ChBEs22nd Annual Ashton Cary Lecture

Event Details
Josie Giles
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Contact Josie Giles

Summary Sentence: Nathan S. Lewis presents seminar

Full Summary: Nathan S. Lewis presents the 22nd Annual Ashton Cary Lecture

Nathan S. Lewis, the George L. Argyros Professor and Professor of Chemistry in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology, presents Scientific Challenges in Sustainable Energy Technology as the 22nd Annual Ashton Cary Lecturer.

* Hors d'ovres will be served immediately following the lecture
* Lecture commences at 4:00 PM in L1255 in the Ford ES&T Building

Seminar Abstract
This presentation will describe and evaluate challenges and economics involved with widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies.

First, we estimate the available fossil fuel resources and reserves based on data from the World Energy Assessment and World Energy Council. In conjunction with the current and projected global primary power production rates, we then estimate the remaining years of supply of oil, gas, and coal for use in primary power production. We then compare the price per unit of energy from these sources to those of renewable energy technologies (wind, solar thermal, solar electric, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal) to evaluate the degree to which supply/demand forces stimulate a transition to renewable energy technologies in the next 20-50 years.

Second, we evaluate the greenhouse gas buildup limitations on carbon-based power consumption as an unpriced externality to fossil-fuel consumption, considering global population growth, increased global gross domestic product, and increased energy efficiency per unit of globally averaged GDP, as produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A greenhouse gas constraint on total carbon emissions, in conjunction with global population growth, is projected to drive the demand for carbon-free power well beyond that produced by conventional supply/demand pricing tradeoffs at potentially daunting levels relative to current renewable energy demand levels.

Third, we evaluate the level and time scale of R&D investment needed to produce the required quantity of carbon-free power by 2050.

Fourth, we evaluate the energy potential of renewable energy resources to ascertain which are adequately available to support the projected global carbon-free energy demand.

Fifth, we evaluate the challenges to the chemical sciences to enable cost-effective production of carbon-free power on the needed scale by 2050.

Finally, we discuss the effects of a change in primary power technology on the energy supply infrastructure and the impact of such a change on the modes of energy consumption, as well as additional demands on the chemical sciences to support such a transition in energy supply.

Related Links

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Invited Audience
No audiences were selected.
Ashton Cary, chbe, chemical & biomolecular engineering, lecture, seminar, special lecture
  • Created By: Josie Giles
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: May 20, 2010 - 7:47am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 9:51pm