[Video] MIT Professor reminds us of how much there is yet to discover around energy science

February 09 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 5 Hot

What we don't know about the fundamental science of energy systems might actually help us!  The problem is that most people assume we already know everything, and that we are running out of solution sets.  In fact, we are only at the beginning of a new era of understanding nanoscale (molecular) energy systems engineering.

MIT Chemistry Professor Dan Nocera's lecture Whales to Wood, Wood to Coal/Oil to What's Next? describes what we do not understand about solar energy conversion (photosynthesis) and effective energy storage in nature's form of chemical bonds.  His focus is to uncover the science of nature's recipe for storing energy: Light + Water = Fuel. 

The Real Transition: Era of Extraction

Most people agree that we are at a transition period for energy.  But what is really happening?

The transition is one from an energy economy based on extracting ancient'stored' energy (in the form of wood, coal, oil, gas) towards an economy based on 'growing and storing' energy without tapping into finite stored resources. 

As Nocera reminds us in the lecture: there is no better way to store energy than in the form of a chemical bond. Today we break apart carbon:hydrogen bonds formed by ancient plants and microbes.  Tomorrow we want to move towards cleaner hydrogen:hydrogen bonds.

But even if you are opposed to the notion of a 'hydrogen' economy it is important that we understand how to create hydrogen in order to bind it to carbon to create liquid fuels and basic materials.

Hydrogen science is inextricably linked to carbon science.  So we cannot dismiss its importance! 

 

Video link

 

PESWIKI: Dan Nocera

 

Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. Me can haz more abstractions!

    Posted by: Alvis Brigis   February 09, 2009
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