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Emerging Clean Energy Technology

Emerging Clean Energy Technology

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We’re on track to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions with the technology that exists today. But to get to net-zero, we'll need a variety of technologies that don't exist yet at the commercial scale. 

That’s why we’re collaborating on research and development to advance these important innovations and advocating for effective policies to help ensure they are ready to deploy. Here are some technologies we’re watching closely.

Rendering of a reference design nuclear plant.

Advanced nuclear

In the U.S., dozens of companies are in various phases of developing small modular reactor and advanced reactor technologies. These technologies are expected to be available later this decade.
Small modular reactors are cooled by water like traditional nuclear reactors. Advanced reactors are cooled by molten salt, helium gas or liquid metal. Some advanced reactors also provide thermal storage that saves energy to be used when customers need it most.
Small modular reactors are one of the most promising emerging technologies capable of producing 50-300 megawatts of carbon-free energy and offering many safety, environmental and economic benefits. Advanced reactors also show promise, but they currently have more timeline uncertainty due to differences in regulatory requirements, technology maturity and fuel availability.
Duke Energy plans to build advanced nuclear technologies in the 2030s and beyond to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Nuclear power is the only carbon-free energy source that is always on and available 24 hours a day while also complementing renewables like solar and wind power.

View from the top of a wind turbine.

Next-generation renewable energy

The industry is currently advancing solar energy by designing module and inverter upgrades to increase efficiency and generation. Wind technology is also advancing through the design of taller towers and bigger blades, as well as efforts to address reliability concerns, such as weatherization of equipment. 
Duke Energy is actively engaged with the industry and public policy makers on the integration of advanced renewable energy that can further diversify its energy infrastructure, while meeting the needs of customers.

An image of a hydrogen storage tank.


Hydrogen and other low- or zero-carbon fuels can facilitate a long-term natural gas infrastructure transition. Many existing natural gas turbines can already co-fire hydrogen, for example, and future models could run on 100% hydrogen. 

Cost-effective, low- or zero-carbon production and safe transportation methods are key to the development of these fuels. 

Duke Energy is actively evaluating hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels through industry work groups and partnerships.
A pumped storage hydroelectric facility.

Energy storage 

Long-duration energy storage includes a wide range of thermal, mechanical and chemical technologies capable of storing energy for days, weeks or even seasons. 

These technologies are at various stages of maturity. Compressed air and pumped hydro systems are the most mature, but siting and cost challenges limit their deployment.

Duke Energy has actively deployed long duration storage since the 1970s and is currently monitoring and piloting multiple emerging technologies expected to be commercialized within 5 years. 

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