Richard Smalley


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Richard Smalley

  1. 1. The Energy Challenge CONTEXT SCALE
  2. 2. Humanity’s Top 10 Problems for Next 50 Years 1. Energy 2. Water 3. Food 4. Environment 5. Poverty 6. Terrorism and War 7. Disease 8. Education 9. Democracy 10.Population Richard E. Smalley, “Our Energy Challenge” CONTEXT: The Nobel Laureate’s View
  3. 3. More energy, less CO2 CONTEXT: The “Miller Lite” Summary “Tastes great, less filling” SCALE: How much more energy? How much less CO2? How long? What new technology? What new infrastructure?
  4. 4. Energy is one of the Grand Challenges of our time Energy is not a monolithic issue supply, demand, conservation, application, scale, location, independence, environment, climate change, GDP, carbon intensity, infrastructure, technology, policy, sustainability, public acceptance… Fossil fuels will be important throughout this century Renewables are growing rapidly, but from a very small base Efficiency/conservation has the best payback Each barrel of oil saved keeps $ in our pockets and ~1000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere! BUT we cannot save our way to meeting the world’s future energy needs. Energy Summary
  5. 5. Energy – World Scale Dimensions 1 exajoule (EJ) = 10 Joules 1 Quadrillion BTU (Quad) = 10 BTU 1 Terawatt (TW)=10 Gigawatts=10 Megawatts=10 kilowatts 18 15 3 1 TWyr ≈ 30 Quads ≈ 30 EJ World energy consumption ≈ 400 Quads/yr US Energy Consumption ≈ 100 Quads/yr 6 9 US daily consumption: 20 million barrels of oil 60 billion cubic feet of natural gas 3 million tons of coal Energy content of 1 cubic foot of natural gas = 1000 BTU Energy content of 1 gallon of gasoline = 125,000 BTU
  6. 6. “We are not going to have energy independence as long as the US relies on the internal combustion engine.” James R. Schlesinger former Secretary of Energy
  7. 7. Coal use will increase under any foreseeable scenario because it is cheap and abundant. CO2 capture and sequestration is the critical enabling technology that would reduce CO2 emissions significantly while also allowing coal to meet the world’s pressing energy needs.” - MIT report, “The Future of Coal” March 2007 Renewables will not play a large role in primary power generation unless/until: –technological/cost breakthroughs are achieved, or –unpriced externalities are introduced (e.g., environmentally driven carbon taxes) Nate Lewis, Caltech
  8. 8. US Energy Mix Electricity Generation (~40% of total): 50% Coal, 18% Natural gas, 3% Petroleum Transportation Fuels (~30 % of total): 96% Petroleum Very little overlap between energy sources for these two dominant sectors!
  9. 9. + 1.6%/yr - 1.0%/yr N. S. Lewis and D. G. Nocera, PNAS, 103, 15729 (2006) World Energy Statistics and Projections
  10. 10. At minimum, we need to triple global energy supply in this century. Supply Perspective:
  11. 11. 1990: 12 TW 2050: 28 TW Total Primary Power vs. Year
  12. 12. More Energy, but Less CO2 World in 2100 will need: 3X current energy production <1/3 current CO2 emissions = 10X less CO2 emitted per unit of energy used
  13. 13. Carbon-Free Primary Power Need
  14. 14. = 7.4GtC = 1.9GtC
  15. 15. Sir David King, 2007 presentation to AAAS
  16. 16. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) @ Summit on America’s Energy Future 3/13/08
  17. 17. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) @ Summit on America’s Energy Future 3/13/08
  18. 18. • Wind - Has potential to meet a large fraction of electricity needs - Reliability, storage, transmission issues • Solar - Has potential to meet a significant fraction of electricity needs - Suitable for distributed generation - Reliability, storage issues • Biomass - Has potential to replace fraction of petroleum for transportation - Questionable energy benefit for corn ethanol - Land and water issues, competition with food production Potential of Renewable Energy Resources
  19. 19. There is no single energy source or technology that will “solve” our energy and environmental needs We need to develop a range of technologies to fuller potential Technology alone is likely not enough Efficiency/conservation has the best payback BUT we cannot save our way to meeting the world’s future energy needs.