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WHITEPAPER

OCTOBER 2011

The Low Carbon Menu

Doug Houseman, Enernex

I. IntroductIon1 Its useful to compare reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially carbon, to the food business. Every major personality, interest or industry group has a favorite recipe for a low carbon dish, but very little attention has been paid to developing a complete and convenient low carbon menu. Having read and rejected Hot, Flat and Crowded,2 Ive been asked by many people if I really believe that we can get to a low carbon future. This article is my answer to that question. I believe we can do it, but not if we try to prepare and serve only one dish at a time. Rather, I believe we need to develop a broad menu to achieve and sustain a low carbon society going forward. Water, gas, electricity, transportation, and agriculture must all be addressed as part of that menu. Dealing with any one of these in isolation could mean shortchanging the rest. Lets start with a set of goals that many of us would want a low carbon menu to meet. A suitable plan would entail: 1. No reduction in first-world standards of living; for developing countries, an improvement in standard of living. In the developed world, there will be an overall reduction in energy consumption, but no drastic changes in lifestyle. 2. For the individual, no dramatic change in habits forced by laws or regulation. Rather, the low carbon menu will provide the individual with a set of choices, allowing people to move in the direction they want to move. Think of it as a really good Chinese restaurant with a wide menu of choices and multiple available courses. 3. Enough water available to supply everyone with clean, safe drinking water. 4. Enough food to supply everyone with adequate calories and a healthy range of choices, including food grown halfway around the world, at reasonable prices as a proportion of income. 5. Enough energy to provide hot water, summer cooling, winter heating, cooking and other needs, again at reasonable prices as a proportion of income. 6. Freedom to live in the location that best suits each family or individual. 7. Convenient and affordable transportation options that allow people to work, shop and pay social visits using a variety of modes of conveyance as deemed appropriate to the purpose and distance traveled.

1.

This paper uses references and numbers that are U.S.-centric. That is not intended to downplay the global scale of the issue; rather it is done to limit the reference work in the document. Almost everything in The Low Carbon Menu applies globally. It is the authors hope that no one will be offended by the U.S.-centric nature of the examples and data. Also please forgive the use of English rather than metric units of measure. The phrase The Low Carbon Menu is copyright Doug Houseman, all rights reserved.

2. Thomas Friedman

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Many environmentalists and writers claim that the seven goals listed above cannot be sustained in the long term. They say the planet cant handle it, that something has to give. Others argue that their preferred solution (think of it as a single entree on the menu) is the only answer needed, and further, that if their one solution doesnt provide it, we as a society dont really need it. Both groups are wrong. There is no one answer. There is no Grapefruit Diet that will take us painlessly to the promised land of Green Energy. As a society, we will all have to shift and change how we do many things in order to meet these goals, but it is possible to meet them, if we approach the whole problem creatively and with a sense of urgency. This article will outline some of the major areas that must be addressed and propose solutions, some radically high-tech and some using existing or even low technology approaches, that can and should be used hand-in-hand. Almost all of the solutions proposed exist today in some form. Even so, many people will still dismiss this article out of hand. A Mundane Start Some simple changes to existing and new buildings could greatly reduce our consumption of energy. All of these items could be incorporated into the update to the U.S. building code proposed for 2014 and into the next iterations of updates to building codes around the world. If governments really wanted to encourage conservation of energy and reduction in the use of fossil fuel, this would be an excellent place to start. Additionally, making all feasible changes to existing buildings would put many people to work quickly. The recommended changes include: 1. Energy Surveys. The U.S. government should use 2010 Census data to develop a plan for a complete energy consumption survey of every unit of housing in the country. Google and other high-tech companies can help by creating augmented reality maps of residential neighborhoods using satellite images to figure out who has a hot roof in the wintertime and who has a cold roof in the summertime. The survey should focus on the ability of the housing unit to maintain a comfortable internal environment and to use energy efficiently for lighting, cooking, communication, entertainment and other tasks. Houses with the greatest need for upgrades or changes to their HVAC systems, windows, doors, and insulation could then be identified. 2. cash for caulkers. Lets put government money and unemployed people to work to repair and improve housing units. Using the energy survey, fix the housing units in the bottom 5% for energy efficiency, and then repeat the process of fixing the bottom 5% every year for the next decade. At the end of this process, the housing stock will be in much better shape, quality of life will be improved for many and energy consumption would have fallen significantly. Tens of thousands of people would have access to these newly developed jobs. Many of these jobs would have to be at minimum wage in order for the improvements to save money overall, but this program would provide income for semi-skilled workers performing useful labor. 3

