With the rising global demand for power, renewable energy has become a key growth area. The energy industry is facing numerous challenges to develop new technologies alongside improving the existing infrastructure for power generation and energy conversion whilst striking the right balance between environmental credentials and cost as well as supply and demand. Effective thermal management of renewable energy can enhance the performance, reliability and lifespan of systems and components whilst reducing the environmental impact, cost and consumption.
Solar power is a form of renewable energy that harnesses the energy from the sun to generate electricity. It is a clean and sustainable source of power that has gained significant popularity due to its environmental benefits and decreasing costs. Solar power is primarily generated through photovoltaic (PV) cells, commonly known as solar cells. These cells are made of semiconductor materials, often silicon. They work by using the photovoltaic effect which is when photons (light particles) hit the cells, it releases the electrons from the atoms and the electrons flow through the semiconductor material, creating a direct electric current (DC) which is then converted to an alternating current (AC) using inverters. The electricity generated from solar power systems can be consumed immediately but connected devices , fed back to the electrical grid for distribution or stored locally in a battery for later use. It is estimated that 5.5% of the world’s energy generation comes from solar power. Golmud Solar Park in China is currently the largest solar farm in the world, offering a 2.8GW capacity from almost 7 million solar panels. Due to the placement of solar panels they may experience high environmental temperatures alongside the heat generated from conversion which means effective thermal management is crucial to ensure efficient energy generation and enhance the lifespan of the panel. T68 Synthetic Graphite is a an ultra thin highly oriented pyrolytic graphite sheet with superior thermal conductivity of 1500 W/mK that may be used in PV Cells alongside more traditional Thermal Interface Materials found in inverters.
Wind power is a renewable energy source utilising the kinetic energy of wind to generate electricity using mechanical turbines. The turbines can either be horizontal axis or vertical axis depending on the blade orientation and they convert the wind’s force into rotational motion to generate electricity. Wind turbines can be installed on land or offshore, and they vary in size and capacity. Wind power is widely used around the world, and has a significant potential to meet the global energy demand and mitigate climate change. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), wind power accounted for 7.1% of the global electricity generation in 2022, and it could reach 35% by 2050. The global wind power capacity reached 832 GW in 2022, with China’s Gansu Wind Farm being largest wind farms globally, with a capacity exceeding 6,000 MW and 7000 turbines. Wind power is considered a clean and sustainable energy source of energy, as it does not emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants, and it uses a natural and inexhaustible resource. Wind power is also one of the lowest-cost electricity sources, and it can reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and enhance energy security. Thermal Interface Materials are found in the gearbox and generator of wind turbines to manage heat generated during operation. Effective thermal management helps in increasing the efficiency and lifespan of these components. Common Thermal Interface Materials include Thermal Putties, Compounds and Pads.
Hydropower is a type of renewable energy that uses the kinetic energy of water to generate electricity. It is one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy in the world having been used since ancient times for watermills for a range of purposes including gristmills, sawmills and irrigation. The first example of hydropower being used to create hydroelectricity was in 1878 in Northumberland where it was used to power lighting at Cragside country house. Hydropower converts energy from rivers, lakes and oceans into mechanical energy using turbines and generators and can be classified into different types depending on the power plant including run-of-river, tidal, resevoir and pumped storage. Hydropower currently accounts for around 6% of electrical power generation in the US (around 29% of their renewable energy generation) and is widely used in countries with access to large volumes of water. China’s Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydropower plant, with a capacity of over 22,500 MW, it plays a significant role in electricity generation and also flood control. Hydropower is a low carbon and sustainable source of energy as it does not produce greenhouse gases and is a natural and abundant resource. While water itself is often used as a cooling medium in hydropower systems, Thermal Interface Materials are used in various electronic components, control systems, or transformers associated with the power generation and distribution process. These include Phase Change Materials, Heat Pipes and Vapour Chambers.
Geothermal power is a form of renewable energy that uses the heat from the Earth’s core to produce steam which drives turbines to generate electricity. Geothermal power plants use a number of different technologies to harness geothermal energy, including dry steam, flash steam, or binary cycle which uses two separate fluid cycles. 26 countries around the world are currently using geothermal energy which has a global capacity of 15.4 gigawatts. Geothermal power is regarded as a low-carbon and sustainable source of energy, as its emissions are considerably lower compared to that of conventional fossil fuels. If more resources are explored and developed geothermal power has the potential to meet a significant portion of the world’s energy demand in the future. The Geysers in California, USA, is the largest geothermal power facility with a capacity of over 1,500 MW. Thermal Interface Materials are found in heat exchangers alongside Thermal Grease and Pads to enhance the transfer of heat from the geothermal fluid to the power generation system.
Why choose T-Global Technology?
In the fast paced world of renewable energy, effective thermal management is crucial to ensure the reliability, performance, and safety of clean and sustainable power stations regardless of type or location. T-Global Technology’s range of Thermal Management Products provides the ideal solution for dissipating heat to maximise the efficiency of renewable energy generation whilst minimising its environmental impact.