Seminar Archive Summaries

The Era of Mainstream Clean Energy: Solar Rising

Arno Harris, CEO & Chairman, Recurrent Energy; Board Chair, Solar Energy Industry Association; Director, Advanced Energy Economy

Monday, January 7, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Despite recent political attacks and negative headlines, the renewable energy and the solar industries emerge from 2012 ready to play a significant part in mainstream energy markets. Industry data reflects an increasing role for renewables as the fastest growing new source of electricity. It is now all but inevitable that our energy future will feature some combination of natural gas, wind, and solar. In this new era of mainstream clean energy, energy policy and industry action will determine what this future looks like. Will we end up with a gas-centric generating fleet with wind and solar around the edges? Or will we prioritize wind and solar with gas in a supporting role? What steps can we take to ensure renewables remain a central priority?


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The Development of Liquid Fuels from Lignocellulose

Chris Somerville, Director Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California-Berkeley

Monday, December 3, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The efficient production of  cellulosic fuels by biochemical routes will require innovation in three main areas: sustainable production of feedstocks that do not compete with food production, depolymerization of feedstocks, and conversion of feedstocks to liquid fuels.  In this respect there is renewed interest in identifying plants that have optimal biomass accumulation and understanding the production issues associated with large-scale cultivation and sustainable harvesting of such species.  Additionally, the importance of enhancing soil carbon and nutrient retention while minimizing inputs will require an integrated approach to the development of cellulosic energy crops. 

Renewable Electricity Futures

Doug Arent, Executive Director, Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis at NREL

Monday, November 26, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The Renewable Electricity Futures Study is  an initial investigation of the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the contiguous United States over the next several decades. This study explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels--from 30% up to 90%, focusing on 80%, of all U.S. electricity generation from renewable technologies--in 2050.

At such high levels of renewable electricity penetration, the unique characteristics of some renewable resources, specifically geographical distribution and variability and uncertainty in output, pose challenges to the operability of the nation's electric system. The study focuses on key technical implications of this environment from a national perspective, exploring whether the U.S. power system can supply electricity to meet customer demand on an hourly basis with high levels of renewable electricity, including variable wind and solar generation. The study also identifies some of the potential economic, environmental, and social implications of deploying and integrating high levels of renewable electricity in the United States.

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Hydrogen Energy in California

Mark Lerdal, Hydrogen California and MP2 Capital

Monday, November 12, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Hydrogen Energy California is a project for converting fossil fuels to hydrogen in order to generate clean power and manufacture low-carbon fertilizer products. HECA will be one of the first industrial complexes combining a large, commercial scale power plant and a low-carbon footprint fertilizer manufacturing facility, while capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the fossil fuel to hydrogen conversion process. Utilizing the CO2 for fertilizer production and enhanced oil recovery increases domestic energy security, while simultaneously storing the captured CO2 permanently in the geologic formations where the oil was extracted. It is a project that offers California, the nation, and the world progress toward controlling global climate change, while providing enormous economic stimulus through construction and related jobs over the intermediate term and permanent manufacturing and related jobs over the long term.


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Assessing Earthquake Risks From Hydraulic Fracturing for Geothermal Power, Natural Gas and CO2 Storage

Mark McClure, PhD in Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University; Assistant Professor (winter 2013), University of Texas

Monday, November 5, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Scientists have been aware of human induced seismicity for decades. But attention to the issue has increased in recent years, as concerns have been raised for wastewater disposal, hydraulic fracturing, and CO2 sequestration. The importance of credible induced seismicity hazard assessment has never been higher.

In this talk, Mark McClure will summarize the fundamental physical processes of induced seismicity, provide an overview of the history of the field, and review some of the dominant ideas in induced seismicity hazard analysis. Then he will summarize two papers he recently wrote on the topic of induced seismicity during hydraulic stimulation in geothermal energy. The first demonstrates how a single variable, the degree of brittle fault development, can explain the huge variation in induced seismicity across a range of historical enhanced geothermal projects. The second uses coupled fluid flow and seismicity modeling to explain a variety of observations of induced seismicity from enhanced geothermal projects and demonstrates how modeling could be used for hazard analysis or even optimization. Last, Mark will explain the broader implications of his work for induced seismicity hazard analysis.

