The global third generation energy source market is expected to progress at a considerable rate owing to limited availability of sustainable sources. The market is fragmented by fuel-types such as fuel cells, algae fuel, hydrogen and gas to liquids. These energy forms are harnessed with the help of biomass power, hydrogen, photovoltaics, geothermal and wind energy.
Biomass energy also known as bio-power is one of the third-generation sources which helps in the production of electricity from biomass resources such as forest residues, waste wood, and crops. It reduces environment hazardous emissions such as greenhouse gases, amongst others. The types of processes employed for transforming biofuel into fuel and electricity are homogenization, gasification, anaerobic digestion which thereby delivers liquid based fuels such as biodiesel, methanol, hydrogen, and ethanol. It is one of the most cost-effective ways of providing bio-power. With the arising need of saving fuel and electricity, biopower sector has started to gain popularity and represents positive future growth prospects over the forecast period.
Geothermal power is one of the leading third generation sources. It helps in achieving economies of scale to power distributors, as geothermal power plants supply power in a straight line to the network. It finds direct application in the utilization of heat generated from geothermal fluids without conversion to electricity. Massive geothermal projects have been introduced in recent times, whereby minerals and metals have been recovered, thereby, adding value to the investment done. The geothermal potential is being utilized by the developing countries like U.S to produce electricity in a sustainable way. The major geothermal companies include Caithness Energy, Calpine Corporation, Cal Energy Company and Ormat International, Inc.
The evolving geothermal power source is expected to level the cost of electricity as well as improved methodologies are expected to help predict the reservoir performance and lifetime. This would gradually minimize the operational cost and improve the efficiency of geothermal conversion systems.
Use of photovoltaic cells has been trending owing to mounting concerns of saving electricity and utilizing green power i.e. using electricity in an environment-friendly way. Photovoltaic cells use direct sunlight thereby saving power on a large scale. Consumers have been drifting onto the installation of these batteries as they can be used in residential-size or commercial-sized systems. They help in saving power and are highly reliable, lasting for a longer period as well as in the case of any price escalation; the customers are unaffected thereby fulfilling the desire for green power. Developed economies have started adopting these third generation sources to reduce dependence on natural gas.
Wind technology is economical today in majority power markets which can be attributed to support garnered from the construction duty acknowledgments, along with high-value operational solicitations that recognize-cost facts. New state policies, as well as the accomplishment of green marketing in harnessing wind power, have given rise to the domestic public interest in the sustainable electric generation technology.
Hydrogen gas can be produced from many sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable resources. Hydrogen and electricity can be converted from one form to another using electrolysis (electricity to hydrogen) and fuel cells (hydrogen to power). Hydrogen is an effective storage medium, particularly for distributed generation.
Hydrogen finds various Industrial applications such as ammonia production, reductant in metal production, hydrotreating of crude oils, hydrogenation of oils in the food industry, reducing agent in electronics industry, amid many other applications; In power sector, hydrogen is used in fuel cells, gas turbines, generators for distributed power generation; whereas in transportation sector hydrogen is used in internal combustion engines or fuel cells to power vehicles with electric power trains. The potential long-term application involves, use of hydrogen as an aviation fuel in marine applications, whereas in construction sector hydrogen is cast-off in combined heat, power, and fuel applications using fuel cells.