Green Technology Worth Knowing About for 2023 (and Beyond)

As another exciting year gets underway, the future looks bright for renewable energy and green technology in general.    

Despite challenges including energy shortages, supply chain disruptions, and heightened geopolitical tensions, there is plenty of reason to believe that rapidly advancing technologies will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, increase energy efficiency, conserve natural resources, create new jobs and generate economic growth.    

Let’s take a quick look at five interesting technologies that are likely to have a growing influence both this year and beyond. We plan to expand on each one with a full blog post later this year.    

For now, we’ll cover the essential points to get you thinking about what’s coming next.  


How the Internet of Things (IoT) Improves Distribution Network Efficiency  


The “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to the concept of connecting any device to the Internet and to each other to form a giant network which collects and shares data.    

Growth is strong: according to Fortune Business Insights, the global IoT market is “projected to grow from $478.36 billion in 2022 to $2,465.26 billion by 2029, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate(CAGR) of 26.4%” over this decade.  



Figure 1: How IoT enables unsurpassed connectivity and data-sharing across distribution networks (  


As the IoT scales with that level of growth, it will enable “smart cities” to exist. This has obvious applications to power distribution networks which are collections of “things” but not necessarily Internet-connected … yet.    

For example, smart meters are one type of IoT device that’s seeing increased deployments in energy grids (the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.74% during this decade). These meters accurately measure and report energy usage at all levels in real-time. This includes both homes and businesses. Their IoT technology allows for two-way communication between the meter and the energy provider and enhance data visibility.    

This in turn allows IoT devices to improve distribution networks in multiple areas in real-time. Where no communication pathways previously existed, IoT devices now facilitate energy monitoring and consumption control, energy production, and energy flow in ways that were previously slower, less efficient and more prone to error.    

They can also assist with predictive maintenance, grid stability and real-time analysis for optimum efficiency.    

In fact, IoT devices lead us to our next topic.    

That’s because they provide the data used by intelligent software to make all-important decisions faster and more effectively than ever.  


How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Helps Microgrids  


Artificial Intelligence (AI) simulates human intelligence using software and is designed to perform tasks such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. AI technologies use advanced algorithms and mathematical models to process data and make predictions or decisions without explicit programming. The goal is to create more efficient, reliable, and scalable systems.    

Meanwhile, microgrids are compressed, miniaturized energy systems composed of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (DERs). They can operate in parallel with, or islanded from, the main power grid. They typically include generators, solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage systems such as batteries, all of which can be part of the IoT.  



Figure 2: Source: A sample microgrid with the controller acting as the hub of the AI "brain" of the system (  


A good microgrid should improve energy security, reliability, cost savings, and sustainability over a less optimized and localized alternative. This is why microgrids are projected to grow at a CAGR of over 22.5% this decade.    

All that growth needs intelligent management, of course.    

AI acts as the “brain” of a given microgrid to optimize energy production and consumption to meet local sources and loads. It does this by analyzing weather forecasts, energy demand patterns and feedback from IoT devices while controlling and regulating energy flows. This improves stability and reduces the risk of blackouts. It’s especially important with renewable energy sources which can be highly variable contributors to the energy mix.    

AI can also monitor microgrid equipment and its performance to predict when maintenance is required. This reduced unplanned downtime and increases reliability.    

A good microgrid can also justify its costs when the AI identifies opportunities for energy savings through reduced energy waste, improved energy storage management and ultimately optimization for the most favorable energy tariffs.    

But IoT and AI are not the only ways that green technology can be made more useful than ever before.  


How Smart Contracts Can Help Drive Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Growth  


A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is an arrangement where a third-party developer installs, owns, and operates a complete energy system.  


PPAs are negotiated between client and the IPP (Independent Power Provider) to operate over a long period of time. This provides locked-in revenue certainty via a stable revenue stream for the project developer. It also mitigates electricity price and regulatory uncertainty risks since the developer is protected from potentially-negative market fluctuations.    

And finally, a purchaser's willingness to enter into a long-term agreement to buy electricity from the project also indicates confidence in the project's technical feasibility and economic viability.    

This in turn is critical to securing project financing. Therefore PPAs are helpful for advancing projects through to completion and commissioning, reducing energy costs, hedging against price increases, and improving operational resiliency. Already the global power purchase agreement industry generated $11.6 billion in 2021 and should reach $18.4 billion by 2031 according to a study by Allied Market Research. This is a CAGR of 4.9% from 2022 to 2031.    

However, there can be tracking issues involved with the generated electricity: is the customer actually getting what they paid for? Is the developer receiving the proper payment for services rendered?    

This is where blockchain technology can help. Blockchains can create smart contracts that automate and enforce the terms of the PPA between energy producers, distributors, and consumers. They reduce the risk of fraud and increases contract execution and settlement efficiency.    

That’s because smart contracts are algorithmic protocols that digitally facilitate the verification, control, or execution of an agreement. Smart contracts on the blockchain platform are automatically processed by the algorithm and middlemen are unnecessary for executing the transactions.  


