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New recommendations for novel materials in renewable energy to secure long term reliability

New position paper from DNV GL’s Materials Research Programme looks at the latest developments in materials and shows the need for establishing long term reliability of novel materials deployed in renewable energy systems.

Following the landmark climate accord in Paris, the world is looking to a rapid upscaling of wind and solar energy in the energy mix in the coming decade and beyond. This will only be made possible, says DNV GL, with concomitant developments in materials, including:

  • alternative semiconductor material in photovoltaics (e.g. halide perovskite)
  • new PV module coatings, materials and coatings for the harsh conditions of CSP and thermal energy storage
  • hybrid reinforcements of wind turbine blades
  • cheaper permanent magnets in gearless direct drive wind turbines
  • a range of innovative battery chemistries in energy storage systems.

For any of these novel materials to be commercially viable, they should not only offer a cheaper and better alternative to existing materials, but must also be readily available and reliable over long periods of time. “Trade-offs between availability, cost and performance may be made, but in all cases long-term reliability is a key requirement for materials used in the energy industry”, says Liu Cao, researcher at DNV GL Research & Innovation and lead author of the position paper. Materials reliability is mainly a function of long term degradation, which is difficult to model in service conditions and often not adequately assessed in the testing of systems. More specifically, DNV GL provides evidence for the following insights:

  1. Single average degradation rate is an inadequate metric of long-term performance
  2. Qualification tests are insufficient for lifetime assessment
  3. Accelerated laboratory tests may not reveal all the degradation mechanisms
  4. Real-time monitoring is valuable, but unable to predict lifetime alone

To address these challenges, DNV GL proposes the following:

  • Coupling empirical models to a fundamental understanding of degradation. 
  • Transforming rich and increasingly ubiquitous sensor data into predictive models. DNV GL’s BatteryXT is an example of a predictive tool estimating battery performance and life based on abundant historical data and statistical analyses.  
  • Deploying a Bayesian network approach to bring together diverse sources of knowledge of relevance to the performance and degradation of materials. For example, a Bayesian network model, MARVTM, has enabled the assembly of diverse data for pipeline risk assessment. A similar approach could be applied to risk assessment for renewable energy and energy storage systems.

About DNV GL
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About DNV GL – Strategic Research & Innovation
DNV GL is a leading technology innovator, predicting likely technology and risk-related changes and developments. We have deep expertise in the interaction of technology, complex systems and people in safety-critical industries – and how these factors can be combined for efficient, sustainable outcomes. Our ability to add value is fuelled by an industry-leading research & innovation programme. At present, this is mainly focused on the themes of connectivity and big data as well as climate change and the future energy mix.

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A Position Paper from DNV GL Strategic Research & Innovation is intended to highlight findings from our research programmes.