We at Enerdata are proud to share our partnership with two local publications based here in Grenoble, France, where we have our headquarters. The Encyclopedia of the Environment and the Encyclopedia of Energy both bring high-quality, scientific writing by academic experts to the public in multiple languages.
Through our partnership, Enerdata is sharing a selection of these articles here, which we think will be of use to our clients, partners, and readers.
Articles from both Encyclopedias on a variety of topics are available below in both English and French. More articles will be added regularly, so check back often!
The flight of birds
The dream of Icarus has haunted mankind for thousands of years. Birds have succeeded in mastering the air for 250 million years and have developed a multitude of techniques such as hovering or non-stop migrations over several thousand kilometres. The study of fossils of the ancestors of birds allows us to understand the anatomical and morphological evolution of birds that enabled them to conquer the sky.
How vertebrate extinctions threaten tropical forests
We are currently experiencing a global collapse of vertebrate populations. This raises alarming concerns about the ecosystems’ resilience, particularly tropical forests. Volcanic islands in the Indian Ocean provide the perfect environment to study the consequences of these extinctions. How do vertebrate extinctions threaten forest dynamics?
Fuel cells enable the electricity conversion into hydrogen via chemical transformations. The hydrogen produced can be used in several end-uses in industry, transport or construction. Thus, this hydrogen contributes to the transition of these consuming sectors towards non-carbon energies. How does a fuel cell work?
Biomass, a massively available and major source of energy, an unsustainable use
Biomass has been used by humans for thousands of years for their vital needs, such as food, heat, shelter, and more. Despite its abundance on the planet, its sustainability is now being questioned, due to its limited regeneration rate in the demographic and economic growth context. How and at which rate is biomass produced, and how much of this stock is used by humans?
Hydraulics and hydroelectricity: the challenges of sustainable development
When applied to the world of energy, the concept of sustainable development often emphasises renewable energies such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro. However, like all energy sources, their impact is not zero. For example, hydropower requires various materials, including concrete, and land to install the plants. How can the social and environmental impacts of this energy source be minimised while maximising its usefulness?
The promises of ecological rehabilitation in port areas
The construction of port infrastructures leads to the total and irreversible destruction of marine ecosystems and threatens coastal marine biodiversity. To conciliate the need for these infrastructures and the need to preserve the ecosystem, some countries are committed to rehabilitating port areas. Should this be considered as a real hope for the preservation of biodiversity or as additional greenwashing?
The inter-sectoral couplings “Power to Gas” and “Power to Heat”: what role in the energy transition? (1st and 2nd parts)
April 19th, 2021 (part 1) One of the main issues with solar and wind energy is their variability. At the same time, hydrogen and biomethane are two promising solutions to decarbonise the energy production. Power-to-gas processes enable to couple these two value chains, and therefore to optimise the whole system, deriving value from the excess renewable electricity generation. Similarly, Power-to-heat can contribute to the energy transition in the heating sector. However, this sector coupling solutions require significant investments, and will only become competitive if a right regulative framework is enforced (part 1). December 14th, 2021 (part 2) A major challenge for solar and wind energy is their intermittency. At the same time, hydrogen and "green gas" produced by methanation are aiming at developing the decarbonisation of energy production. The "Power to gas" processes enable the connection between these different sectors to optimise the entire sector, valuing the surplus electricity from renewable energies. In the same way, the "Power to heat" contributes to this energy transition, for heating. However, these couplings require strong investments and need support from governments to be competitive in open energy markets. Click below for part 2
Solar energy: the theoretical basis
Although solar radiation is the most abundant source of energy on Earth, its use is still quite marginal, even among the other renewable energy sources. This radiation can be converted into heat or electricity, which in both cases requires the use of physical principles to limit losses. How can the amount of sunlight received on a given surface be determined? What parameters influence a solar panel efficiency?
Nuclear energy: a brief history
Discovered barely a century ago, nuclear energy developed strongly during the 20th century, first for military applications and then as an electricity generation technology. It has become a mainstay of the electricity mix in several countries, using different reactor technologies. Who are the pioneering scientists in the field? How was the nuclear programme developed in France and in the world?
Mineral coal: withdrawals and divestments are increasing
Economic activity generates environmental costs, both in terms of resource exploitation and degradation of natural environments. This aspect can no longer be excluded from economic analysis, as was the case in the past, as the consequences are now far from negligible. Beyond standards, tools specific to economic theory have been used to try to regulate these environmental costs more effectively. What are these tools? Are, and will they be suited for this purpose? What are the limits of the economic theory and which could be the impacts on public policies?
Hydraulic storage and power generation
Electricity storage is a major challenge for our energy systems. Today, only hydroelectric dams allow the storage of decarbonated energy in sufficiently large quantities and on sufficiently long time scales. However, the needs are always growing and economic interests depend largely on the regulation of the electricity sector. This article reviews the context in which hydroelectric storage is situated, its role and its capacities according to the different types of installations.
Electricity: from a market regime to a hybrid regime
In countries committed to decarbonisation and security of supply, the public authorities are once again the main players in decision-making on investments in the electricity sector. Indeed, a hybrid regime has been developed in these countries, mixing public authorities and market mechanisms. What are the reasons for the emergence of this regime? Which impacts will it have on the efficiency of electricity markets and the decarbonisation targets of governments?