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The Sustainable Energy Challenge with George Crabtree

Back in December i went to an interesting talk at MIT by George Crabtree - Argonne Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory.  The talk was sponsored by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and can be watched online here.  The abstract of his talk was:

The global dependence on fossil fuel is among the greatest challenges facing our economic, social and political future. The uncertainty of imported oil threatens global energy security, the pollution of fossil combustion threatens human health, and the emission of greenhouse gases threatens global climate. Meeting the demand for double the current global energy use in the next 50 years without damaging security, environment or climate requires finding alternative sources of energy that are clean, abundant, accessible and sustainable. Electricity and hydrogen, once produced, meet these criteria and are among the most versatile of energy carriers. Research challenges that would enable the production, storage, and use of electricity and hydrogen as sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel will be presented.

It was a very interesting talk, and Dr. Crabtree was very responsive to questions from the audience.  The main messages i took home from the presentation is:

  • Hydrogen should be our means of energy storage (slide 19)
  • We should use super conductors as our transmission lines from coast to coast and continent to continent (slides 13,17,30,31)
  • We should be harvesting all of our energy from the sun (slide 22,23)

However as he points out, the only thing standing in our way (and this is quite a big thing) is that we do not yet have any of these technologies nor materials that are mature enough for a solution (slide 25,34,35).

The referenced slides can be found in his presentation here. (Warning: Power Point)

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