Articles

289 Items

Workers shovel waste from a wheat farm into a prototype for a biomass machine

AP/Andy Wong

Journal Article - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Gasification of Coal and Biomass: A Net Carbon-Negative Power Source for Environment-Friendly Electricity Generation in China

    Authors:
  • Xi Lu
  • Liang Cao
  • Haikun Wang
  • Jia Xing
  • Shuxiao Wang
  • Siyi Cai
  • Bo Shen
  • Qing Yang
  • Chris P. Nielsen
  • Michael B. McElroy
| 2019

Deploying coal-bioenergy gasification systems with carbon capture and storage (CBECCS) provides a promising opportunity for China to realize its carbon mitigation and air pollution abatement goals simultaneously. The authors conducted a comprehensive assessment of CBECCS technology for China, with a focus on plant and fuel configurations (e.g., biomass ratios) and economics, as well as CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions and cobenefits for air quality.

A detail of the video board at the UN showing the votes in favor, against and the abstention after a vote to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer).

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

Addressing the Nuclear Ban Treaty

| Apr. 16, 2019

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), a bedrock of international security, had the 50-year anniversary of its signing in 2018. While the existence of the treaty has not been able to prevent a handful of states from seeking nuclear weapons, for half a century the NPT has promoted norms of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. Only nine states possess nuclear weapons today, far below the number predicted early in the nuclear age. Nonetheless, a second nuclear treaty, adopted in 2017, represents a significant and growing crack in the foundation of the NPT and suggests that relations among its members need to change if the treaty is going to survive another 50 years.

an operator inspects a photolithography tool used to manufacture these solar cells.

Daniel Derkacs/SolarJunction

Journal Article - Research Policy

Governments as Partners: The Role of Alliances in U.S. Cleantech Startup Innovation

Accelerating innovation in clean energy technologies is a policy priority for governments around the world aiming to mitigate climate change and to provide affordable energy. Most research has focused on the role of governments financing R&D and steering market demand, but there is a more limited understanding of the role of direct government interactions with startups across all sectors. The authors  propose and evaluate the value-creation mechanisms of network resources from different types of partners for startups, highlighting the unique resources of government partners for cleantech startups. 

Solar panels at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory gather sunlight at the test facility

AP/Jack Dempsey

Journal Article - MRS Energy & Sustainability

Nurturing Transformative U.S. Energy Research: Two Guiding Principles

The authors raise for debate and discussion what in their opinion is a growing mis-control and mis-protection of U.S. energy research. They outline the origin of this mis-control and mis-protection, and propose two guiding principles to mitigate them and instead nurture research: (1) focus on people, not projects; and (2) culturally insulate research from development, but not science from technology.

newer design of a nuclear reactor

DOE/Advanced Reactor Technology

Journal Article - Nature Energy

A Tortoise Approach for US Nuclear Research and Development

| July 30, 2018

In Aesop's fable, a swift hare races with a deliberate tortoise. In the end, the tortoise wins by taking a slow and steady approach. The authors argue that, given the economic constraints on US deployment of nuclear power, a "tortoise strategy" is more prudent for US government nuclear R&D efforts.

rendering of Carbon Engineering’s air capture design

Courtesy of Carbon Engineering

Journal Article - Joule

A Process for Capturing CO2 from the Atmosphere

    Authors:
  • Geoffrey Holmes
  • David St. Angelo
  • Kenton Heidel
| 2018

The authors describe a process for capturing CO2 from the atmosphere in an industrial plant. The design captures ∼1 Mt-CO2/year in a continuous process using an aqueous KOH sorbent coupled to a calcium caustic recovery loop. They describe the design rationale, summarize performance of the major unit operations, and provide a capital cost breakdown developed with an independent consulting engineering firm. They report results from a pilot plant that provides data on performance of the major unit operations.

 Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Journal Article - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

US Nuclear Power: The Vanishing Low-carbon Wedge

    Authors:
  • M. Granger Morgan
  • Ahmed Abdulla
  • Michael Rath
| July 10, 2018

Nuclear power holds the potential to make a significant contribution to decarbonizing the US energy system. Whether it could do so in its current form is a critical question: Existing large light water reactors in the United States are under economic pressure from low natural gas prices, and some have already closed. Moreover, because of their great cost and complexity, it appears most unlikely that any new large plants will be built over the next several decades. While advanced reactor designs are sometimes held up as a potential solution to nuclear power's challenges, the authors' assessment of the advanced fission enterprise suggests that no US design will be commercialized before midcentury. That leaves factory-manufactured, light water small modular reactors (SMRs) as the only option that might be deployed at significant scale in the climate-critical period of the next several decades.

Dr. Arun Majumdar

DOE/Ken Shipp

Journal Article - Research Policy

Simultaneous Pursuit of Discovery and Invention in the US Department of Energy

There is a sharp boundary between basic and applied research in the organizational structure of the US Department of Energy (DOE). In this work, the authors consider a branch of DOE that was designed to operate across this boundary: the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E). They hypothesize that much of energy research cannot be neatly categorized as basic or applied and is more productive outside of the confines of the basic/applied dichotomy; ARPA-E provides an opportunity to test that hypothesis.

Windmills on shore

Flickr

Journal Article - Oxford Energy Forum

U.S. Energy Diplomacy in an Age of Energy Abundance

| November 2017

For decades, fears of energy scarcity drove American energy diplomacy. The dependence of the global economy on oil, and America’s need to secure ever-growing quantities of this commodity, underpinned complex networks of alliances and intensive diplomatic endeavors. An atmosphere of ever-increasing global competition for resources made these labors all the more urgent and highstakes. Today, in an age of energy abundance, many anticipate that the new US energy prowess will render such efforts obsolete and pave the way for US disengagement in the world. Yet a sober look at reality suggests that this should be far from the case.