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Can Renewable Energy Grow Fast Enough to Make a Difference?

Challenges

Across much of the globe, there is an insatiable hunger for energy to fuel growing economies. While the U.S. and Europe could see relatively flat-lined energy use in coming decades, it will rise considerably in non-Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (non-OECD) countries between now and 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Low Emission Energy Scenarios for the European Union

Energy consumption is a major cause of carbon dioxide emission, and also largely determines the uncontrolled emissions of many other pollutants. In consequence, energy scenarios are key inputs to the projection of pollution emission, and the formulation of strategies to reduce pollution and achieve environmental objectives.  Alternative energy strategies including behavioral change, demand management, energy efficiency, and low carbon fuels are explored in this report.

'Electronic blood' powers experimental computer mimicking human brain

IBM researchers in Switzerland have unveiled a prototype of a new brain-inspired computer powered by what they're calling "electronic blood."

Opportunities

The technology could, by 2060, yield a one-petaflop computer -- something that once would have covered half a football field, but made small enough to fit on a desktop, the researchers said.

Questions

Fusion for Energy Annual Report 2012

In face of the increasing global demand for energy and the economic, political and environmental risks
of using fossil fuels, energy produced by fusion has the potential to make a major contribution to
a diverse, sustainable and secure energy supply system in a few decades from now.

Future of energy systems

Heli has been Chief Technology Officer at Fortum Corporation since 2012. In 1997, she completed her Ph.D. thesis at Tampere University of Technology. Her research interests include hydro-electric and thermal power generation, optimization, electricity storage and the integration of wind power in power systems. She has been working in the energy sector as a management consultant for 15 years. Consulting experience has covered various areas of the energy business including energy markets, strategies, and business development, energy contracts, as well as the different energy production technologies. Follow Heli on Twitter: @AntilaHeli

Video abstract: 
  • Podcast 1 discusses efficient, effective and sustainable forms of energy for the future, and looks into the future of smart grids
  • Podcast 2 presents the role of both biofuels and ICT in future energy production, and discusses the importance of reducing carbon emissions and of supporting R&D activities

To listen to this interview, please click on the podcasts on the right of this page. A synthesis report is also available for download below.

Leading Picture: 
Name Interviewee: 
Heli Antila
Foreword: 
In this interview, Heli Antila gives an insight of how she envisions we will produce sustainable forms of energy in the future. She discusses the roles of smart grids and biofuels in energy production, and how ICT can act as an enabler. She also highlights the importance of reducing carbon emissions on a global scale, and touches on measures which can be taken to support research and development activities looking into alternative forms of energy production.
Interview Record: 
YouTUBE Screenshot: 
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Huge renewable energy growth this decade, if EU countries meet projections

Offshore wind energy capacity in Europe is projected to increase 17-fold between 2010 and 2020, while newer renewable technologies such as concentrated solar power and wave/tidal power will also increase more than 11-fold according to projections. European countries are also expected to significantly boost solar photovoltaic power, onshore wind and other renewable technologies over the next decade.

TOWARDS A LOW CARBON SOCIETY: SETTING TARGETS FOR A REDUCTION OF GLOBAL RESOURCE USE

We focus on three questions: one, what have been the quantitative dynamics and the main drivers of the global use of natural resources (energy and materials) in the past century? Two, how will these trends continue over the next decades, and what would be more sustainable scenarios? In other words, what is the size of the challenge? Three: how can policy interventions into resource use be argued and justified? For the first question, we come up with empirical answers, based upon secondary analysis from recently compiled centennial databases on global primary resource extraction.

Smart Grid Technologies in Europe: An Overview

The old electricity network infrastructure has proven to be inadequate, with respect to modern challenges such as alternative energy sources, electricity demand and energy saving policies. Moreover, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) seem to have reached an adequate level of reliability and flexibility in order to support a new concept of electricity network—the smart grid. In this work, we will analyse the state-of-the-art of smart grids, in their technical, management, security, and optimization aspects.

The Perspective of Nanotechnology and Its Convergence with Future Information Technology

We present the current and future of nanotechnology, especially focusing on the convergence of nanotechnology with electronics, photonics, energy, and biology. Nano-electronics aspect addresses the nano carbon and its applications with graphene and carbon nanotubes. These will be covering displays, lighting, THz radiation, network transistors and many applications. As a part of nano-photonics, quantum dot and its related application for LED and displays are addressed. We also discuss nano energy generator for energy harvesting. Concept of e-nose and e-tongue with nano wires is presented.

ICT for cold atom quantum technology

This stand presents the FET-Open iSense project. The iSense project aims to bring the latest developments in ultracold atom science to practical quantum technology applications by developing the technology that will turn laboratory-based instrumentation into portable and robust instruments and sensors. This stand will present a transportanble atom interferometer gravimeter and discuss applications in climate research, sustainable cities and oil and mineral exploration.

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