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Off Grid Zero-emission Electricity 2018-2038: New Markets, New Technology Roadmap

Off Grid Zero-emission Electricity 2018-2038: New Markets, New Technology Roadmap

Grid electricity is being bypassed. Extension of national grids is nowhere near keeping up with population growth. The sheer cost of upgrading national grids and their vulnerability to terrorism and natural disasters is leading to clean off grid power. It will also replace 800 GW of diesel gensets.

The new 250+ page IDTechEx report, "Off-grid Zero-emission Electricity: New Markets, New Technology Roadmap 2018-2038" reveals the market drivers and changing technologies involved. Primarily it concerns the rapid expansion of clean distributed energy as microgrids and minigrids of 0.5kW- 1MW. The Executive Summary and Conclusions includes detailed forecasts and technology roadmaps. The Introduction explains off grid history, definitions, comparison of the ten energy harvesting technologies, the fringe topic geothermal and the nature and challenges of off grid batteries plus electricity cost comparisons. A chapter on progress and opportunities worldwide: profiles continents and 21 countries. Chapter 4 compares technologies in more detail than earlier. The emphasis is on what is new and important for the future: this is seen in the drill down chapter on electricity from light and infrared scoping such things as perovskites, Building Integrated Photovoltaics BIPV, solar vs piezo roads and "Silent City" leading to the chapter on electricity from wind including a close look at the newly commercial Aerial Wind Energy AWE and such things as piezo + photovoltaic sails as multi-mode harvesting becomes important. Off grid electricity from water is then explained with a detailed look at off grid battery technologies at the end of the report.

The presentation is compact with new detailed infograms and forecasts and a creative, critical approach by the many PhD level analysts who have toured the world to gain the information using local languages for technical interviews. It is shown that the biggest markets are on the mainland initially mainly in developing countries but mini grids are popular in island states, both developed and developing. There are more than 10,000 inhabited islands around the world and an estimated 750 million islanders and the report profiles many doing off grid, giving gives statistics, trends and achievements. In most cases, renewables are already a cost-effective replacement for their diesel generators and others benefit from solar panels taking much of their load as is also scoped in Africa and elsewhere. The report even shows that vehicles and charging stations where needed will become micro and mini grids increasingly not connected to national grids. For example, Tesla promises solar bodywork and Elon Musk says he will take all his intended 10 GW of charging stations worldwide off grid.

There is a clear roadmap in the report showing 2.2 million larger vehicles becoming candidates for energy independence as clean off grid minigrids in 2028 including the largest ships having zero emission instead of each emitting NOx and particulates of millions of cars. Off grid is shown to be a prudent diversification for utilities and fossil fuel companies now investing in it. The potential is considerable and for the first time it has now been fully scoped by this report, from single solar panels on huts in Africa to the 17 types of land vehicle, boat, ship and plane from 2014-2028 that will trend to being travelling minigrids with zero emission. 

Please note the PDF Email From Publisher version of this report allows five users.


1.1.What is an off grid zero emission electricity supply?

1.2.Zero emission off grid system architecture

1.3.Minigrids with multi-mode harvesting

1.4.Purpose and context of this report

1.5.Much is changing

1.5.1.Stealing the emperor's clothes: Market drivers for off grid are strengthening

1.6.Market driven approach: uninterrupted transportable green electricity

1.7.Energy independent ship opportunity: 3MW gap in the market

1.8.The ultimate all-weather mobile genset: no emissions, little energy storage?



1.9.2.Where the term zero emission off-grid is used

1.9.3.Off-grid structural types

1.10.On-grid vs off grid by country

1.11.More reasons to worry about national grids now

1.11.1.Five factors

1.11.2.Why even electricity utilities back off grid

1.12.Overview of off grid structure and history



1.12.3.Electricity supply in 2018 and 2050: here comes off grid

1.12.4.Access to electricity by people in 2018: conflicting forces

1.12.5.Australia can and should go off grid?

1.12.6.IRENA view

1.12.7.IRENA background data

1.12.8.Bridging technologies: solar assisted diesel gensets

1.13.Which renewables, mainly zero emission, take over grid and off grid generation

1.14.Off-grid leading technologies: PV with Li-ion batteries winning

1.15.Addressable markets


1.15.2.Reliable electricity in Africa

1.15.3.Population by per capita income

1.15.4.Off grid renewable energy installed capacity in 2050

1.15.5.Installed capacity 2018-2050 kTWh/yr by grid, fringe of grid, off grid stationary, vehicle

1.15.6.Installed capacity 2018kTWh/yr by grid, fringe of grid, off grid stationary, vehicle

1.15.7.Installed capacity 2028 kTWh/yr by grid, fringe of grid, off grid stationary, vehicle

1.15.8.Installed capacity 2040 kTWh/yr by grid, fringe of grid, off grid stationary, vehicle

1.15.9.Installed capacity 2050 kTWh/yr by grid, fringe of grid, off grid stationary, vehicle

1.15.10.Situation where grid access is lacking or poor

1.15.11.Average annual lighting spend by off-grid population $/year 2012


1.15.13.Sales of large hybrid and pure electric vehicles globally in 17 categories number k 2013-2028

1.15.14.Off-grid solar forecast

1.15.15.Pico solar as indicator of microsolar

1.16.Technology roadmaps

1.16.1.Overview1.16.2.Off grid technology and adoption roadmap: harvesting

1.16.3.Off grid technology and adoption roadmap: storage

1.17.Continuity as important as cost: energy storage vs energy harvesting for continuity


