3 Questions: Asegun Henry on five “grand thermal challenges” to stem the tide of global warming

Monday, August 10, 2020 - 10:20 in Earth & Climate

More than 90 percent of the world’s energy use today involves heat, whether for producing electricity, heating and cooling buildings and vehicles, manufacturing steel and cement, or other industrial activities. Collectively, these processes emit a staggering amount of greenhouse gases into the environment each year. Reinventing the way we transport, store, convert, and use thermal energy would go a long way toward avoiding a global rise in temperature of more than 2 degrees Celsius — a critical increase that is predicted to tip the planet into a cascade of catastrophic climate scenarios. But, as three thermal energy experts write in a letter published today in Nature Energy, “Even though this critical need exists, there is a significant disconnect between current research in thermal sciences and what is needed for deep decarbonization.” In an effort to motivate the scientific community to work on climate-critical thermal issues, the authors have laid out five thermal energy...

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