The 9 most disruptive tech trends of 2019: Page 2 of 9

2019 revealed some surprising developments in cobots, emerging energy, AI, and cybersecurity.

2.) Power generation – Gen IV nuclear and ocean windmills

The pebble-bed reactor.
(Image source: US Dept. of Energy and X-Energy)

Designing nuclear power systems that are both safer, sustainable,and cheaper than in the past has been the goal of the nuclear industry for many years. The more notable of these systems are the new Generation IV (Gen IV) reactors. Gen IVs are a set of nuclear reactor designs being considered for commercial applications by the Generation IV International Forum. These designs include thermal reactors, fast reactors, and Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) technologies. One implementation of the latter is the so-called pebble-bed reactor (PBR) that features spherical fuel elements called pebbles.

Besides nuclear, the other often forgotten energy source is wind powered turbines. Unfortunately, the global onshore wind energy market is saturated in many developed countries due to a lack of land availability. However, offshore wind installations have the potential to provide enormous amounts of power for the global market.

One disadvantage is that offshore technology is limited to relatively shallow depths of less than 50 meters, significantly restricting where they can be installed. Floating turbines could substantially increase the placement of offshore wind power sources to include areas with very deep coast lines like the west coast of the US and Japan, and the deeper waters in Europe’s North Sea.

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