The All-Electric Society operates with an energy cycle entirely fuelled by electricity derived from renewable sources. Sustainably generated electricity is virtually the ‘primary energy source’. However, the final energy used is not always electricity. Security of supply and a comprehensive coupling of the electricity, building, mobility, infrastructure, and industrial sectors will only become reality if electrical energy is also used as the basis to produce synthetic fuels (e-fuels) through power-to-gas and power-to-liquid technologies.
In the vision of the All Electric Society, a complete and sustainable energy turnaround is already on the horizon. Electrical energy can be generated from natural regenerative sources almost indefinitely and at low marginal costs. E-fuels can solve storage and transport issues. This will enable the challenges of renewable energy volatility to be successfully overcome. Moreover, we can continue using existing technologies and infrastructures for e-fuels.
Power-to-X: Shaping Future Energy
Thanks to the utilisation of Power-to-X technologies, energy will not only be usable in the form of electricity within the All Electric Society.
The basis for the energy mix of the future is hydrogen, which is produced from regenerative electrical energy and is either used directly as an energy storage form or an energy source (hydrogen economy) or processed into methane or liquid fuels by enriching it with CO₂ from the atmosphere (CO 2 circular economy).
Against this background, energy scenarios and energy supply will be based on the use of existing infrastructures and technologies (gas pipelines, gas storage facilities, combined heat and power generation, filling stations) and transport options (LNG tankers). Power-to-X technologies in the form described are CO₂-neutral. They have the potential to gradually replace fossil fuels completely in the future.
Sector Coupling – the holistic approach
The key to the All Electric Society lies in the possibility of economic implementation. With Power-to-X technologies, we do not yet have the scaling effects for cost reduction that have been experienced to a large extent with solar power technology, for example.
For an equivalent momentum to pick up, solutions must be as economical and cost-efficient as possible. This can be achieved by means of energy efficiency and by optimising the energy and data-related couplings and balancing all energy consumers, generators, and potential storage options in the best way possible.
This approach, known as sector coupling, requires the comprehensive electrification, digitalisation, and automation of all areas, such as energy, infrastructure, buildings, mobility, and industry to create ‘smart sectors’. The integration of all areas provides the basis for the implementation of an All Electric Society. This ‘smart’ sector coupling describes a field of applications in which Phoenix Contact has been active with its products and solutions for years.