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3. Solar Heating. Most champions of green energy want to use roofs for photovoltaic systems, which make electricity from sunlight. A far better choice for most residences would be to use photo-thermal systems to provide hot water and heating for the home. In the 1970s, the first generation of solar water heaters was deployed. Soon afterwards, the industry crashed, leaving many formerly enthusiastic customers with rotting first-generation installations leaking all over their roofs. Most of these early solar rooftop hot water systems were poorly designed and built from materials that were not suitable for the temperature extremes of that environment. After almost 40 years of tinkering and some advances in materials science, the solar-thermal devices available today are much improved. They work reliably in the winter, even in extreme climate areas like Montana, though there are some locations where they are not effective enough to save money or energy. Solar hot water heaters should be on the roofs of most homes in the world. If you dont believe me, check out what China has done: they are a decade ahead of the rest of the world. The south-facing wall of a home is also a good source of heat that can be exploited using a different set of heaters: solar air heaters. These are tall, shallow boxes with large sheets of glass (or another transparent material) and flat black backgrounds. These boxes can provide a reasonable amount of heat even on the coldest day. Backing them with an insulated wall of rocks, bricks or concrete provides enough heat storage capacity to let them warm (or help to warm) the house all night long. In the summertime, the solar air heaters or the entire south wall can be covered with a white tarp to reflect the suns heat and reduce the need for cooling. 4. Geothermal cooling. In most of the world, the issue with summer comfort is not the heat, but rather the humidity. Removing the humidity while only slightly cooling the air is enough, in many areas, to provide a reasonably comfortable working, sleeping and living environment. Running air over a set of cool pipes in which groundwater is circulating condenses a large amount of the humidity out of the air. There is no reason that air conditioning or interior climate control should not move in the direction of simple, old-fashioned geothermal cooling or heating systems. These systems require no refrigerant, no chemicals not even a heat pump. Instead, they need only a small pump with a closed underground loop full of water, a heat exchanger and a fan. Another advantage of this type of cooling is that it generates fresh water. With the proper selection of materials and proper upkeep to maintain cleanliness, such a system can even generate drinking water. 5. thermal Mass. Every new building should be built to include a significant amount of internal thermal mass. This could be achieved using old concrete pieces from roads, sand, or rocks the source matters very little. Thermal mass moderates the speed of temperature change in the home. In other words, if you warm it during the day in the winter, the house stays warm at night; if you cool it at night, the house stays cooler for a sustained period of time. Thermal mass can be readily retrofitted along with the other changes discussed previously.

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The problem with these proposed changes to buildings and HVAC systems is that they are all low-technology answers. They are not sexy; many industry observers laugh at them and downplay their potential impact. There are few incentives in place to encourage the implementation of these long-payback changes, even though many of these methods dont require quite as much capital investment as more glamorous projects like biodiesel and photovoltaic arrays. But when taken together, they offer a significant reduction in heating and cooling costs and energy use. rethinking Existing Energy-Efficiency rating Programs Two examples of programs that offered hope for a more energy-frugal future are Energy Star and LEED. Both are programs that have changed the way people think about energy use. Those yellow energy consumption tags giving the annual cost to operate this appliance and comparing that cost to similar but competing appliances are now a common sight in stores. Both architects and buildings proudly display their LEED certification credentials. Both of these programs have brought far more value to society than they cost to implement. They have forced changes that have gone far beyond the hopes of the teams that originally developed these programs. But they could be better. Energy Star II (Energy Superstar) The U.S. federal government has promoted the development and sale of energyefficient appliances for more than 20 years. The Energy Star program has significantly reduced the energy use per unit of size for domestic and commercial appliances such as washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, computers, etc. The problem is that once those Energy Star standards are set, they remain static for as long as a decade before they are updated. In many cases, appliances such as TVs, computer monitors, refrigerators, etc., have gotten larger over that same time period. While these bigger and better appliances are often more efficient on a per-unit basis than they used to be, the total energy savings for the society as a whole is not as significant as it might be. Its time to blow up the Energy Star program and start again. There are provisions in the proposed Climate Change Bill to develop an Energy Superstar program that will identify the top ten percent of appliances and force a refresh of the program standards. However, at this juncture, no one knows if the Climate Change Bill will pass and if this program will remain in the final version of the bill. The new Energy Superstar program needs to make energy efficiency a moving target for all of these categories of appliances, HVAC systems, and personal electronics. Over the next 20 years, each category of appliance would be required to meet four successive target levels of efficiency levels that are adjusted every five years. That means that manufacturers will need to maintain ongoing R&D efforts in order to keep their products on track to meet the next target. While the program works if the series of targets are fixed, it is even more effective if the Target 2 step (i.e., 10 years away) is adjusted based on the best available technology when each new target becomes effective. In other words, at five years into the program, if the manufacturers in the top tier of

