ENERGY STORY: AVATAR-II (NEW REFERENCE ADDED 8/25)


AVATAR II


AVATAR - II

First and foremost, irrespective of which direction the climate change debate goes, energy resources are limited, and calls for taking a prudent approach to utilization of limited resources. Further, if we were to take pascal's wager argument [1] (often suggested by Prof. Edward Freeman) or insurance connection (suggested by researchers such as, Prof. Robert Pindyck) [2] into account, the impact of any climate change can be so catastrophic on various fronts (economic, social, financial) if it were to happen, and calls for developing viable, realistic and preventative approaches.

What are the potential areas to focus with respect to meeting energy demand and to limit ghg emissions?

1. Reducing residential energy consumption by directing focus towards influencing consumer behavior through awareness, promotional offers for energy efficient and consumer-essential products & through construction of energy efficient and optimally sized houses (Potential target: ~25 - 50% reduction)

2. Enhancing public transportation through railway & bus networks connecting inter- & intra-city hubs with the suburbs - 

Advantages: 

Reduction in consumption of energy & ghg emissions; new jobs creation; improved convenience for work-related long distance commuters - thus reducing travel related stress; and also potentially reducing the need to relocate due to disruption in the job market (can bring stability to housing market). 

Concern: 

Disruption of auto related ecosystem

Personal View

There would still be demand for fuel-efficient cars & trucks for family-related needs, and for labor-intensive jobs. Furthermore, reducing gas consumption would help consumers in saving more money for other discretionary expenses, that includes buying new cars. Above all, US and global population are expected to increase in the coming years, which should automatically increase demand for cars.

3. With respect to diversification of energy sources, it is essential not to over-rely on any particular energy source, but the change to another source should not be abrupt; for eg., it is difficult to predict right now the long-term impact of deep drilling/fracking on underground rock formation. For that reason, increased utilization of this energy source should be gradual and align with research investments to understand the risks involved in such technologies. Added to it, methane leaks appear to be a growing concern while dealing with this energy source.

4.  Another major factor to consider would be population growth. If US & global population growth follows the predicted route presented in the literature, then we need to rely on every possible energy source. For that reason, rather than ostracizing any particular energy source, it is important to engineer/innovate new technologies, approaches, processes to make every source more effective and cleaner.

US CO2 Emissions


Source: U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by sector and fuel in the Reference case, 2005 and 2040: History: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, September 2013, DOE/EIA-0035(2013/09). Projections: AEO2014 National Energy Modeling System, run REF2014.D102413A.

DISTRIBUTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS FOR THREE COMMON ENERGY SOURCES

                                                                 

FIGURE 2A & 2B: CO2 EMISSIONS DISTRIBUTION FOR THREE COMMON ENERGY SOURCES IN 2005 & 2040(projected) - Net CO2 emissions is expected to decrease by approximately 7% during this time.

CO2 EMISSIONS FOR DIFFERENT ENERGY SEGMENTS

                                                                 

FIGURE 3A & 3B: CO2 EMISSIONS DISTRIBUTION FOR FOUR COMMON MARKET SEGMENTS IN 2005 & 2040(projected)

REFERENCES

(Reference 3 in the article - our team did extensive work in the lab, and field; Joined another company in 2008 when this was published; This project started as a prospecting project for me, and involved studying silica, silicates that forms an essential part of rock formation)