Figure 3: The many advantages of smart contracts on a blockchain (  


So smart contracts eliminate any ambiguity over PPA energy source and distribution. Energy transactions can become more efficient, secure, and transparent. This helps drive the growth of the renewable energy sector by providing greater certainty for all parties involved.    

Smart contracts may also boost the CAGR of PPAs since they offer so many advantages, even as blockchain technology remains in its relative infancy. We think the potential is huge for project developers looking to optimize current and future energy network solutions.    

Meanwhile, what are the other ways renewable energy technology can be improved going forward?    

Since batteries are currently a hot topic, we plan to discuss at least one area that’s particularly acute due to ongoing supply chain issues.  


What Needs to be Done About Battery Waste  


Lithium battery numbers are proliferating and look set to rise exponentially as both EVs and stationary battery storage grow in deployment and popularity.    

Waste has become a growing concern in recent years. While lithium-ion batteries are recyclable, proper waste management infrastructure and regulations are lacking.    

That’s why as much as 95% of battery waste ends up in landfills. Not only do toxic chemicals leach out into soil and ground water, the often-expensive resources (including lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper) are no longer available for the next generation of battery manufacturing.  


Figure 4: The many lithium battery components that go to waste when batteries are thrown away (  


Recycling batteries is complex and requires specialized equipment and knowledge. This has led to a low rate of lithium battery recycling, with a significant portion of waste batteries being exported to other countries with less stringent environmental regulations.    

Given the rapid growth in the use of lithium-ion batteries, this needs to be addressed quickly (by 2030, the worldwide number of China-built batteries alone will hit 2 million metric tons per year).    

Lithium battery waste can be minimized through a combination of measures, including improved recycling infrastructure, policy and legislation as well as research and development into better ways to manufacture batteries in the first place.    

Governments can play a role in reducing lithium battery waste by implementing regulations that encourage responsible battery disposal and recycling as well as more standard battery design and production to facilitate these aims.    

More sustainable battery technologies are also needed. How can existing materials be used more efficiently to minimize production costs and efficiency and reduce the need for material usage in individual batteries? What new materials are on the horizon to accelerate these efforts?    

Meanwhile, raising public awareness about the issue and the importance of responsible use and disposal can help reduce the amount of waste generated and encourage greater investment in sustainable solutions.    

And speaking of public awareness (and evolving perceptions), there’s one more key topic we plan to discuss.  


The Future Role of Nuclear Fission  


Nuclear fission power is a method of generating electricity by harnessing the energy released when large atoms are split in a nuclear reactor. Uranium or plutonium isotopes are bombarded with neutrons to cause them to undergo fission. This releases a large amount of energy in the form of heat which in turn is used to produce steam. Just like any turbine (including those where the heat is generated by coal or natural gas combustion) the turbine at a nuclear power plant generates electricity for the grid.    

Across the globe, 439 nuclear reactors are currently in operation, totaling 393GW or around 11% of global power generation capacity.    

One of the key attractions of nuclear fission is its high power density and carbon-free footprint, yet public opinion has been strongly against nuclear power due to a number of factors.  



Figure 5: Why nuclear power could play an important low-carbon green energy role in the decades to come (  


People worry about safety at nuclear plants due to the potential for nuclear accidents and radioactive contamination. Historical high-profile accidents have included Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and more recently Fukushima although the actual danger and damages appear to have been exaggerated.    

Waste disposal is another issue due to the perception of difficulties associated with the long-term storage and disposal of nuclear waste. The risk of nuclear weapons proliferation since certain technology and materials used in nuclear power plants can be used to produce nuclear weapons under the right conditions.    

There’s also the factor that nuclear power is often more expensive than other sources of energy at the moment for a variety of reasons including regulatory minefields that affect both plant construction and operations.    

All this means the future role of nuclear power in the energy mix is uncertain and subject to changing technological advancements, energy policies, and public opinion.    

Yet nuclear power may be entering a renaissance period as countries begin to realize that traditional renewable power sources such as solar and wind aren’t suited for all geographies, climates and economies.    

In fact, a recent report by Citi Research indicates that European citizens in particular are re-thinking nuclear as electricity prices skyrocket due to natural gas and other shortages following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Apparently two-thirds of respondents “would now support a new nuclear policy”.    

That’s why nuclear power could play a significant role in the energy mix in the coming decades as a low-carbon energy source that can help to meet increasing energy demand and mitigate climate change.    

Exciting times in energy production, distribution and optimization lie ahead!  


How ADC Projects Can Help  


At ADC Projects, we offer our energy market expertise to commerce and industry. That includes renewable energy generation projects as well as energy storage solutions best matched to user demands and needs.    

Our breadth of experience allows us to provide both big and small solutions at all stages of implementation including Project Development, Project Management Operations and Maintenance, Engineering and consulting services.    

We have developed and installed a variety of renewable power projects and energy storage projects as well as natural gas-themed installations including gas engines.    

With an unfolding energy crisis facing the world today, it’s now more important than ever to get the most out of any energy project.    

Please contact us today for more information on how we can help.