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Three Grand Challenges for Energy Science and Sustainability

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Friday, November 4, 2022 12pm to 1pm

Fashion by Marina Debris

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Friday, November 4, 2022 12pm to 1pm

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Addressing the very sustainability of the earth system, global climate, and our energy use has now become a leading area of scientific research. The sciences of light-matter interactions and electrochemistry are yielding advances that are opening paths for conceptually new sustainable energy technologies that have not previously been achievable. I will discuss three such “grand challenge” examples. A first grand challenge is generation of dispatchable, baseload solar electricity that doesn’t exhibit the intermittency of conventional solar photovoltaic systems, enabling solar power generation during both daytime and nighttime. A second grand challenge is that of sustainable, carbon-net-zero chemical fuels from sunlight, suitable for aviation and heavy transport use, from advances in photoelectrochemical water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction. This requires new approaches to designing solar fuels systems with unprecedented efficiency, durability, and chemical selectivity. The third grand challenge is realization globally scalable carbon dioxide capture and removal, using sunlight, electrochemical synthesis, and the world’s oceans.

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