Seminar Archive Summaries
Hillard G. Huntington, Executive Director, Energy Modeling Forum
Monday, December 2, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
This study evaluates the channels through which shale formations and new natural gas supplies can change energy, economic and environmental opportunities within North America. It concludes that continued shale gas development within North America is likely to have more sweeping impacts on future energy prices than on the economy or the environment. This evaluation was conducted by a working group of 50 experts and advisors from a range of diverse universities, research institutes, corporations and government agencies. Support for the study’s conclusions came from 14 different expert teams using their own energy-economy models.
Robert Laughlin, Department of Physics, Stanford University
Monday, November 18, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
This talk will follow the rough outline of Robert's recent book, Powering the Future: How We Will (Eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of Tomorrow. Robert will take the audience past contemporary politics through a mental journey to a time, several centuries from now, when nobody uses carbon-based fuel out of the ground anymore, either because they have banned the practice or it is gone. The world will be warmer then, although exactly how much warmer depends on events to come. What is this time like? How do the people make their living? What do they learn in school about us? While scientific discoveries of the future are difficult to predict, some of the future is very predictable by virtue of the immutability of physical law and human nature. People wishing to live well will still need energy. The energy in question will still be conserved. It will still have to be procured from somewhere in prodigious amounts and discarded into space after use. Chemical bonds will be the same as they are now. So will gravity. The constraints on energy storage will be the same. Nuclear waste will still be dangerous. Thinking through the energy and climate problem backward in this way is easy to do, and it clarifies the present-day situation immensely.
Dr. Carrie Armel, Research Associate, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC) at Stanford University
Ian Kalin, Director of Open Data, Socrata
Adam Rein, Principal, Mission Point Capital Partners
Monday, November 11, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
|Carrie Armel||Adam Rein||Ian Kalin|
What energy challenges are best served with data, and what data sets are available for these applications? Adam Rein of Mission Point Capital will outline the most promising opportunities from a VC’s perspective. Ian Kalin, Director of Open Data at Socrata and a former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, will survey this administration’s mission to jump start data sharing initiatives and compile data sets. Carrie Armel will provide examples of the diverse ways in which Stanford’s ARPA-E funded initiative has utilized energy data, such as that from smart meters, to reduce energy consumption. Following the panel will be an opportunity to engage the speakers and other knowledgeable professionals in lively discussion and brainstorming.
A review of environmental impacts of renewable electricity generation technologies from a life cycle perspective
Garvin Heath, Senior Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Monday, November 4, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
Through systematic reviews and original research, this presentation will review evidence of environmental impacts of renewable electricity generation technologies compared, where possible, to their conventional incumbents. Evidence for greenhouse gas emissions, water and land use will be reviewed mostly from the perspective of life cycle assessment. Areas of uncertainty will be highlighted as suggestions for future research.
Energy Data: Big Decisions, Miniseries Part 2 of 3: Creating an Energy Efficient Future Through Data Driven Decision Making
Philip Farese, Vice President of Engineering, Advantix Systems
Monday, October 28, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of measures one can take to reduce energy use of any given piece of machinery, building, city, state, or nation. Trying to decide which to implement proves a challenge in the face of limited information, technology and implementation risks, competing priorities, and rudimentary decision making tools. By including economics, potential energy savings, and adoption dynamics one can help disentangle this milieu to provide objective facts. We discuss multiple methods for decision making by highlighting a tool recently developed to inform Department of Energy decision making. This tool revealed that a 30% energy savings reduction goal is both realistic and adds economic value to the country. Additionally it surfaced the true potential of engineering and development to reduce national energy use by as much as 80%. We conclude by briefly reviewing the most promising technologies and highlighting the potential of one of these: liquid desiccant air conditioning.
Panel, Ethics in an Energy Crisis: What Should We Do When Current Needs Conflict with Long-Term Sustainability?
Mark Bryant Budolfson, Blake Francis, Hyunseop Kim, Stanford University
Introduction by Debra Satz, Professor of Ethics in Society, Senior Associate Dean for the Humanities and Arts
Monday, October 21, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
|Mark Budolfson||Blake Francis||Hyunseop Kim||Debra Satz|
Ethics are important. The economic divide between the developed and developing world highlights the ethical dimensions of energy access in a climate-constrained world. Is it fair to hinder economic growth in developing countries because the wealthiest nations have changed the composition of the atmosphere and changed the climate of the planet? To what extent do the developed nations bear responsibility for not only remedying the problem, but also for compensating those people who are now suffering because of climate climate, or who could face tight emissions restrictions? As the economic balance of the world changes, what role should rapidly developing nations share in the responsibility to address these issues?
