Our energy future
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Our Energy Future …. Robert Rosner Director Argonne National Laboratory Climate Change Forum #4: “How can we meet our future energy needs without jeopardizing our planet’s health?” Chicago Cultural Center June 4, 2006.

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Our energy future

Our Energy Future …

Robert Rosner

Director

Argonne National Laboratory

Climate Change Forum #4: “How can we meet our future energy needs without jeopardizing our planet’s health?”

Chicago Cultural Center

June 4, 2006


R e smalley s view of humanity s top ten problems for the next 50 years
R.E. Smalley’s view of Humanity’s Top Ten Problems for the next 50 years …

  • ENERGY

  • WATER

  • FOOD

  • ENVIRONMENT

  • POVERTY

  • TERRORISM & WAR

  • DISEASE

  • EDUCATION

  • DEMOCRACY

  • POPULATION

… that was the view in 2005 … and it’s much more sobering today


That was the view of 2005 and it s much more sobering today only one year later

Millions of Barrels per day (“Oil Equivalent”) the next 50 years …

300

200

100

0

1860 1900 1940 1980 2020 2060 2100

… that was the view of 2005 - and it’s much more sobering today, only one year later …

  • Population growth projections

    • 2004: ~ 6.5 billion people

    • 2050: ~ 10 billion people

  • Energy demand growth

    • Population increase

    • Increased expectations

Source: John F. Bookout (President, Shell USA) ,“Two Centuries of Fossil Fuel Energy” International Geological Congress, Washington DC; July 10,1985.

Episodes, vol. 12, 257-262 (1989).


What i will talk about
What I will talk about … the next 50 years …

  • Some numbers, to put things into context …

  • An overview of where we are heading …

    • Future energy demands/supply requirements

    • Future supply constraints

  • Some comments on alternative future energy ‘suppliers’


But first some truth in advertising
… but first, some ‘truth in advertising’! the next 50 years …

  • I’m the director of Argonne National Laboratory

  • Argonne is heavily involved in many aspects of the energy problem, such as research on

    • Various types of batteries, from Li-ion to Hydrogen fuel cells

    • Biofuels

    • Hydrogen as a transport fuel

    • Clean diesel engines

    • Hybrid power trains

    • Nuclear energy (fuels, reprocessing, reactor design, nonproliferation, …)

    • Econometric modeling of various energy technologies

  • This means that I will have to be especially vigilant to avoid presenting an ‘informacial’ to you!!

  • Remember: ‘energy’ is an extremely contentious topics

    • Extensive disputes about costs, safety, environmental impacts, …

    • Advocates dominate discussions - ‘honest brokers’ are few and far between …


So let s start by talking numbers first electricity
So: let’s start by talking numbers … first, electricity the next 50 years …

  • US energy needs break down into:

    • Electricity generation: ~ 40%

    • Transport (cars, …): ~ 30%

    • Heat: ~ 30%

  • Let’s assume that a ‘typical’ abode in the US requires ~ 5 kW on average (including transmission losses, …); the average person uses ~ 1.4kW

    • Heating/cooling ~ 42%; lighting/appliances ~ 36%; water heating ~ 14%; refrigeration ~ 9%

    • A city of 1,000,000 requires ~1.4 GW of power

    • Large stationary power plants typically produce 1-2 GW: so 1,000,000 people need ~ 1-2 large power plants

    • “Perfect” solar: ~1 kW/sq.meter, 8 hrs/day -> 1.7 sq. km area

    • Wind: 1 MW/turbine -> 1,400 turbines


So let s start by talking numbers second transport
So: let’s start by talking numbers … second, transport the next 50 years …

  • Average American uses 500 gallons of gasoline/year

  • The energy contents of 500 gallons of gasoline is equivalent to

    • ~ 3 short tons of coal

    • ~ 60,000 cubic feet of natural gas

    • ~ 450 gallons of diesel fuel

    • ~ 991 gallons of methanol

    • ~ 1925 gallons of liquid hydrogen gas(H2 provides 33.33 kW-hr/kg; liquid H2 at -253 C has an energy density of 2.36 kW-hr/liter)

    • ~ 6060 gallons of 30 Mpa high-pressure hydrogen gas (H2 has an energy density of 0.75 kW-hr/liter)

  • What does it take to produce (for example) enough hydrogen to replace gasoline?

    • ~ 240 GW, using high-temperature electrolysis or thermochemical H2O splitting -- thus, hundreds of (nuclear) powerplants, or hundreds of thousands of MW wind turbines, or …

  • 500 gallons of gasoline ~ 62 million Btu

  • ~ 18,171 kW-hr (1 kw-hr = 3,412 Btu)


A summary overview of today and tomorrow
A summary overview of ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ … the next 50 years …

R.E. Smalley’s conjecture for 2050…

Current energy sources …

14.5 Terawatts

220 M BOE/day

30 -- 60 Terawatts

450 – 900 MBOE/day


The point is
The point is … the next 50 years …

  • Gasoline (and oil products in general) are today amazingly efficient in packaging energy in an

    • easily obtained and

    • easily transportable way

  • All of the alternatives are burdened with relative disadvantages, which come in many flavors …

    • Environmentally not benign

    • Costly

    • Inefficient, or ineffective

  • These disadvantages are the fundamental reason that oil still dominates …


What are some of the considerations for future energy options
What are some of the considerations for future energy options?

  • Environmental impacts/considerations

    • Global warming: We have no choice but to implement primary energy sources that do not continue to impact the Earth’s atmosphere

      • Carbon-based fuels, with sequestration or based on renewables

      • Non-carbon based energy sources

    • Minimization of toxic waste streams

    • Land use policies

      • Food vs power

      • Conflicting land/water uses

  • Base power versus motive power versus localized power

    • Power for transport vs. power for stationary applications

    • Centralized power production vs. distributed power production

  • Costs

    • True costs include environmental costs and life cycle costs …

      • Who pays for cleaning up our atmosphere? Decommissioning power plants? What are the hidden subsidies?



How will we get there
How will we get there? options?

  • Research!!!!!

    • Decrease costs, for example, via

      • Cheaper photovoltaics (factor of 10?)

      • More efficient catalytic production of ethanol/methanol

      • Increase power transmission efficiency

        • Cheaper superconducting power cables

      • Improved designs for thermal and fast spectrum nuclear reactors

    • Invent new processes, for example,

      • Using sunlight to produce H2 from water

      • Finding ways to store H2 more efficiently

      • Inventing new catalytic methods for cheaper fuel cells

  • Strengthen the R&D infrastructure in the US!!

    • Science/technology must again be viewed as inspiring subjects …

    • Education improvements must be complemented by a smarter visa system …

  • Stick to it!!!

    • ‘Getting there’ won’t happen if we’re not steadfast …