Accenture’s study, Betting on Science: Disruptive Technologies in Transport Fuels, identifies 12 technologies with potential to disrupt the current supply, demand, and GHG forecasts.
Accenture’s definition of disruptive technologies are those that are:
• Scaleable: Greater than 20 percent potential impact on hydrocarbon fuel demand by 2030.
• GHG impact: Savings greater than 30 percent relative to the hydrocarbon it is replacing.
• Cost: Competitive at an oil price of $45 to $90 per barrel, at commercial date.
• Time to market: Commercialization date in less than five years.
The technologies are divided into three groups: evolutionary, revolutionary and the game changer.
Accenture identifies plug-in electric vehicles as the most disruptive of all technologies, thus identified as the game changer, with many opportunities that EVs could bring in optimizing generation and transportation resources. Though without regulatory incentives, the up-front cost and performance of batteries may hinder performance.
Summary of Key Findings: The Game Changer – Electrification
High potential, but battery cost and availability remain challenges. Plug-in electric vehicles have received increasing amounts of attention from government and industry, indicating they will be part of the future vehicle landscape, with Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) likely to be the most disruptive model within the next five years. PHEVs benefit from lower-running costs than both internal combustion engines and HEVs, as well as extended driving range over EVs, but the capital cost of the battery and availability limitations still need to be overcome for the economics to work favorably without regulatory incentives. Moreover, while PHEVs have the potential to be emission-free, the reduction in GHG emissions is highly dependent on the generation mix and will therefore vary by country. The ability of the grid to withstand PHEV penetration rates will further vary by country. However, using smart, off-peak charging, the grid will be able to manage initial PHEV penetration and enable load leveling for utilities.
Controlled charging infrastructure development benefiting from government support. Controlled charging enables utilities to manage energy demand more effectively and consumers to benefit from lower off-peak tariffs. This will be key in delivering the aspirations of widespread electrification of vehicles. Municipalities across the globe have announced ambitious roll-outs of charging point infrastructure. The growth of the controlled charging market will be heavily dependent on the uptake of plug-in electric vehicles and how incentives for the growth of PHEVs and EVs are driven/managed by policymakers and businesses.
A long-term opportunity, dependent on significant PHEV/EV scale. V2G is technically feasible with demonstration projects currently underway. These projects vary in focus, with some assessing the communications between the vehicle and the grid, some looking at how to maximize vehicle storage to increase the quantity of renewables being used, and some looking at a more integrated smart grid offering. All projects, albeit in the early stages, have proven that V2G has the potential to significantly disrupt the supply and demand relationships—with end-electricity consumers potentially becoming an essential grid storage resource—and change both the electric power and transport fuels landscapes. (emphasis added) However, to reach this potential, V2G is dependent upon the commercialization of electric-drive vehicles, cooperation between the various industry players, and the education of consumers. Initial electrification initiatives will determine the latter’s potential success.
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