Clean Energy Technology: Understanding Materials Limitations and Opportunities
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Clean Energy Technology promises to minimize periodic fuel shortages, fluctuating costs, global warming, and airborne pollution. This requires cleaner and more sustainable means for energy conversion, storage, and conservation. In nearly all cases, progress in developing and commercializing these alternative technologies is limited by materials. In this course, key energy-related technologies (including solar photovoltaics and fuels, thermoelectrics, batteries, and fuel cells) are examined in the context of the demands placed on them, including issues related to efficiency, life, cost, process, and infrastructure development. The limitations and challenges related to addressing the required key figures of merit are correlated, on the one hand, to the basic underlying thermodynamic, structural (crystalline and defective), transport, and physical principles and, on the other, to the means for fabricating devices exhibiting optimum operating efficiencies and extended life at reasonable cost.
Fundamentals: Key scientific concepts in energy conversion and storage materials (20%)
Current Technologies: Materials that convert and store energy: current state-of-the-art (20%)
Applications: How materials are used in solar cells, thermoelectrics, solar fuels, batteries, and fuel cells (40%)
Economics: Scalability, abundance, risks, and opportunities (20%)
Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (90%)
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (10%)
Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (50%)
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (35%)
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (15%)
- Understand conversion and storage mechanisms for solar, thermal, and chemical energy.
- Understand materials limitations and opportunities will drive development in energy conversion and storage.
- Assess key issues related to efficiency, life, cost, process, and infrastructure development.
- Connect materials performance and potential to basic underlying principles.
- Connect materials performance and potential to scalability, cost, and economic opportunity.
Who Should Attend
This class is open to all, especially those who want to understand the materials behind clean energy technology, their basic limitations, and opportunities for improving efficiencies and lowering costs. A college background in science will be all that is needed to understand the general concepts discussed, though the overall depth and breadth of the instruction is such that scientists and energy experts will be engaged and come away with new knowledge and understanding.
- Fundamental limits on energy conversion
- Example of alternative sources of energy for transportation
- The big picture in terms of energy sources and needs. For example, examine different ways to convert sunlight to electricity (e.g. via heat, direct PV, fuels)
- Non-typical materials issues and CO2: steel production, cement, and aluminum
- Materials and theory for Photovoltaic and Photoelectrochemical devices, Solid State Lighting, and Smart Windows
- Market status and trends, with the objective to understand how materials issues relate to ultimate performance
- Materials and theory for thermoelectric materials
- Microstructure engineering
- New directions including nanostructures, chemically modulated structures, refractory compounds
- Challenges and opportunities
- Market potential and novel applications
Chemical Energy Storage:
- Materials for Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage
- Battery basics
- Phase stability and transformations
- Energy density considerations
- Storage capacity
- Charge/discharge rates
- Current status and future for battery development
Chemical Energy Conversion:
- Basics of solid oxide (SOFC) and polymer electrolyte (PEFC) fuel cells
- Challenges: electrolyte, electrodes, catalysts, interconnects
- Current status and future for the SOFC and PEFC development
- Solid-state gas sensors for emission and combustion control
- Catalytic converters
- Future trend
James Cox, President, Medkinetics
"Clear, concise, well organized with a nice balance of technical and business information."
Martina Turner, Founder, Accessible Clean Energy
"The course lecturers were very clear explaining the complexities of the science. This was most challenging given the diverse backgrounds of participants. They encouraged questions and were also thoughtful and thought- provoking when discussing existing and potential applications of different technologies."
Greg Sirokman, Assistant Professor, Wentworth Institute of Technology
"I found the course great for a better understanding of the application of certain technologies in the broad scope of the energy crisis, and the desire to move to less carbon intensive technologies. This course provides an excellent piece of the energy puzzle."
Gary Rahl, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
"If offered next Summer, I will send multiple colleagues from my practice area. This course is a very effective way to obtain a meaningful overview of the current issues in this field."
About the Lecturers
Gerbrand Ceder is the R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received an engineering degree in Metallurgy and Applied Materials Science from the University of Leuven, Belgium, in 1988, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991, at which time he joined the MIT faculty. Dr. Ceder’s research interests lie in the design of novel materials for energy generation and storage, including battery materials, hydrogen storage, thermoelectrics, electrodes for fuel cells, and photovoltaics. He has worked for 15 years in the Li-battery field, optimizing several new electrodes materials and has regularly served as scientific advisor to companies and investors in this area. His most recent scientific achievement has been the development of materials for ultra-fast battery charging. He has received the MRS Gold Medal and the Battery Research Award from the Electrochemical Society for his work on understanding battery materials, the Career Award from the National Science Foundation, and the Robert Lansing Hardy Award from The Metals, Minerals and Materials Society. He has also received three awards from the graduate students at MIT for best teaching. He is the founder of Computational Modeling Consultants and Pellion Technologies. He has published over 220 scientific papers in the fields of alloy theory, oxide phase stability, high-temperature superconductors, and Li-battery materials, and holds 5 current or pending U.S. patents.
Jeffrey C. Grossman is the Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Illinois, performed postdoctoral work at University of California at Berkeley, and was a Lawrence Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He returned to Berkeley as Director of a Nanoscience Center and Head of the Computational Nanoscience research group with focus on energy applications, prior to joining MIT in Fall 2009. Dr. Grossman’s group uses theory and simulation to gain fundamental understanding, develop new insights based on this understanding, and then use these insights to develop new materials for energy conversion and storage with improved properties – working closely with experimental groups at each step. He has published more than 70 scientific papers on the topics of solar photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, hydrogen storage, solar fuels, nanomechanical phenomena, and self-assembly. He has appeared on a number of television shows recently to discuss new materials for energy, including the Fred Friendly PBS series and the Ecopolis program on the Discovery Channel. He holds 6 current or pending U.S. patents.
Harry Tuller is Professor of Ceramics and Electronic Materials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received the B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Ph.D. in Solid Science and Engineering from Columbia University, New York and served as Post Doctoral Research Associate in Physics at the Technion, Israel before joining the MIT Faculty in 1975. His research has emphasized the modeling, processing, characterazation, and optimization of energy related devices (sensors, batteries, fuel cells, photolysis cells) and the integration of sensor, actuator, and photonic materials into microelectromechanical (MEMS) systems. This work has been extensively published in the form of articles (335), co-edited books (12) and patents (22). Prof. Tuller is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Electroceramics and co-founder of Boston MicroSystems, Inc., a developer of MEMS-based harsh environment-compatible devices for detection of toxic chemicals and automotive emissions. He is fellow of the American Ceramic Society, a Von Humboldt Fellow and a Fulbright Awardee, and was awarded honorary doctorates from the Université Aix-Marseille (France) and the University of Oulu (Finland).
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.
There are no updates at this time.