, a leading provider of tech-enabled research and advisory services, has released its annual report Foresight 2021: Top Emerging Technologies to Watch.

In total, the new research identifies and ranks 12 key technologies with potential to reshape the world. These technologies are chosen based on innovation interest scores from the Lux Tech Signal, a composite measure assembled from a variety of data sources, along with expert input.

In addition to highlighting the 12 key overall technologies, for the first time ever, this year’s report also ranks the top five technologies for the energy industry.

As identified by Lux in their Foresight 2021 report, the top five technologies energy leaders should look to this year are:

1. Green Hydrogen

As the energy system transitions to renewables, green hydrogen plays a key role in creating a new global bulk energy carrier and can serve as both an energy and feedstock source for industrial processes.

2. Direct Air Capture

Removing CO2 directly from the air is still years from widespread adoption but will emerge as a valuable tool for organisations needing to offset Scope 3 emissions.

3. Long-Duration Energy Storage

The growing share of intermittent renewables in the electricity mix will require grid operators to store increasing amounts of excess generation for longer periods of time.

4. Fuel Cells

Hand in hand with green hydrogen, fuel cells enable the adoption of zero-carbon energy across the energy system and can eliminate emissions in hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as long-haul trucking.

5. Battery Recycling

As batteries become more ubiquitous due to vehicle electrification, recycling is essential to addressing concerns about waste, lifetime emissions, and material shortages.

All five disruptors are contributing to the process of global energy transition, which continues to change the game for utilities and industry worldwide, albeit slowly, concludes Yuan-Sheng Yu, Director of Research at Lux Research:

“Unlike the fast-paced digital technologies disrupting many facets of everyday life, the energy industry is a slow-moving behemoth that may take decades to fully transform. However, companies no longer have the luxury of time, as climate policies continue to put pressure on the major industry players to mitigate their contributions to emissions and eventually shift toward carbon-neutral operations.”

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