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Turning Photons into Fuel

This Presentation was created for MCAD's Masters in Sustainable Design program. It covers inadequate utilization of solar resources, challenges with current solar technologies and strategic recommendations to increase solar's contribution energy needs in balance with Earth systems.

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Turning Photons into Fuel

  1. 1. Turning Photons Into Fuel George Cook MCAD Sustainable Design Fall 2015
  2. 2. Solar Potential Earth receives 2X more energy from the sun than all non-renewables combined Unrealized potential: Only 1% of worldwide electricity generated by solar
  3. 3. Solar Growth Trajectory U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates growth from 13% to 18% by 2040 All renewables combined Solar continues to be minority share of renewable mix
  4. 4. IPCC Targets EIA’s Estimates: Trajectory between “maintain” & “migrate” Nowhere near the IPCC target EIA
  5. 5. Current Challenges
  6. 6. Most panels are made in China Chinese share is expected to rise to 70% by 2017
  7. 7. Solar PV manufacturing requires lots of electricity
  8. 8. 73% of China’s electricity came from coal last year Photo: Beijing Air Pollution by Kentaro Iemoto
  9. 9. Sludge & contaminated water California, produced 46.5 million pounds of sludge and contaminated water from 2007 through 2011.
  10. 10. Silicon production health risks Silicosis in miners
  11. 11. Toxic chemicals in manufacturing and end-of-life Silicon tetrachloride, hydrofluoric acid, cadmium telluride, cadmium sulfide, gallium arsenide…
  12. 12. Resource scarcity Silicon tetrachloride, hydrofluoric acid, cadmium telluride, cadmium sulfide, gallium arsenide…
  13. 13. Incremental Solutions Reduce impacts from toxic substances Improve efficiencies, lower costs Power as a service Practice Extended Producer Responsibility
  14. 14. Strategic Recommendations
  15. 15. Support Earth Systems Move beyond incremental change Instill net-positive values and culture Stay in planetary boundaries
  16. 16. Learn from Living Systems Physical, chemical & biological processes Self-sustaining Balancing growth & decay
  17. 17. Real world examples Aquagy: Carbon- negative wastewater treatment ARDEC Algae-based demilitarization Boeing biofuels from halophytes + recycling aquaculture waste Photo: Clean Technica
  18. 18. Real world R&D, prototypes Hydrogen from algae:
 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Bioreactors for buildings: BIQ prototype, 
 Grow Energy, Inc. “Bionic Leaf” research: Harvard’s Wyss Institute
  19. 19. Real world R&D (continued) Hematite based artificial photosynthesis research: Boston College Mimicking nature to split water: 
 Max Planck Institute Thin layer manganese oxide to improve efficiency and cost: 
 Florida State University
  20. 20. Conclusions Solar PV: Continue to iterate, improve and innovate. Continue to grow share. Design solutions to replace chemical energy that close the carbon loop. Use an Earth systems perspective: Holistic designs that value ecosystems services on an equal footing.
  21. 21. Research references: The Harvard Clean Energy Project. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://cleanenergy.molecularspace.org/about-cep/ Philipp Beiter. “2014 Renewable Energy Data Book. U.S.” Department of Energy. (2015 November) p.49 “Annual Energy Outlook 2015.” U.S. Energy Information Administration With Projections to 2040. (2015 April). p ES-6 Susan Joy Hassol. “Emissions Reductions Needed to Stabilize Climate Questions and Answers.” Presidential Climate Action Project. (2011). p. 4 “Breakdown of Electricity Generation by Energy Source.” The Shift Project Data Portal. U.S. EIA Historical Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.tsp-data-portal.org/Breakdown-of-Electricity-Generation-by-Energy-Source “Solar Panel Manufacturing is Greener in Europe than China.” Northwestern University News Center. (2014, May 19). Retrieved from: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2014/05/solar-panel-manufacturing-is- greener-in-europe-than-china.html Dustin Mulvaney. “Solar Energy Isn’t Always as Green as You Think.” IEEE. (2014, August 16). Retrieved from: http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/solar-energy-isnt-always-as-green-as-you-think J. Matthew Roney. “China’s Solar Panel Production to Double by 2017.” Earth Policy Institute. (2014 July 8). Retrieved from: http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2014/highlights47 “Safeguards against silicosis in mining.” Mining Technology. (2011 September 20). Retrieved from: http://www.mining-technology.com/features/feature130267/ Jonathan Stempel. “China's JinkoSolar must face U.S. lawsuit over pollution, protests.” Reuters-Environment. (2014 July 31). Retrieved from http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-jinkosolar-lawsuit-idUKKBN0G020H20140731 