This lecture provides an overview of global energy challenges and recent advances in catalysis research and development for sustainable energy development. The exponential growth in world population coupled with much longer human life span and higher living standards resulted in much higher per capita energy consumption. The current energy systems also suffer from low efficiencies, less than 40% for centralized power plants and less than 30% in transportation vehicles. Thus over 60% of chemical energy is wasted in most of the current energy systems. The ever increasing energy consumption by the existing combustion-based energy utilization systems in the 20th century also led to the increase of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, in the atmosphere at an alarming rate which has caused serious concerns for global climate change. The world has depleted a major portion of the non-renewable energy resources, and now faces great energy challenges. Clean energy and alternative energy have become the focus areas in catalysis research worldwide. It is well known that many petroleum refining processes and most of petrochemical processes are based on catalysis. Over 85% of chemical manufacturing processes uses heterogeneous or homogeneous or biochemical catalysis. In the second part of this lecture, research needs and opportunities will be discussed on catalysis for clean fuels and alternative fuels, catalysis in fuel processing for fuel cells, and (C) catalysis for bio-energy, solar energy and CO2 utilization in making fuels and chemicals. Catalysis coupled with material science, chemical and engineering sciences can play a major role in addressing major energy challenges, and in building the bridge to sustainable energy system in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- General Chemical Engineering