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Stanford Energy Systems Innovations project

Jack Cleary, Lands, Buildings & Real Estate; Chris Edwards, Mechanical Engineering; Laura Goldstein, Department of Project Management; Lynn Orr, Energy Resources Engineering, Precourt Institute for Energy; Bob Reidy, Lands, Buildings & Real Estate; Joe Stagner, Office of Sustainability & Energy Management; Jim Sweeney, Management Science & Engineering, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center; and John Weyant, Management Science & Engineering, Energy Modeling Forum

Monday, October 29, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Chris Edwards Lynn Orr Bob Reidy
Joe Stagner Jim Sweeney John Weyant

Representatives from Stanford's office of Land, Buildings & Real Estate will introduce the project and provide an overview, followed by a panel discussion with professors Chris Edwards, Lynn Orr, Jim Sweeney and John Weyant.

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Powering the Armed Forces: Meeting the Military's Energy Challenges

Admiral Gary Roughead, Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Monday, October 22, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

From the introduction to the book "Powering the Armed Forces, Meeting the Military's Energy Challenges," written by Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs:

For the nation, our energy security, economic well-being and national security are inextricably linked. For the U.S. Department of Defense, better energy security means a more effective military force–one that is more agile, lethal and adaptable, and one that can better fulfill its mission to protect the nation.

At the same time, several trends, from the rising global demand for energy to changing geopolitics, as well as new threats, mean that the cost and availability of energy for Americans and our troops will be less certain in the future. By being smarter about our energy use, we can make a military and nation built to last.

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Financing the Next Stage of the Global Green Energy Transformation

Jochen Harnisch, KFW, Head of Division, Competence Center Environment & Climate, Frankfurt, Germany

Monday, October 15, 2012 | 04:15 AM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The last decade experienced a remarkable expansion of the deployment of renewable energy such as wind, solar and bioenergy in several countries, including China, the United States, Germany and Spain. This was largely driven by feed-in support schemes and tax breaks, accompanied by a wider enabling framework. Open global markets and emerging new competitors have led to intense competition in local equipment markets and substantial price compression.


At the same time a number of equipment manufacturers went out of business. This has led to public disillusionment with the sustainability of the local employment effects of promoting renewable energy. Suspect state subsidies for some equipment manufacturers in some countries have further burdened the political climate. Additionally, renewable energy's greater share of overall supplies has led to rising electricity prices, growing budget liabilities or reduced tax revenues.

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Screening of "Switch," followed by a discussion with the film's producer Scott Tinker, and Stanford University professors Sally Benson, Margot Gerritsen, and Mark Jacobson

Scott W. Tinker, Bureau of Economic Geology, the State Geologist of Texas
Moderator: Sally Benson, Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford, with Margot Gerritsen, Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford; Mark Jacobson, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford

Monday, October 8, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 06:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

What does the future of energy really hold? Join Scott Tinker on a spectacular global adventure to find out. Scott explores the world’s leading energy sites, from coal to solar, from oil to biofuels. Many of these sites are highly restricted and never before seen on film. Scott gets straight answers from the people driving energy today, international leaders of government, industry and academia. In the end, he cuts through the confusion to discover a path to our future that is surprising and remarkably pragmatic.

"Switch" is a balanced documentary, embraced and supported by people all along the energy spectrum – fossil and renewable, academic and environmental.

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A New Industrial Revolution for a Sustainable Energy Future

Arun Majumdar, former Deputy Director of LBNL and Professor at U.C.-Berkeley

Monday, October 1, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Access to affordable and reliable energy has been a cornerstone of the world’s increasing prosperity and economic growth since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Our use of energy in the twenty-first century must also be sustainable. This talk will provide a techno-economic snapshot of the current energy landscape and discuss several research and development opportunities and challenges to create the foundation for this new industrial revolution. The talk will also discuss policies to stimulate innovation and align market forces to accelerate the development and deployment of affordable, accessible and sustainable energy that can simultaneously power economic growth, increase energy security and mitigate the risks of climate change.

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