Guest essay by Eric Worrall
What would it take to make renewable energy viable, and reduce emissions from industrial processes?
MIT professors Asegun Henry, Ravi Prasher & Arun Majumdar had a series of meetings with Bill Gates in 2018. The result of those meetings is a recently published paper which describes five thermal challenges which must be overcome, to curb industrial CO2 emissions and make renewable energy a viable solution to the world’s energy needs.
MIT’s Asegun Henry on “Grand Thermal Challenges” to Save Humanity From Extinction Due to Climate Change
By JENNIFER CHU, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AUGUST 16, 2020
Q: What are the five thermal energy challenges you outline in your paper?
A: The first challenge is developing thermal storage systems for the power grid, electric vehicles, and buildings. Take the power grid: There is an international race going on to develop a grid storage system to store excess electricity from renewables so you can use it at a later time. …
The second challenge is decarbonizing industrial processes, which contribute 15 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The big actors here are cement, steel, aluminum, and hydrogen. …
The third challenge is solving the cooling problem. Air conditioners and refrigerators have chemicals in them that are very harmful to the environment, 2,000 times more harmful than carbon dioxide on a molar basis. …
The fourth challenge is long-distance transmission of heat. We transmit electricity because it can be transmitted with low loss, and it’s cheap. The question is, can we transmit heat like we transmit electricity? …
The last challenge is variable conductance building envelopes. There are some demonstrations that show it is physically possible to create a thermal material, or a device that will change its conductance, so that when it’s hot, it can block heat from getting through a wall, but when you want it to, you could change its conductance to let the heat in or out. …Read more: https://scitechdaily.com/mits-asegun-henry-on-grand-thermal-challenges-to-save-humanity-from-extinction-due-to-climate-change/
The abstract of the paper;
Five thermal energy grand challenges for decarbonization
Nature Energy (2020)
Roughly 90% of the world’s energy use today involves generation or manipulation of heat over a wide range of temperatures. Here, we note five key applications of research in thermal energy that could help make significant progress towards mitigating climate change at the necessary scale and urgency.Read more (paywalled): https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-0675-9
Sadly the MIT paper is paywalled, but in my opinion this pretty much seems to confirm the findings of a team of Google engineers in 2016, and pretty much everyone else who genuinely attempts to calculate the exact cost of our glorious green revolution, rather than simply cheerleading punishing carbon taxes and leaving the implementation details to the engineers.
Deployment of current generation green technology is a waste of money.