The Challenge Presented by the Energy Turnaround

All five Swiss nuclear power plants ought to be decommissioned for reasons of age and replaced by something new by 2019! Combined cycle power stations are often named as a substitute. However, these power plants burn fossil energy sources and thereby emit additional CO2 – global warming would thus be further accelerated.

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About 80% of the energy sources for electric power generation originate from fossil sources such as coal, oil and natural gas – thus, an average of approx. seven billion tons (!) of CO2 are emitted each year! In addition to the large CO2 problem, we also have a storage and transport problem: electricity is usually not produced where it is consumed nor whenever it is needed. The idea of storing electricity in accumulators is expensive, the energy density is poor and the recharging process takes too much time and is problematic in terms of environmental pollution.

The least expensive and most environmentally friendly is the local storage of energy at the consumer in chemical form – specifically in methanol. To convert the liquid energy back into electricity, Silent-Power has developed the new, highly

efficient Econimo mini power plant. Econimo is the abbreviation for ”Energy Converter Integral Module” (worldwide registered trademark). Heat and electricity are generated simultaneously in the process. The heat is used for heating and cooling (buildings, vehicles, etc.), and the electricity is fed into the grid or drives electric motors in appliances, machinery and vehicles.

In the stationary segment, Silent-Power develops mini power plants, which ensure a decentralised energy supply of buildings. With this concept, Silent-Power solves several energy problems at a stroke. Upgrading to the new technology is not a problem as the existing structures can be used. Thanks to the pioneering technology of the Econimo mini power plant, this is rapidly feasible and financially viable.

 

Major Problems Worldwide

 

PROBLEM 1:
Seven billion tons of CO2 per year

For global power generation about 80% fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) are used. These are only available in limited quantities, produce i.a. particulate matter and are responsible for seven billion tons of CO2 emissions. The consequences: accelerated temperature increase, over acidified oceans, forest dieback, damage to the environment (accidents involving oil tankers and platforms) and health problems such as lung diseases and allergies caused by particulate matter.

PROBLEM 2:
Production vs. consumption

During the day electricity consumption surpasses the production of base load energy. At night consumption decreases, but production continues, because nuclear and coal-fired power plants can not be throttled at short notice.
Because it was not produced as required, the cheap off-peak power is being used to fill the pump basins. Therefore electricity is converted into the potential energy of water. The next day this water drives the turbines, which in turn produce expensive peak power. Unfortunately, this gives the incentive for a centralized and not at all demand-oriented power
infrastructure.

PROBLEM 3:
Uncontrolled nuclear fission

Though nuclear energy is considered as a CO2-neutral energy source – uranium is, however, also a finite source of energy. It is mined in many regions of the world with high resource consumption and serious health effects. Nuclear power plants pose a potential risk for meltdowns (Harrisburg, Chernobyl, Fukushima) with irreversible collateral damage and costs. Furthermore, radioactive waste must be stored permanently for several 10,000 years.

PROBLEM 4:
Energy loss during transport

Today’s electricity supply is primarily ensured centrally by large-scale power stations.
As a result, the power supply to the end users is only possible via long and costly transport distances. The transport of electricity via overhead lines causes a transportation loss of up to 11%. Moreover, transport safety is not always guaranteed (power cuts, blackouts).

 

 

 

 

 

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