Executive Summary: Thermoelectric power production at risk, owing to current and projected water scarcity and rising stream temperatures, is assessed for the contiguous United States at decadal scales. Regional water scarcity is driven by climate variability and change, as well as by multi-sector water demand.
If methane, the main component of natural gas, can be efficiently converted to liquid fuels, world reserves of methane could satisfy the demand for transportation fuels in addition to use in other sectors. However, the direct activation of strong C-H bonds in methane and conversion to desired products remains a difficult technological challenge.
ABSTRACT: In production of liquid fuels, the enormous barriers that face plausible substitutes for fossil fuel sources are derived from two factors: the lowest-cost economics of commodities and the logistics of implementation of new technologies at immense scale. These barriers make the development of alternatives to petroleum one of the most challenging problems faced by human society.
ABSTRACT: Biofuels are by now a well-established component of the liquid fuels market and will continue to grow in importance for both economic and environmental reasons. To date, all commercial approaches to biofuels involve photosynthetic capture of solar radiation and conversion to reduced carbon; however, the low efficiency inherent to photosynthetic systems presents significant challenges to scaling.
ABSTRACT: Public policies at both the state and federal levels in the United States and a variety of technological and economic changes are poised to significantly alter both the demand for and supply of electricity in the country over the next several decades.
ABSTRACT: After a century of unprecedented growth in science, technology, and the economy, we now face tremendous challenges to our ability to fuel the future: a fluctuating oil price, a changing climate, and continued dependence on unreliable energy sources. These problems are increasingly personal, and the demand for solutions becomes increasingly urgent. There are many changes that we must make to address these challenges, but the ultimate solution(s) will only come from fundamental innovations in science and technology.
ABSTRACT: My parents nurtured my awareness of the big problems facing our world and throughout my life have supported me in my desire to find solutions, even though this meant I was not following any kind of conventional career path. I have also been fortunate to have friends, colleagues, and my own wife and family, who have encouraged me in hard times, and never doubted that devoting my life to working on solutions to climate change was what I should be doing.
ABSTRACT: Energy storage has mainly focused on electrochemical systems. However, more than 90% of the world's primary energy generation is consumed or wasted thermally. Thermal energy storage has a broad and critical role to play in making energy use more sustainable for heating and cooling, solar energy harvesting, and other applications. Thermal storage technologies are still based on solutions developed decades ago, such as molten salt, ice, and paraffin phase-change systems, whose performance and cost do not merit widerscale adoption. Progress in materials science, chemistry, and engineering may lead to dramatic breakthroughs in thermal energy storage that could improve the efficiency with which we produce, distribute, and consume energy.
ABSTRACT: The world is in transition and is offering possibly the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century. The question is: Can we grab it? I believe we can, but we need to be both smart and strategic about it. Let me explain this through a macro-picture and some global trends.
ABSTRACT: In 1987, Nokia launched its first handheld mobile phone, the Mobira Cityman. The Cityman weighed in at about 2 pounds, packed a single hour of battery life, and cost thousands of dollars. While utterly revolutionary at the time, our kids today would not even recognize this ancient behemoth.