Professors Dan Schwartz and David Ginger, of the UW Clean Energy Institute, took us into the future in regard to solar power and related resources.
Focused on clean energy throughout the world, they spoke of a $17 trillion international commitment. Solar energy is in itself cheap, but factories cost too much. The UW facility is planned to lower the cost.
These are the facts:
- Climate change is a worse threat than international terrorism.
- 20,000 premature annual US deaths are due to the use of fossil fuels.
- The distribution of energy is critical to society as regards health and the economy.
- The world population is growing. Global lifestyles are becoming increasingly similar to those in North America. World energy use is going up.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is involved in the Institute.
- US energy consumption is huge.
- It is cheaper to burn off natural gas than to capture it.
- The dream is to convert sunlight to clean electricity quickly and economically.
- Solar energy has the largest technical possibility of all renewable sources.
- Other sources such as wind and hydroelectric should by no means be ignored
- A solar farm can supply not only electricity, but also heating and lighting. In Kenya, it is being used for light to facilitate education.
- Solar is growing exponentially.
- Renewable energy is projected to keep up with US demand.
- The challenges include storage, grid infrastructure and information systems, and bringing down costs.
- We need to make new materials to enable this technology.
- Some of these are organic polymer inks; carbon and nitrogen based materials; hybrid peroxkites, a crystalline structure.
- The various efficiency of materials in solar cells were considered.
Comment: The world has awakened to the damage done by the use of fossil fuels. The undertaking by this group and others is part of the race to reverse the drastic changes afoot. If this is ever accomplished–and everything depends upon it–it will not occur