Personalized Energy for One (x 6 Billion)

Lecture, with professor Daniel Nocera, presented by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship



Daniel Nocera
is swimming very hard against the current of
mainstream energy research. While many scientists are figuring out how
to scale up wind, geothermal or biomass systems, Nocera is focusing on
“personalized” energy units that can be manufactured, distributed and
installed on the cheap.

His main concern lies with the increasing
energy demands of six billion people, primarily from developing
nations, who will be marching onto the world stage by 2050 and likely
doubling the planet’s energy consumption, from around 13 to 26
terawatts (that’s trillion watts). A “solution to the energy challenge
rests in providing the non-legacy (developing) world a carbon-neutral,
sustainable energy supply,” says Nocera.

On advice he
received from Kurt Vonnegut:
"He told me, 'stop worrying about the planet dying. When you have a big
organism and you become irritating to it, the immunological system just
kicks in and kills the invading organism'. And he assured me that we
have just become so irritating to the earth, she'll just kill us. Which
makes me happier. It says that there is something much bigger than us,
which we forget about the earth. And she is much more powerful than us.
She'll get rid of us if we don't take care of her.”

Daniel Nocera


Topics: Batteries, Climate change, Faculty, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Solar

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