Sunday, June 2, 2019

Basic Research Needs For Solar Energy Utilization ((Free PDF)

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World demand for energy is projected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by the end of the century. Incremental improvements in existing energy networks will not be adequate to supply this demand in a sustainable way. Finding sufficient supplies of clean energy for the future is one of society’s most daunting challenges.

Sunlight provides by far the largest of all carbon-neutral energy sources. More energy from sunlight strikes the Earth in one hour (4.3 × 1020 J) than all the energy consumed on the planet in a year (4.1 × 1020 J). We currently exploit this solar resource through solar electricity — a $7.5 billion industry growing at a rate of 35–40% per annum — and solar-derived fuel from biomass, which provides the primary energy source for over a billion people.

Yet solar electricity currently provides only approximately 1 millionth of the total electricity supply, and renewable biomass provides less than 0.1% of total energy consumed. The huge gap between our present use of solar energy and its enormous undeveloped potential defines a grand challenge in energy research. Sunlight is a compelling solution to our need for clean, abundant sources of energy in the future. It is readily available, secure from geopolitical tension, and poses no threat to our environment through pollution or to our climate through greenhouse gases.

1. Notation
2. Executive Summary
3. Introduction
4. Global Energy Resources
5. Reports of the Panels on Basic Research Needs for Solar Energy Utilization
6. Priority Research Directions
Appendix 1: Technology Assessments
Appendix 2: Workshop Participants
Appendix 3: Workshop Program
Appendix 4: Additional Reading

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