Top 5-How Electrification Is Driving The Green Drive Worldwide

Starting with electrifying more and more parts of the economy, and then, ensuring that electricity is green has been the cornerstone of the global effort to reduce carbon emissions. We look at five cases where electrification has been successful, which should encourage efforts to seek similar abatement in fossil fuel use in other areas. These 5 Top electrification stories provide hope about the future as well

“But you can’t abandon fossil fuels! They’re still needed for x thing!” is a statement that many have uttered. While the electrification of traditionally fossil fuel-powered equipment has historically met opposition in the form of high upfront costs and reliability, those barriers have begun crumbling thanks to technological innovation. Today, we’re going to be looking at some industries that have undergone electrification seemingly despite the odds, for the better.

 

5) Railways

Railways are maybe the most prominent example of successful electrification, with electrified tracks making up nearly 1/3rd of the world’s total railway track length as of 2022. Overall, China takes first place, with around 100,000 km (62,000 mi) of electrified railway, followed by India with over 60,000 km (37,000 mi) of electrified railway, and continuing with Russia, with over 54,000 km (34,000 mi) of electrified railway. With electric locomotives usually costing 20% less than diesel locomotives and the cost to run them being up to 50% less, it has been a no-brainer for governments around the world to invest heavily in them. Electric locomotives even have lower emissions, at between 20% and 35% less carbon per passenger mile than a diesel train. Additionally, as more and more of our energy comes from renewables, the carbon emission numbers are bound to decrease, while diesel locomotives will remain the same.

 

4)Mining

The mining industry is responsible for 4-7% of global CO2 emissions, which makes it an industry greatly in need of electrification. Thankfully, strides are being made in this area, with companies like ABB Australia providing the necessary resources to speed up this transition. They’re making sure that diesel-fueled trucks and machinery are replaced with battery electric vehicles which source their energy from renewable sources. With the price of diesel and other fossil fuels steadily rising, the industry is reevaluating how it makes use of some of these traditional systems coupled with newer battery technology. ABB’s Ability eMine Trolley system aims to reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption by up to 90%. Alternate methods of transporting mined material are also being researched, with conveyors and hoists being at the top of the list. Miners across the world, mindful of the impact of their emissions during extraction and processing and future measures to penalise these, are working faster than ever to reduce emissions by using more and more electricity to run operations.

 

3) Vehicles

While the electrification of vehicles has been going on for the better part of a decade and a half, we’ve finally reached the point where buying an electric car doesn’t mean that you have to make compromises. Gone are the days of low range, shoddy build quality or extremely dangerous fires, with companies like Renault providing a safe and easy way to extinguish fires in case of an accident. Electric pickup trucks have been a point of contention as well, with the likes of the Ford F-150 and Rivian R1T receiving mostly positive press. With residential solar becoming more popular as well, picking an electric car might end up being the better option for a lot of people right now. China has taken over the leadership in this sector, with the largest number of EVs set to be added in the country right upto 2030 and beyond.  The global share of EVs is expected to breach the 25% mark by as early as 2030 in most scenarios today.  This was considered unthinkable just 10 years back.

 

2) Stovetops

Electric stoves have gotten really good. Like, good enough to consider gas stovetops obsolete. For one thing, induction is simply more efficient. All the energy goes to the food, instead of some energy being wasted in heating up the air around the stove. Speaking of heating up the air, induction-based electric stoves are a blessing in tropical climates where complaints about the heat while cooking in the kitchen are regularly echoed. Electric stoves are also simpler to operate. You don’t need to worry about pre-heating a pan or measuring the temperature of whatever you’re cooking. To quote an owner of an electric stove, “My recipes now remind me to cook a dish at “5 dots”, so I do.” The best part though, has to be the cleaning. Being able to touch the stove before spills get time to set in, not having to deal with the little holes in gas-based solutions and the top being a smooth surface overall makes cleaning an electric stove less of a chore. Overall, it might just be time to upgrade.

1) Heat pumps

Proposed as an alternative to furnaces and air conditioners, heat pumps make use of electricity to transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the summers, they move heat from inside the house into the outdoors. Since heat is transported instead of being generated, heat pumps are generally more efficient and provide a better experience. On average, heat pumps can reduce electricity bills from heating by approximately 65% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. Bloomberg recently named the electrification of heat as the next “half a trillion dollar market”. The icing on the cake? They replace expensive gas based equipment in temperate climes.

By Yash Singh

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