Dustin Mulvaney. “Solar Energy Isn’t Always as Green as You Think.” IEEE. (2014, August 16). Retrieved from: http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/solar-energy-isnt-always-as-green-as-you-think Christina Nunez. “How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?” National Geographic. (2014 November 11). Retrieved from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2014/11/141111-solar-panel-manufacturing- sustainability-ranking/ Jason Dearen. “Solar industry grapples with hazardous wastes.” Associated Press. (2013 February 10). Retrieved from: http://news.yahoo.com/solar-industry-grapples-hazardous-wastes-184756813.html?nf=1 Nicola Jones. “A Scarcity of Rare Metals Is Hindering Green Technologies.” Yale University-environment360. (2013 November 18). Retrieved from http://e360.yale.edu/feature/ a_scarcity_of_rare_metals_is_hindering_green_technologies/2711 Dustin Mulvaney. “Solar Energy Isn’t Always as Green as You Think.” IEEE. (2014 August 16). Retrieved from: http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/solar-energy-isnt-always-as-green-as-you-think Bill Scanlon. “New solar cell is more efficient, less costly.” phys.org. (2013 November 11). Retrieved from http://phys.org/news/2013-11-solar-cell-efficient-costly.html David Feldman & Elaine Ulrich. “Shared Solar: Current Landscape, Market Potential, and the Impact of Federal Securities Regulation.” National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2015 April). p V. Lynn Yarris. “Quantum Secrets of Photosynthesis Revealed.” Berkeley Lab Research News. (2007 April 12). Retrieved from: http://www2.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/PBD-quantum-secrets.html Alan Betts. “Our Responsibilities for Managing the Earth System.” alanbetts.com. (2010 December 8). Retrieved from: http://alanbetts.com/workspace/uploads/publicscientist-and-managingearthakb-1319895630.pdf “Planetary boundaries.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_boundaries “Sustainable Water, Wastewater and Energy.” Aquagy, Inc. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://aquagy.net/sustainable_wastewater_treatment.html “Joule Plants: Heading for Scale.” Joule Unlimited, Inc. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.jouleunlimited.com/joule-plants-heading-scale Calloway, Audra. “Picatinny Arsenal engineers cook up new recipe for biofuel.” (2015 December 1). Retrieved from: http://www.army.mil/article/159178/Picatinny_Arsenal_engineers_cook_up_new_recipe_for_biofuel/ Shahan, Zachary. “Boeing Biofuel Breakthrough — This Is A BIG Deal (Interview With Boeing’s Biofuel Director).” Clean Technica. (2014 January 27). Retrieved from: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/27/boeing-biofuel- breakthrough-big-deal/#byzVOlo8rZvcVC7k.99 “Microbes map path toward renewable energy future.” acific Northwest National Laboratory. (2015 November 11). http://www.rdmag.com/news/2015/11/microbes-map-path-toward-renewable-energy-future Steadman, Ian. “Hamburg Unveils World’s First Algae-Powered Building.” Wired UK. (2013 April 16). Retrieved from: http://www.wired.com/2013/04/algae-powered-building/ “Growing Algae for a Greener World” Grow Energy. (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.growenergy.org Cooney, Elizabeth. “Bionic Leaf.” Harvard Medical School. (2015, February 9). Retrieved from: https://hms.harvard.edu/news/bionic-leaf “Rust Helps Boston College Researchers Power Up Artificial Photosynthesis.” Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs. (2013 October). Retrieved from: http://www.bc.edu/offices/pubaf/news/2013-sep-oct/boston- college-chemist-dunwei-wang-powers-up-artificial-photosyn.html “Solar fuels as generated by nature.” Max Planck Institute (2014, August 20). Retrieved from: http://www.mpg.de/8373743/photosynthetic-water-splitting Frangoul, Anmar. “Power plant: High-tech photosynthesis.” Florida State University College of Engineering. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.eng.fsu.edu/research/researchers_article.html?s=high-tech-photosynthesis “High-Temperature Thermochemical Storage With Redox-Stable Perovskites For Concentrating Solar Power.” Advanced Energy Systems Group. Colorado School of Mines. http://aes.mines.edu/hightemp_TCS.html “Study shows value of combining solar thermal energy with biomass gasification to produce natural gas substitute” phys.org (2015 February 9). http://phys.org/news/2015-02-combining-solar-thermal-energy-biomass.html Andrews, Roger. “Renewable Energy Growth in Perspective.” Energy Matters blog. (2014 July 14). http://euanmearns.com/renewable-energy-growth-in-perspective/ Schumacher, EF. A Guide for the Perplexed. (1977). ISBN 0-224-01496-X. Excerpt retrieved from: http://www.philosophymagazine.com/others/MO_Schumacher_Perplexed.html#Chapter11

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