289651 Sustainable Energy Research in Chemical Engineering
Historically chemical engineering has played a central role in the current fossil resource driven world. Now, as the human race prepares to make inevitable transition from the fossil resources, chemical engineering is well poised to contribute to this transition.
Here we will discuss some of our sustainable energy related research. An energy systems analysis, to identify opportunities and pitfalls as the renewable economy emerges, will be presented. We will focus on a future where the basic human needs of food, chemicals, heat, electricity and transportation will generally be met by solar energy. In a solarenergy- driven world, it will be particularly challenging to satisfy the need of the transportation sector due to its requirement of high energy density fuel and associated ease of handling. Some novel solutions to meet this challenge and sustain the current transportation sector will be presented. The importance of developing transition solutions
that use both hydrocarbon resources as well as solar energy in a synergistic manner will be emphasized through examples.
Another important challenge relates to energy storage at Tera Watt-hours scale. The intermittency of renewable resources such as solar energy and wind necessitate solutions that will supply on demand energy around the clock. We will present some of our initial solutions to answer this challenge. Such opportunities indeed make the future of chemical engineering exciting.
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