Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Aligning Energy Technologies and Climate Change Goals

Published: Thursday, June 06, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, June 06, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The cost and performance of future energy technologies will largely determine to what degree nations are able to reduce the effects of climate change.

Using a new approach, MIT researchers evaluate energy technologies against climate goals and find that while the U.S. will need to transition the majority of its energy to carbon-free technologies by mid-century, past technology improvement rates paint an optimistic picture.

In a paper published in Environmental Science & Technology, MIT researchers demonstrate a new approach to help engineers, policymakers and investors think ahead about the types of technologies needed to meet climate goals.

“To reach climate goals, it is important to determine aspirational performance targets for energy technologies currently in development,” says Jessika Trancik, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of engineering systems. “These targets can guide efforts and hopefully accelerate technological improvement.”

Trancik says that existing climate change mitigation models aren’t suited to provide this information, noting, “This research fills a gap by focusing on technology performance as a mitigation lever and providing a way to compare the dynamic performance of individual energy technologies to climate goals. This provides meaningful targets for engineers in the lab, as well as policymakers looking to create low-carbon policies and investors who need to know where their money can best be spent.”

The model compares the carbon intensity and costs of technologies to emission reduction goals, and maps the position of the technologies on a cost and carbon trade-off curve to evaluate how that position changes over time.

According to Nathan E. Hultman, director of Environmental and Energy Policy Programs at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, this approach “provides an interesting and useful alternate method of thinking about both the outcomes and the feasibility of a global transition to a low-carbon energy system.” Hultman, who is also a fellow at the Brookings Institution, was not associated with the study.

How do technologies measure up?

According to Trancik, the cost and carbon trade-off curve can be applied to any region and any sector over any period of time to evaluate energy technologies against climate goals.  Along with her co-author, MIT master’s student Daniel Cross-Call, she models the period from 2030 to 2050 and specifically studies the U.S. and China’s electricity sectors.

The researchers find that while major demand-side improvements in energy efficiency will buy some time, the U.S. will need to transition at least 70 percent of its energy to carbon-free technologies by 2050 – even if energy demand is low and the emissions reduction target is high.

Demand-side changes buy more time in China. Efficiency, combined with less stringent emissions allocations, allows for one to two more decades of time to transition to carbon-free technologies. During this time, technologies are expected to improve.

This technology focused perspective, Trancik says, “may help developed and developing countries move past the current impasse in climate negotiations.”

While reaching climate goals is a seemingly formidable task, Trancik says that considering changes to technology performance over time is important. When comparing historical changes in technologies to the future changes needed to meet climate targets, the results paint an optimistic picture.

“Past changes in the cost and carbon curve are comparable to the future changes required to reach carbon intensity targets,” Trancik says. “Along both the cost and carbon axes there is a technology that has changed in the past as much as, or more than, the change needed in the future to reach the carbon intensity and associated cost targets. This is good news.”

The research was partially funded by the MIT Energy Initiative.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Device can Study Electric Field Cancer Therapy
Microfluidic device allows study of electric field cancer therapy through low-intensity fields, preventing malignant cells spreading.
Friday, July 08, 2016
Programmable RNA Vaccines
Tests in mice show the vaccines work against Ebola, influenza, and a common parasite.
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Seeing RNA at the Nanoscale
MIT researchers have developed a new way to image proteins and RNA inside neurons of brain tissue.
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Tough New Hydrogel Hybrid Doesn’t Dry Out
Water-based material could be used to make artificial skin, longer-lasting contact lenses.
Friday, July 01, 2016
Wireless, Wearable Toxic-Gas Detector
Inexpensive sensors could be worn by soldiers to detect hazardous chemical agents.
Friday, July 01, 2016
New System for Detecting Explosives
Spectroscopic system with chip-scale lasers cuts detection time from minutes to microseconds.
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
Illuminating Hidden Gene Regulators
New super-resolution technique visualizes important role of short-lived enzyme clusters.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Controlling RNA in Living Cells
Modular, programmable proteins can be used to track or manipulate gene expression.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Long-Term Drug Release
New tablet attaches to the lining of the GI tract, resists being pulled away.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Pharmacy on Demand
New, portable system can be configured to produce different drugs.
Monday, April 04, 2016
A Programming Language for Living Cells
New language lets researchers design novel biological circuits.
Monday, April 04, 2016
Why Some Tumors Withstand Treatment
Mechanism uncovered that allows cancer cells to evade targeted therapies.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Cancer Cells Remodel Environments Before Spreading
Researchers at MIT have found that the cancer cells remodel their environment to make it easier to reach nearby blood vessels.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Paving the Way for Metastasis
Cancer cells remodel their environment to make it easier to reach nearby blood vessels.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
A New Way to Discover DNA Modifications
Researchers systematically find molecules that help regulate and protect DNA.
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
Connectome Map More Than Doubles Human Cortex’s Known Regions
Researchers at NIH have developed software that automatically detects the “fingerprint” of each of these areas in an individual’s brain scans.
Discovered Through ‘Big Data’ Analysis
Researchers at the SBP have identified over 100 new genetic regions that affect the immune response to cancer.
Human Stem Cells to Rapidly Generate Bone, Heart Muscle
A new study shows that combining positive and negative signals can quickly and efficiently steer stem cells down complex developmental pathways to become specialized tissues that could be used in the clinic.
New Mechanism of Tuberculosis Infection
Researchers at UTSW Medical Center have identified a new way that tuberculosis bacteria get into the body, revealing a potential therapeutic angle to explore.
New Therapeutic Targets For Small Cell Lung Cancer Identified
Researchers at UTSW Medical Center have identified a protein termed ASCL1 that is essential to the development of small cell lung cancer and that, when deleted in the lungs of mice, prevents the cancer from forming.
Eliminating Doubt in Criminal Investigations
New ASU certificate to help curb error, misunderstanding in the quest for justice.
Determination of 13 Organic Toxicants in Human Blood
Researchers have utilised liquid-liquid extraction coupling HPLC-MS/MS to identify and quantify organic toxicants in human blood.
A Novel Cell Culture Model For Forensic Biology Experiments
Researchers have developed a new cell culture model which provides an efficient research tool in forensic biology.
Rhino DNA Bank Aids Anti-Poaching Fight
At the University of Pretoria's Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) at Onderstepoort, Dr Cindy Harper and her team have developed a ground-breaking technique to collect and catalogue DNA from rhinos and rhino horns.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!