Here, we examine these issues through the lens of one country, Pakistan, which is struggling with a severe energy crisis that is holding back economic development and exacerbating political instability. Ethicists, economists, and others have developed a set of useful tools for deciding what to do when economic, environmental, and social values conflict. We will explain how some of these tools–including cost benefit analysis, the precautionary principle, and principles of justice–can help us evaluate aspects of the recent energy crisis in Pakistan, in which many competing values are at play. After months of rolling blackouts and documented impacts to economic growth, the Pakistani government decided to meet the current needs of their citizens by investing in coal and other fossil fuel technologies, rather than alternative sources of energy that many would argue are superior from the perspective of long-run sustainability. We use this example to illustrate how different general ethical theories use the tools we discuss to recommend different courses of action. One upshot is that ethics has many sophisticated tools but also involves many important unresolved questions–about how to make tradeoffs between different values, how to respond to risk and uncertainty, and so on. Another upshot is that ethics alone cannot settle what should be done in such complex situations–collaboration is also needed with those who have technical, political, and economic expertise. However, ethics can help clarify our reasoning, make our assumptions about values more explicit, and expose our values to critical scrutiny. In sum, we demonstrate the valuable role ethics can play when making decisions in the face of social and environmental challenges.
Saul Griffith, Founder/Principal Scientist, Otherlab
Monday, October 14, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
This miniseries will explore the ways in which data can guide decision making in energy research, policy, business, and the personal sphere – from determining which problems and products should be pursued to achieve the biggest bang for the buck, to employing it to shift individual and household energy choices.
Shisen Xu, President, Clean Energy Research Institute at China Huaneng Group; moderated by Jeffrey Ball, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University
Monday, October 7, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
China consumes nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined, and is leading the world in greenhouse gas emissions. Now, even as China builds more coal-fired power plants, it is working to roll out technologies to burn that coal more cleanly — from anti-smog filters to systems to capture carbon dioxide and shoot it underground. China has launched the world’s largest “clean coal” experiment. During this talk, the top technology officer from China’s largest power company will assess the state of cleaner coal-burning technology and its prospects for real-world rollout in China and around the globe. Shisen Xu is President of the Clean Energy Research Institute at China Huaneng Group, one of China’s largest state-owned electric utilities.
Ted Hesser, Independent Consultant
Monday, September 30, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
Poverty and profit tend not to mix. Yet, the alleviation of the former is creating a tremendous opportunity for the latter. Close to one billion people have risen above the poverty line over the past twenty years, entering the global consumer marketplace. The trend is anticipated to continue – potentially liberating the remaining one billion people from poverty over the next two decades. For investors, the implication is the emergence of the largest new market for global goods and services. An estimated three billion people now earn between $2 and $10 a day. Selling basic services to this market through micropayment schemes may enable technology access, development gains, environmental benefits, and profit opportunities that were unimaginable prior to mobile banking. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar may become the largest opportunity in energy services, and business models positioned at the confluence of declining component costs, rising mobile money usage, and low cost financing are poised for explosive growth over the coming years. Efficient product distribution and working capital financing are the primary impediments to scale. Neither raw demand nor market size is a concern. Rural villagers can save money today and dramatically improve their quality of life as customers of PAYG solar. There are multiple companies successfully selling low cost solar power systems and services to homes and small shops across the developing world through multiple business models. These business models and their execution will determine the spoils of this enormous market opportunity.
Eric Pop, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering, Stanford University
Monday, September 23, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center |
Energy use and conversion are important for the design of low-power electronics and energy-conversion systems. This is also a rich domain for both fundamental discoveries as well as technological advances. This talk will present recent highlights from our studies at the intersection of energy, nanomaterials, and nanoelectronics. We have investigated thermoelectric effects in graphene transistors and carbon nanotube composites, for both low-power electronics and energy harvesting. We have also examined energy-efficient data storage based on phase change (rather than charge or spin), achieving operation at femtojoules per bit, two orders of magnitude below industry state-of-the-art. The results suggest new directions to improve energy efficiency towards fundamental limits, through the design of geometry and materials.