On the Road to No Where: Meeting Future Human Energy Demand in the Light of Climate Change & Technology Diffusion 

George Tynan, University of California, San Diego 

Wednesday October 22, 2014, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

EBUII Room 479


ABSTRACT: By mid-century, global energy demand will have increased markedly from current levels. Much of this new demand will be satisfied by combustion of increasingly more difficult to access fossil fuel resources, causing global carbon emissions to significantly exceed levels necessary to limit global temperature rise to acceptable levels. Meanwhile, although recent growth rates of renewable energy sources are indeed large, the absolute quantity of energy provided by wind, solar, ocean, geothermal and next-generation biological resources are not likely to supplant fossil fuels in this time frame. In the face of these considerations, some argue for a re-emergence of nuclear-based energy sources as a viable carbon-free energy source; in some regions this is occurring whereas in much of the developed world there is a retrenchment from nuclear fission based energy sources due to social concerns over reactor safety and spent fuel handling. This talk will review these issues, examine what new energy technologies can (and cannot) scale to meet a significant fraction of future demand, examine the likely rate of adoption of scaleable new energy sources, and provide thoughts on the role of university-based clean energy research in the face of this sobering reality. 


BIO: Professor George R. Tynan received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then spent several years studying the effect of sheared flows on plasma turbulence on experiments located in the Federal Republic of Germany and at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. He then worked in industry developing plasma sources for use in investigating the creation of nano-meter scale semiconductor circuits, and joined the UCSD faculty in 1999.