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Daniel Nocera - Personalized Energy for One (x 6 Billion)

Lecture, with professor Daniel Nocera, presented by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship
December 10, 2009

Daniel Nocera is swimming very hard against the current of mainstream energy research. While many scientists are figuring out how to scale up wind, geothermal or biomass systems, Nocera is focusing on “personalized” energy units that can be manufactured, distributed and installed on the cheap.

His main concern lies with the increasing energy demands of six billion people, primarily from developing nations, who will be marching onto the world stage by 2050 and likely doubling the planet’s energy consumption, from around 13 to 26 terawatts (that’s trillion watts). A “solution to the energy challenge rests in providing the non-legacy (developing) world a carbon-neutral, sustainable energy supply,” says Nocera.

On advice he received from Kurt Vonnegut: "He told me, 'stop worrying about the planet dying. When you have a big organism and you become irritating to it, the immunological system just kicks in and kills the invading organism'. And he assured me that we have just become so irritating to the earth, she'll just kill us. Which makes me happier. It says that there is something much bigger than us, which we forget about the earth. And she is much more powerful than us. She'll get rid of us if we don't take care of her.”

Daniel Nocera

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