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efficiency exceed their targets by 1 percent and research shows that another 7 percent of improvement is theoretically possible using the current technological approach, the target 10 years out is adjusted to be eight percent better efficiency than the current target. Likewise, if it becomes clear that a target will not be hit without a technology breakthrough, it is wisest to adjust the target for 10 years out and start researching entirely different approaches to perform that function. The Energy Superstar program should also incorporate both incentives and consequences, similar to the program that exists in Europe. Customers receive a rebate or tax credit whenever they buy a Tier 1 (highest efficiency) device and release the old one for recycling when the new one is delivered. Buy a Tier 2 replacement device and you can avoid some or all of the sales taxes or VAT. Buy a Tier 3 device and you get nothing. At each 5-year update, the old Tier 1 target becomes the new Tier 2, the old Tier 2 becomes Tier 3, and the Tier 3 models must be retired from the market. No additional units of devices at the Tier 3 level can be manufactured or sold. Because of the fixed 5-year window for updating the targets, manufacturers will be able to determine when to stop building the Tier 3 appliances in time to avoid a glut of them. Once the existing Energy Star category targets have been converted to those set forth in the Energy Superstar model, the government should expand the program to apply to all energy consuming devices that can be purchased in retail settings. Yes, this would mean new labs and new standards, but these would be helpful in guiding the industry and promoting energy efficiency. Lawmakers could set the first Energy Superstar goals to go into effect five years and one day after the passage of the new law. LEED On The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a certification program that sets the current benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. It awards certification to both new and existing buildings based on a number of criteria. LEED is not purely an energy efficiency program; it also looks at site fit and other architectural considerations that show harmony with the environment. A building could max out the energy efficiency criteria and still fail to achieve LEED certification, since energy efficiency is only one of several components of the program. LEED is an excellent program that has changed how the architecture and design community thinks about buildings and sites and the harmony of the two. However, it does not focus enough attention on energy usage to compel people who buy or build buildings to focus on the topic. While the LEED program should be retained, there needs to be much greater visibility and attention to energy efficiency in the building as it is occupied and maintained.

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My suggestion is to develop a 100-point scale for buildings whereby the higher the score, the greater energy efficiency the building has. The score needs to have two components that address the building itself and the building as occupied. The envelope of the building windows, insulation, construction, and other materials normally remain in the building when ownership changes hands. This structure score should be based on those items that are not likely to change when the owner or tenant changes. The as-occupied score should include lighting fixtures, controls and bulbs, appliances, equipment and other items that could move if the building changed tenants or ownership. This twoscore solution provides owners with a great deal of very important information. The first score helps them understand the quality of the buildings underlying structure and where they should concentrate any energy efficiency spending to improve the structure score. The second looks at the choices that that owner or operator makes in terms of equipment and should help them focus on the value of changes to those investments as well. In the near term, it is easier for a typical owner to focus on the occupied score; longer term, as maintenance and rehabilitation is needed, guidance on how to improve a buildings energy efficiency rating would come from the structure scale. Building inspectors and others should be offered the training necessary to accurately score new construction projects, so that as they perform construction inspections for structure, insulation, wiring, ducts and other aspects of the construction project, the inspector should also be able to score each step in the process for its effects on the energy efficiency level of the building. With existing structures, the cost of an energy efficiency inspection should be tax-deductible for an existing owner and required as part of the supporting documentation for the transaction each time a building changes hands. Commercial and Industrial Both Energy SuperStar and Energy Efficiency Ratings programs need to be expanded beyond their current focus on consumer and residential issues to include equivalent ratings for commercial and industrial equipment and sites. I will not go into extensive detail about these programs here; that topic alone merits another entire essay. It is very important to adjust these programs to allow them to be applicable to existing businesses and buildings as soon as possible.

