Solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity’s future long-term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions – but to realize this potential will require increased emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies and more effective deployment policy. This talk presents results of a comprehensive study on The Future of Solar Energy by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), which is part of a series of multidisciplinary reports that examine the role various energy sources could play in meeting future energy demand under carbon dioxide emissions constraints.
The Future of Solar Energy study reflects on the technical, commercial and policy dimensions of solar energy today and makes recommendations to policymakers, illustrated in the US context, regarding more effective support for research and development, technology demonstration, and solar deployment. Among its major themes is the need to prepare our electricity systems, both technically and from a regulatory standpoint, for very large-scale deployment of solar generation – which tends to vary unpredictably throughout the day. To this end, the study emphasizes the need for research and development support to advance low-cost, large-scale electricity storage technologies.
For more information or a downloadable copy of The Future of Solar Energy study, visit http://energy.mit.edu/research/future-solar-energy/.
About the Speaker
Robert Armstrong directs the MIT Energy Initiative, an Institute-wide initiative at MIT linking science, technology, and policy to transform the world’s energy systems. A member of the MIT faculty since 1973, Armstrong served as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1996 to 2007. His research interests include polymer fluid mechanics, rheology of complex materials, and energy.
In 2008, Armstrong was elected into the National Academy of Engineering for conducting outstanding research on non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, co-authoring landmark textbooks, and providing leadership in chemical engineering education. Armstrong received the Warren K. Lewis Award and the Professional Progress Award in 1992, both from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the 2006 Bingham Medal from the Society of Rheology, which is devoted to the study of the science of deformation and flow of matter. Armstrong co-edited Game Changers: Energy on the Move with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz.