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Scientific Challenges in the Development of Sustainable Energy

The presentation will describe and evaluate the challenges, both technical, political, and economic, involved with widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies.
1. We present estimates of the available fossil fuel resources and reserves and compare their price per unit of energy of these sources to those of renewable energy technologies (wind, solar thermal, solar electric, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal).
2. Based on the IPCC, we evaluate the greenhouse gas buildup limitations on carbon-based power consumption. The greenhouse gas constraint is projected to drive the demand for carbon-free power well beyond that produced by conventional supply/demand pricing tradeoffs.
3. We evaluate the level and timescale of R&D investment that is needed to produce the required quantity of carbon-free power by the 2050 timeframe, to support the expected global energy demand for carbon-free power.
4. We evaluate the energy potential of various renewable energy resources to ascertain which resources are adequately available globally to support the projected global carbon-free energy demand requirements.
5. We evaluate the challenges to the chemical sciences to enable the cost-effective production of carbon-free power on the needed scale by 2050 timeframe.
6. Finally we discuss the effects of a change in primary power technology on the energy supply infrastructure and discuss the impact of such a change on the modes of energy consumption by the energy consume and additional demands on the chemical sciences to support such a transition in energy supply.
Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Prof. Nathan S. Lewis, George L. Argyros Professor and Professor of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd.,m/c 127-72
Dec 09, 2004   17:15

ETH Zentrum, Building ML , Room: H 44
Contact Person:

Prof. M. Morari
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