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Plenary Lecture

Reducing societies’ carbon intensity and creating a circular carbon economy to solve humans’ biggest centennial challenge


The U.S. National Academy of Engineering identified the development of carbon sequestration methods as one of the 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st century. During the 2015 COP21 in Paris, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi asked for the developed nations to create “carbon space” for the developing nations to grow into. This is important, as in the past, gross domestic product growth and increase in wealth of societies have been directly linked to an increase in carbon emissions. Fossil carbon emissions are the key contributor to the human component of climate change.

This talk will explore how we can reduce our carbon intensity and decouple carbon from economic growth. Challenges to decouple carbon emissions from economic activity are difficult. Energy production, energy storage, and energy consumption need to fundamentally change. This talk will explore three challenging areas:

  1. Power generation and security
  2. Energy storage and distribution
  3. Mobility from automotive to marine and aviation

While this lecture does not focus on materials development, the participating materials community will easily see the many materials issues associated with this call for action. This lecture will focus on enabling a “carbon free” future for mobility, electricity production, and industrial manufacturing.

Prof. Dr. Claus Daniel
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Additional Authors:
  • Michelle Kidder
  • Robert Wagner
  • Jim Szybist
  • Ron Graves
  • David Smith
  • Burak Ozpineci
  • Rich Davies
  • Tom King
  • Tim Theiss
  • Edgar Lara-Curzio