“Maybe the road we’ve been on in trying to fix our environment, while well-intentioned, has not been the right road… we are not going to be able to solar panel and windmill our way out of [climate change].”
“[But], I refuse to accept that it’s too late … we need a serious new direction.”
“Working together we can find solutions to our energy needs. It won’t be one source of energy or another, but rather a healthy mix that addresses the needs of a diverse world. The CCCU aims to find clean, reliable, low-cost solutions that can be implemented worldwide.”
“All the batteries we make now could store less than 10 minutes of all the [electrical energy the world uses] … If you’re counting on [wind and solar] for 100 percent, you need an incredible miracle battery.”
Energy is essential to our way of life, for sustaining us and growing our society. However, today we find ourselves in the midst of an energy crisis. We are faced with the dilemma of reducing society’s carbon footprint while still meeting the ever-growing worldwide demand for energy.
Wind and solar energy are the fastest growing renewable energy technologies across the globe today. After they are built, these technologies don’t require fuel, have no direct emissions, and, in some countries, are the cheapest way to expand on existing energy infrastructure. Wind and solar have the potential to play a meaningful role in generating clean energy; however, they also have serious drawbacks, as they are unreliable and can have significant environmental impacts, making it impractical to depend on them for 100% of our energy. To ensure that we have a sustainable, reliable energy future, we must be willing to consider every technology available to us, and determine the proper role for each, by analyzing their benefits and drawbacks.
To create a sustainable future, we will need to optimize the implementation of every viable energy technology. Having a diverse array of clean energy sources supplying electricity to our grids has many benefits, foremost is grid resiliency and security. To optimize this mix, the benefits and drawbacks of each technology must be carefully analyzed in order to determine the best way to maximize positive attributes while minimizing the negative. The proper energy mix will vary geographically – what works for one country may not work for another, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The more we understand this, the better we are able to make good choices and to be informed advocates for energy solutions.
So where do we go from here? Renewable energy can bring significant benefits when implemented appropriately – as part of a greater solution, but it is not difficult to see that the current mainstream plan for massive wind and solar implementation to eliminate fossil fuels will not solve our energy crisis. More importantly, it can be very dangerous to our way of life. Our society is dependent on fossil fuels, and for good reason. These fuels, and their unique characteristics, have done more to elevate our quality of life than any other resource on earth. They do this by providing reliable, low-cost energy everywhere and always. Currently, nothing else can do that, so we cannot just abandon fossil fuels. We must find ways to continue using them while minimizing their negative impacts. And this is true for renewable energy as well – we must find ways to incorporate them into our energy mix while minimizing their negative impacts. The bottom line is that we need to work together to evaluate every available option, develop new technologies, and properly combine these to produce robust, reliable, sustainable solutions to our energy needs.
We are advancing technologies for clean utilization of coal, both as a dependable, low-cost energy source and a reliable chemical feed stock, and we are developing solutions to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions associated with the use of coal.
We are actively training a motivated, talented workforce that is capable of addressing the challenges of the energy grid, and the use of advanced low-emissions or negative-emissions coal technologies. Students are engaged in both fundamental and applied research and have a strong appreciation for the needs of the energy grid.
We are developing technologies that have the potential to be applied at grid-scale. Thus, we require unique research labs and, to this end, we have establishing state-of-the-art facilities, including bench scale and pilot scale facilities, that are designed for developing and testing various technologies for the clean utilization of coal.