1.17.2.Adoption, transition, optimisation

1.17.3.Options for tapping excellent 200+m wind: particularly strong at night when PV is off



2.1.Electrification alone will save 42% of world power demand

2.2.System elements

2.3.Basic configuration

2.4.Energy harvesting (EH)

2.4.1.Definition and overview

2.4.2.Market drivers for off grid energy harvesting

2.4.3.Features of energy harvesting

2.4.4.EH transducer construction, materials

2.4.5.Energy harvesting transducer options compared for all applications

2.4.6.Off-Grid Energy Harvesting technology intermittent power generated


2.4.8.Energy harvesting is an immature industry

2.4.9.IFEVS Italy energy independent electric restaurant van

2.5.Gaps in the market : replace 6-800GWh of diesel gensets



2.6.2.Electrodynamic parameters

2.7.Geothermal2.8.Magnetostriction for 100kW+ wave power

2.9.What is a battery?


2.9.2.Ecosystem for the whole battery life

2.9.3.Ongoing lithium-ion fires and explosions - computers, cars, aircraft

2.9.4.Hoverboards2.9.5.Next Li-ion failures and production delays due to cutting corners

2.10.E.ON electricity utility promotes off-grid

2.11.Standards and certification

2.12.ABB microgrids

2.13.China leads in photovoltaics

2.14.Tesla off grid houses 30% cheaper than grid

2.15.Renault Group's smart island




3.2.Finance and coordination

3.3.Trend in Africa

3.4.American Samoa



3.6.1.Schneider gets greenlight for energy project in South Australia




3.10.Democratic Republic of Congo



3.13.Renewable electricity: more attention now

3.14.Local experience







3.21.New Zealand


3.23.Puerto Rico

3.23.1.sonnen brings power to Puerto Rico

3.24.Sierra Leone



3.26.1.Microgrids boost edge of grid and provide backup




4.2.Important parameters

4.3.Comparison of desirable features of EH technologies

4.4.Relative benefits of EH technologies vs needs

4.5.Hype curve for EH technologies




5.2.Example: boat as a minigrid

5.3.Main PV options beyond silicon

5.4.Best research-cell efficiencies

5.5.Photovoltaics becomes cheaper than large onshore wind in 2020

5.6.Photovoltaics experience curve 2018 junction vs photoelectrochemical DSSC

5.8.Comparison G24i Indoor Module vs aSi Module Power Density

5.9.DSSC addressable niche markets

5.10.Solar greenhouses generate electricity and grow crops

5.11.University of Colorado Boulder 2018

5.12.Building integrated photovoltaic thermal (BIPVT)

5.13.Electricity generating roads, paths: Piezo, electrodynamic or heat?

5.14.Electricity from heat of roads, parking lots etc

5.15.Silent city

5.16.Building integrated photovoltaics BIPV



6.1.Small wind turbines

6.2.Electricity from wind

6.3.Below 100kW wind turbines get niche

6.4.Off grid electricity from wind

6.5.Ground turbine wind power does not downsize well: physics and poorer wind

6.6.Turbine choices

6.7.Vertical Axis Wind Turbines VAWT have a place

6.8.Electrical autonomy using wind alone: Inerjy 70kW energy independent boat being built with H-VAWT

6.9.Energy Observer microgrid - VAWT wind and sun

6.10.Airborne Wind Energy

6.11.Electrodynamics: pumping action of tethered drone

6.12.Main Airborne Wind Energy options taken seriously

6.13.Example: opportunities for AWE

6.14.Two very different needs for AWE

6.15.TwingTec Switzerland

6.16.Primary conclusions: the MW grid opportunity most are chasing

6.17.Primary conclusions: the opportunity beyond MW grid

6.18.Primary conclusions: AWE technologies

6.19.Hybrid piezo photovoltaic film and fiber for sails etc




7.2.Witt 6D wave harvester

7.3.Sea Horse - Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Japan

7.4.Marine Power Systems UK

7.5.Lighting the oceans with wave power - Yanko Design

7.6.River power



8.1.Electrochemistry definitions

8.2.What does 1 kilowatthour (kWh) look like?

8.3.Useful charts for performance comparison

8.4.The battery trilemma

8.5.Stationary energy storage is not new

8.6.The increasingly important role of stationary storage

8.7.New avenues for stationary storage

8.8.Off grid energy storage technologies

8.9.Energy storage technologies in comparison

8.10.Values provided by battery storage in ancillary services

8.11.Costs: a major impediment

8.12.Value Chain

8.13.The launch of Tesla Energy and corresponding sales

8.14.Powerwall's specifications

8.15.Powerwall - a breakthrough product?

8.16.Analysis of Tesla's strategy

8.17.Background of Tesla's Gigafactory

8.18.The impact of Tesla's Gigafactory

8.19.The story did not start with Tesla and will not end with Tesla


8.21.BYD's layout is similar to Tesla and it makes wind turbines too

8.22.Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage and Daimler's 2nd-use stationary battery storage project

8.23.Redox Flow Batteries (RFB)

8.24.The case for RFBs8.25.The price of RFBs

8.26.The price of RFBs – LCOS

8.27.Redox flow batteries in the news

8.28.Redox flow batteries and caves

8.29.Guide to understanding the charts

8.30.Largest operational RFB projects

8.31.Market players (operational projects)

8.32.Hype curve for RFB technologies

8.33.Other RFB configurations



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