What are the big issues for the Future of Energy at the moment?
Energy is a central point in our world. The reserves are decreasing, while the consumption is increasing. Provide enough energy is a real challenge to foster economical and industrial growth and conserve our comfortable leaving. At the moment there are no technologies, or group of technologies, able to provide a long term solution to the problem.
Soon or later we will have to reduce our consumption unless new technologies will allow us to harvest new forms of energy and with enhanced efficiencies and reduced costs. There are mainly 3 challenges:
1) As efficiencies will be at best enhanced by a factor of 3 to 10 in all known fields investigated today, harvesting costs optimisation in renewable energies are in the end strongly related to the reduction of raw materials use. At this level the costs can still be improved by orders of magnitude as miniaturization in microelectronics has demonstrated in the past.
2) A second challenge is to integrate the energy harvesting infrastructures into our living. This has not to be to the detriment of our leaving space, food cultures, or other useful gound surface and at the same time it should be accessible to convey the energy where it will be used. Efficient energy transportation from "non-exploitable lands" to our cities will be the second big challenge.
3) The third challenge is related to the impact on our world to harvest such very large quantities of energy. Whatever the collecting or production modes it will definitively have an impact when carried out at large scale. Today it is called CO2 and nuclear wastes, but what will be tomorrow wastes? Even renewable energies like photovoltaics, that is regarded as "safe", may have drawbacks due to the chemical species involved in the production processes. How can be CdTe cells considered as a clean, green, and sustainable technology?
Pollution may not be only related to chemical or radioactive species, but could also be related to thermal pollution (strong variations of local temperatures), macroscopic effects on air and water flows and circulation, drastic reduction of raw materials over exploited in such production processes. I believe that as many approaches as possible will have to co-exist to limit any kind side effects. This can only be achieved by diversifying the research approaches and avoid targeting only one efficiency optimized technology.
How do you think we can make a difference?
I believe that a forum like EFEF can contribute to the exchange of ideas between the actors in the field: science, finance, and politics to discuss and progress hand in hand towards a solution as this must be clear that none of those parties can manage such a challenge alone.
Why are you attending EFEF?
It will be a good way to network, to have an up to date and global vision in the field of energy and provide visibility to my companies.
Register now for the conference to see Giacomo Benvenuti speak on the Future of Energy - see full conference details at www.EuropeanFutureEnergyForum.com/conference and register now online at www.EuropeanFutureEnergyForum.com/register