Scientists from Stanford University and the University of California at Davis have crunched the numbers and come up with a plan for how the world might economically and feasibly make the move to renewable energy in the next 20 to 40 years.
In a two-part paper published in the journal Energy Policy, Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi show in great detail the who, what, where, and how of implementing a renewable energy-run world. It includes solutions to economic, material, and transport issues.
Jacobson, an atmospheric scientist and professor of civil and environmental engineering, is director of Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy Program and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy. Delucchi is a research scientist with a background in economic, environmental, engineering, and planning of transportation systems at the Institute for Transportation Studies at U.C. Davis.
This latest study is an in-depth analysis of a plan originally put forth by Jacobson and Delucchi and published in the November 2009 issue of Scientific American.
The most interesting determination made as a result of the team’s due diligence to the world of energy creation and use was just how much energy the world wastes producing and transporting other energy.
The scientists estimated that the world could reduce its overall energy demand by as much as 30 percent just by transitioning away from combustion processes to more efficient electric processes for producing energy and hydrogen fuel cells.
Jacobson and Delucchi claim that the world’s energy could be originated from 50 percent wind, 40 percent solar, 4 percent geothermal, 4 percent hydroelectric, and 2 percent wave and tidal power. They also agree that financial incentives and management systems aimed at conserving energy during peak demand times would be key.
Much of the plan revolves around the use of electricity and hydrogen fuel cells. That hydrogen would be produced by electricity which could be generated from wind and solar power.