Rodolfo Taccani is assistant professor at the Department of Engineering and Architecture at the University of Trieste, Italy. Main research interests regard analysis and optimization of energy conversion systems with particular reference to fuel cells plants. He has coordinated many research projects regarding the development of advanced energy conversion systems. His professional experience includes power plants design, development and commissioning.
Lecture: Power plants, today and tomorrow
In the coming decades, electricity’s share of total global energy is expected to continue to grow, and more efficient processes will be used for electricity production. It is envisioned that distributed generation will contribute to reduce fossil fuel utilization and will mitigate environmental problems. The lecture presents the technologies today used in the power plants pointing out pros and cons in terms of fuel efficiency and environmental issues. In the last part of the lecture, an overview of the solutions that could be adopted in the near future is presented.
Lecture: Fuel cell and hydrogen: the post-Fukushima strategy
The growing share of renewable energy is causing new conflicts as it is more difficult to operate efficiently the traditional plants and new transmission lines and storage capacities are required. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are being re-examined in connection with this energy turnaround and the environmental sustainability. Wider use of fuel cells promises to change the standard home-energy model by generating electricity and heat close to where it is consumed. In Europe, Germany is one of the leaders in this technology field, and hydrogen and fuel cells have been supported from decades. Japan’s ENE-FARM program is probably the most successful fuel cell commercialization program in the world. Since 2009 ENE-FARM has supported the deployment of over 120,000 residential fuel cell units and is providing proof that long term public-private partnerships can push new technology into the marketplace. Whether or not hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies will acquire social acceptance depends not only on their energy efficiency and the reduction of operating costs, but also on how the end-users will be involved and informed about the technology development.