MIT: Five Grand Thermal Challenges to Decarbonise the Global Economy

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

What would it take to make renewable energy viable, and reduce emissions from industrial processes?

MIT professors Asegun HenryRavi Prasher & Arun Majumdar had a series of meetings with Bill Gates in 2018. The result of those meetings is a recently published paper which describes five thermal challenges which must be overcome, to curb industrial CO2 emissions and make renewable energy a viable solution to the world’s energy needs.

MIT’s Asegun Henry on “Grand Thermal Challenges” to Save Humanity From Extinction Due to Climate Change 

TOPICS:Climate ChangeEnergyGlobal WarmingMIT

By JENNIFER CHU, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AUGUST 16, 2020

Q: What are the five thermal energy challenges you outline in your paper?

A: The first challenge is developing thermal storage systems for the power grid, electric vehicles, and buildings. Take the power grid: There is an international race going on to develop a grid storage system to store excess electricity from renewables so you can use it at a later time. …

The second challenge is decarbonizing industrial processes, which contribute 15 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The big actors here are cement, steel, aluminum, and hydrogen. …

The third challenge is solving the cooling problem. Air conditioners and refrigerators have chemicals in them that are very harmful to the environment, 2,000 times more harmful than carbon dioxide on a molar basis. …

The fourth challenge is long-distance transmission of heat. We transmit electricity because it can be transmitted with low loss, and it’s cheap. The question is, can we transmit heat like we transmit electricity? …

The last challenge is variable conductance building envelopes. There are some demonstrations that show it is physically possible to create a thermal material, or a device that will change its conductance, so that when it’s hot, it can block heat from getting through a wall, but when you want it to, you could change its conductance to let the heat in or out. …

Read more: https://scitechdaily.com/mits-asegun-henry-on-grand-thermal-challenges-to-save-humanity-from-extinction-due-to-climate-change/

The abstract of the paper;

Five thermal energy grand challenges for decarbonization

Asegun HenryRavi Prasher & Arun Majumdar

Nature Energy (2020)

Roughly 90% of the world’s energy use today involves generation or manipulation of heat over a wide range of temperatures. Here, we note five key applications of research in thermal energy that could help make significant progress towards mitigating climate change at the necessary scale and urgency.

Read more (paywalled): https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-0675-9

Sadly the MIT paper is paywalled, but in my opinion this pretty much seems to confirm the findings of a team of Google engineers in 2016, and pretty much everyone else who genuinely attempts to calculate the exact cost of our glorious green revolution, rather than simply cheerleading punishing carbon taxes and leaving the implementation details to the engineers.

Deployment of current generation green technology is a waste of money.

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Big Slide in Renewable Energy

By Bjørn Lomborg – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

No, renewables are not taking over the world anytime soon.

We have spent the last two centuries getting off renewables because they were mostly weak, costly and unreliable. Half a century ago, in 1966, the world got 15.6% of its energy from renewables. Today (2016) we still get less of our energy at 13.8%.

With our concern for global warming, we are ramping up the use of renewables. The mainstream reporting lets you believe that renewables are just about to power the entire world. But this is flatly wrong.

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The Solar Harbinger

By David Archibald – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

The people of Canberra are the richest in Australia so they voted in a provincial government that proved how virtuous they were by increasing the proportion of their power supply that came from wind and solar sources. As a consequence, the cost of power went up and the people of Canberra have responded by seeking out warm public buildings in the current southern winter. Respiratory disease load increases in winter and so no doubt there will be some deaths caused by the government’s virtue signalling.

Hundreds of thousands of people in first-world-country Germany have gone off grid because they can’t afford power any more. Of course heat kills too and the biggest heat-related, first-world die-off in recent years was in Europe in 2003. As Dave Rutledge wrote in 2015, “During the great European Heat Wave of 2003, 70,000 people died, most of them indoors. This is a horrible way to die. The people who were indoors could have been saved by a $140 Frigidaire window unit, but only if they could afford to pay for the electricity.”

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A Public Service Announcement on Temperature

By – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Dog owners, this might surprise you. Since we deal with temperature a great deal here on WUWT, and since the only canine member of the Union of Concerned Scientists has informed me that he is concerned about this issue, and since we are getting into the hot season here in the northern hemisphere, I thought I’d take a moment to pass on this information as a public service announcement.

From the American Veterinary Medical Association:

Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles. We’ve heard the excuses: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,” or “But I cracked the windows…” These excuses don’t amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a vehicle.

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New Infrared-Emitting Device Could Allow Energy Harvesting From Waste Heat

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Researchers create first MEMS metamaterial device that displays infrared patterns that can be quickly changed

THE OPTICAL SOCIETY

WASHINGTON — A new reconfigurable device that emits patterns of thermal infrared light in a fully controllable manner could one day make it possible to collect waste heat at infrared wavelengths and turn it into usable energy.

The new technology could be used to improve thermophotovoltaics, a type of solar cell that uses infrared light, or heat, rather than the visible light absorbed by traditional solar cells. Scientists have been working to create thermophotovoltaics that are practical enough to harvest the heat energy found in hot areas, such as around furnaces and kilns used by the glass industry. They could also be used to turn heat coming from vehicle engines into energy to charge a car battery, for example.

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Moderate Cold Kills More People Than Extreme Heat

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

cold_outside

Science is a wonderful thing.  As time moves on, in a single direction,  Science, as an endeavor, discovers new things and improves our lives.

With a “hat tip” to the inestimable Jane Brody, health journalist at the NY Times who covers the story here, we are reminded of the study [free .pdf]  from Antonio Gasparrini et al. which was published in The Lancet,  July 25, 2015, with the [way too long] title:  “Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study”.

The bottom-line finding, the take home message, might surprise even readers here at WUWT, quoted in the side-bar of the journal article:

Interpretation: 

We report that non-optimum ambient temperature is responsible for substantial excess in mortality, with important differences between countries. Although most previous research has focused on heat-related effects, most of the attributable deaths were caused by cold temperatures. Despite the attention given to extreme weather events, most of the effect happened on moderately hot and moderately cold days, especially moderately cold days.

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