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Energy 2010 Symposia


Materials Challenges in Energy 2010


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Solar power is energy derived from sunlight and can be converted into various forms of energy such as heat and electricity. The conversion to electricity can take place by photovoltaic (PV cells) or solar cells, as well as by use of solar power plants. There are currently more than a dozen major solar plants in the US, with most of these facilities located in California.

Topic Champions: Dr. Abhi Karkamkar, PNL and Dr. Joel Ager, LBNL



Wind power plants or wind farms often consist of many individual units with the largest wind farm located in Texas consisting of over 400 wind turbines that generate enough electricity to power about a quarter of a million homes each year, The US is ranked second in the world in wind power capacity, only following Germany. In countries such as Denmark, about 20% of its electricity is generated from the wind.

Topic Champion: Mr. Jose Zayas, SNL

Topic Co-champions: Mr. Tom Ashwill, SNL, Dr. Doug Cairns, Montana State, Rita Forman-House, ASM



Hydropower is the most often used form of renewable energy in the US. Mechanical energy is produced and used by harnessing moving water. Over half of the US hydroelectric capacity to generate electricity is located in three states; Washington, California and Oregon, with the largest US hydroelectric facility being the Grand Coulee Dam in the state of Washington. Hydropower currently accounts for about 6% of the total electricity generated in the US.

Topic Champion: Dr. Brenda Garcia-Diaz, SRNL

Topic Co-champion: Dr. Kristine Zeigler, SRNL



The US produces more geothermal electricity that any other country, but this still amounts to less than ½ of one percent of all energy generated. Most geothermal reservoirs are deep underground but can find their way to the surface in forms such as volcanos, hot springs and geysers. California has almost 3 dozen geothermal power plants that produce the largest fraction of US energy from this source.

Topic Champion: Ms. Hidda Thorsteinsson, DOE

Topic Co-champion: Ms. Agatha Wein, DOE



Biomass is energy derived from organic plant and animal matter and examples of biomass include wood, crops, manure, and municipal solid wastes. When burned, the energy in biomass is released as heat but it can also be converted to other forms of energy like methane gas, ethanol and biodiesel. Biomass fuels currently account for about 3% of the energy used in the US.

Topic Champion: Dr. Edgar Lara-Curzio, ORNL

Topic Co-champion: Mr. Tim Theiss, ORNL



Nuclear power extracts usable energy from atomic nuclei by controlled nuclear reactions and most often, through nuclear fission. On a global scale, there are more than 400 operating nuclear power plants in more than 30 different countries, which generate a total of about 30% of the energy produced in the European Union and almost 20% of all the energy produced in the United States. Among the advantages of nuclear energy are no greenhouse emissions.

Topic Champions: Dr. Robert Sindelar, SRNL, Dr. Frank Goldner, DOE

Topic Co-champion: Dr. Natraj Iyer, SRNL



Hydrogen is the simplest element known to man and like electricity, is primarily an energy carrier compared to an energy source. “Innovative Materials in an Emerging Hydrogen Economy” was the focus of the first inter-society energy conference held by ACerS and ASM Int’l in 2008. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of domestic sources, including fossil fuels as well as from renewable resources and can be stored in gas, liquid or solid forms. There is considerable work in progress on development of materials and systems for effective hydrogen storage. This alternative is considered a promising energy concept of the future, but like may alternatives, there currently is no infrastructure in place to produce, store, transport or distribute hydrogen effectively, in an emerging hydrogen economy.

Topic Champions: Dr. Rick Sisson, WPI, Dr. Ragaiy Zidan, SRNL



Batteries and Energy Storage Materials
Batteries are devices which convert chemical energy into electrical energy. There are many types of batteries available and represents a multi-billion dollar industry. Among the battery types of much interest are standard lead acid batteries and Li-ion batteries. Materials improvements are critical in making these energy sources more effective in the future.

Topic Champion: Dr. Thad Adams, SRNL

Topic Co-champion: Dr. Ming Au, SRNL

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