The state-of-the-art of fuel cell technology

When you hear fuel cells you may, first and foremost, think about hydrogen fuel cells for vehicle transport. But fuel cells are not at all limited to hydrogen, and are attractive energy suppliers for industrial and domestic usage. Professor Nigel Branson is a fuel cell expert and entrepeneur at Imperial College, London. Here, he and his student Paul Shearing talk about their state-of-the-art research in fuel cell development.

Does corporate backing taint universities energy resource studies?

Meet Professor Pam Matson, dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University and renowned scientist. Pam is super-excited about the opportunities that ever-increasing levels of private and industrial funding for energy and environmental research offer. How can universities contribute to finding sustainable energy sources and solutions to global warming? And, is there a risk that research at academic institutions, which should be unbiased, is tainted because of industrial funding? Hear what Pam has to say and meet this energetic leader.

Meet an energetic energy investor! (part 1)

Erik Straser leads the cleantech investment of Mohr Davidow Ventures. Its his job to seek out promising start-ups in solar energy, biofuels, energy storage, industrial biotech and clean coal. My students asked this energetic Ph.D. about his research into companies, his investment strategies, his current projects, and his general views on the cleantech industry and existing energy policies.

The interview is in two parts. Here, we discuss general research and investment strategies.

View From the Top: Shell Oil President John Hofmeister

John Hofmeister, Shell Oil president, sees an important role for his company in supplying the worlds energy in the future. Petroleum (oil and gas) will remain, at least for the near to medium future, the most important energy resource. Shell is also investing, as are many other energy companies, in renewable energy (wind, solar, biofuels) as well as so-called clean coal. Hear John Hofmeisters views on Shells future directions and current energy policies.

Stanfords Green Dorm

A few facts: in the U.S., residential and commercial space accounts for 40 percent of our primary energy consumption and 38 percent of CO2 emissions are from operating buildings. Why, then, is so little attention paid to building energy efficient offices and residences? Prof. Gil Masters from Stanford University wants to change that. His dream to build a student dorm that is green and clean is being realized: the Green Dorm project at Stanford is under way.

My students talked to him about this project, which includes the use of geothermal heat pumps, solar heating and fuel cells. Now, if Gil got his way, the dorm would have one or more pluggable hybrids also…

Helping the Planet

We are all born in a world that has a reached a very high level of pollution and the increasing population is making it harder every year for the planet. Everything we do daily has a direct or indirect effect on planet resources and the environment, which means that we hurt the planet in one way or another each day.

For a few years now – for some decades – there have been investigations, trials and triumphs in making the world a better place when it comes to human interaction with the Earth’s natural resources. We need the Earth to provide us with food, water, energy and a many more. Mankind has made it that the energy we receive is consumed a little more moderately now that it was a few centuries ago, especially since the need has grown a lot.

Helping the planet has become all about creating, planning and implementing sustainable energy systems like solar power, wind energy, wave or geothermal energy. There are ways in which we can help the planet by taking something that will never cease to exist. And since the planet needs help, a lot of people have gathered their strengths to make others understand the value of sustainable energy.

Even large companies and organizations have taken the time to install solar panels or small windmills in order to produce their own energy. Take large pharmaceutical companies that produce generic Viagra; several of them are aware of what the Earth needs, especially since they work closely with natural elements and chemicals derived from the planet. Every time you buy Viagra from an online pharmacy you can be reminded that there is a possibility that the pharmacy selling you the Viagra online has taken some important steps toward helping the planet.

A lot more large corporations are trying to make a difference and set an example for everyone that we can have sustainable energy that can help the planet for generations to come.

Forget alternative energies in the short term: we need to save, save, save

Forget alternative energies: in the short term the only feasible solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum dependencies is energy efficiency. There is much to be gained, especially in the U.S., where energy consumption per person has risen above that of any other country in the world. Professor Jim Sweeney directs the new Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency on the Stanford University campus. Energy efficiency measures can reduce our consumption significantly whilst not hurting our economy nor lifestyle: there is no excuse not to go this way.

Theres energy in Silicon Valley: VCs jump on green energy investments

Silicon Valley is buzzing, but not just because of software and hardware investments. The new boom is in green energy technologies. James Horn is an investment manager for Noventi, one of the many Venture Capitalist firms excited about the energy field. The boom is fantastic news for new energy technology developments: The level of investments by the VCs will provide the financial support that we need to engineer the technologies of the future.

Changing the worlds energy systems

Global warming is happening, and one of the culprits is likely increased emission levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as a result of our energy usage. Lynn Orr is director of the Global Climate and Energy Project and one of the worlds leading experts on global warming and CO2 emissions. He says we need to take urgent action now to reduce the risk of a global catastrophe, by increasing energy efficiency, investing in energy resources such as wind and solar with low emissions, and researching potential carbon dioxide sequestration processes.

This talk was part of the End of Oil debate, at Stanford University in March 2006.

The state-of-the-art of fuel cell technology

When you hear fuel cells you may, first and foremost, think about hydrogen fuel cells for vehicle transport. But fuel cells are not at all limited to hydrogen, and are attractive energy suppliers for industrial and domestic usage. Professor Nigel Branson is a fuel cell expert and entrepeneur at Imperial College, London. Here, he and his student Paul Shearing talk about their state-of-the-art research in fuel cell development.