Dr. Daniel G. Nocera

March 15, 2010
Produced by The IHMC

Personalized Energy for 1 (x 6 Billion): A Solution to the Global Energy Challenge

The supply of secure, clean, sustainable energy is arguably the most important scientific and technical challenge facing humanity in the 21st century. Rising living standards of a growing world population will cause global energy consumption to double by mid-century and triple by the end of the century. Even in light of unprecedented conservation, the additional energy needed is simply not attainable from long discussed sources these include nuclear, biomass, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric. The global appetite for energy is simply too much. Petroleum-based fuel sources (i.e., coal, oil and gas) could be increased. However, deleterious consequences resulting from external drivers of economy, the environment, and global security dictate that this energy need be met by renewable and sustainable sources. The dramatic increase in global energy need is driven by 3 billion low-energy users in the non-legacy world and by 3 billion people yet to inhabit the planet over the next half century. The capture and storage of solar energy at the individual level personalized solar energy drives inextricably towards the heart of this energy challenge by addressing the triumvirate of secure, carbon neutral and plentiful energy. This talk will place the scale of the global energy issue in perspective and then discuss how personalized energy (especially for the non-legacy world) can provide a path to a solution to the global energy challenge.

Daniel G. Nocera is the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Director of the Solar Revolutions Project and Director of the Eni Solar Frontiers Center at MIT. His group pioneered studies of the basic mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry. He has recently accomplished a solar fuels process that captures many of the elements of photosynthesis outside of the leaf. This discovery sets the stage for a storage mechanism for the large scale, distributed, deployment of solar energy. He has been awarded the Eni Prize (2005), IAPS Award (2006), Burghausen Prize (2007), Harrison Howe Award (2008), ACS Inorganic Chemistry Award (2009) and the U.N. Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organizations Science and Technology Award (2009) for his contributions to the development of renewable energy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He was named as Times Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Nocera is a frequent guest on TV and radio and is regularly featured in print. In 2008, he founded Sun Catalytix, a company committed to bringing personalized energy to the non-legacy world.