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turning Waste Into Inputs Forty years ago, most of the outputs from a power plant were waste ash, clinkers, sulfur, and more. Today, the power generation industry has learned to capture sulfur and send it to chemical plants as an input for creating complex, useful chemicals. Technologies have been developed to prevent the emission of most compounds of nitrogen and oxygen (NOx). Mercury is also captured from the stack gasses and sent to factories producing light bulbs, switches and other useful products. Ash and clinkers are now used in concrete and asphalt, respectively. A well-planned power plant now produces very little waste that finds its way into a landfill. Since the electrical power industry has for the most part solved the problems that society previously associated with the waste products of power generation, its time to tackle the more recently identified issue of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Dioxide Power plants that burn fuel any fuel create CO2. This happens because burning is the process of combining carbon compounds from the fuel with oxygen from the air to release heat. A distinction being made by many green energy analysts is that some sources of CO2 emissions should be considered acceptable, while others should not. For example, according to this theory, if you burn wood chips, sawdust pellets or other biomass that has recently been alive, the CO2 created will not negatively impact the global climate. However, CO2 from fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are decidedly more harmful and therefore are not acceptable. Releasing this fossil carbon into the atmosphere is what is believed to be the cause of climate change, which is also called anthropogenic global warming or AGW. Some have argued that we should shut down all fossil-fueled plants as soon as possible, no matter the cost or disruption to the economy. Others suggest that we can protect both the environment and the economy by injecting the CO2 created by burning fossil fuels back underground the area from which most of the fuel came. There is, however, a third option for dealing with CO2, at a likely lower cost than ground sequestration or replacing all fossil fuel power plants an option which is also of far greater value to society. The local food movement is predicated on the belief that we should change our food systems to grow as much food as possible in close proximity to the people who eat it. To do this, we would need to create many local controlled environments to enable at least some food to be grown locally year-round. Being able to obtain the maximum sustainable yield per unit of area is also required to enable urban dwellers to convert to locavores. By using hoop houses and green houses, a large number of commercial crops can effectively be grown year-round in most areas of the country. A dirty little secret of the food production industry is that commercial greenhouses often burn natural gas specifically to create CO2, which is then circulated throughout the greenhouse. This CO2 is absorbed by the plants in the greenhouse, allowing the greenhouses very high concentration of plants to grow larger, faster. This lets the

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greenhouse produce more food and more profit per unit of area in a given period of time. Since plants use sunlight to convert CO2, water and minerals to oxygen (which is released into the atmosphere) and carbohydrates for plant growth, its possible to use the scrubbed CO2 from electrical power plants to support accelerated plant growth in greenhouses. This would mean that fossil fuels, including natural gas, could continue to be used to produce electricity, but the power plants would emit far fewer greenhouse gasses than they do now. Using this approach, the majority of those greenhouse gasses can be captured by the plants in a greenhouse! In addition, the farm industry has moved toward using what are called high tunnels to produce some crops, keeping more heat around the plants so that they have more energy to grow. With some modification, these high tunnels could be used to produce large amounts of food crops on a limited amount of land. Depending on how consumers are encouraged to view the use of concentrated CO2 to enhance plant growth, food could even be grown in greenhouses using well-understood organic methods in addition to the supplemental CO2. Organic foods are generally more valuable in the market and have a higher profit margin. However, the organic nature of food grown in such greenhouses will depend on the label the USDA assigns to CO2 from power generation sources. This creative re-use of an industrial waste product could be useful for a broad swath of society. It is up to us to decide whether we will accept this use, but a wise society would strongly consider this approach. This technique for capturing greenhouse gas emissions could be retrofitted into existing facilities in almost any location. There are several integrated power plant/greenhouse combinations already in operation in the Netherlands. These facilities generate EU carbon credits, food and flowers for commercial sale, as well as electric power. The carbon credits, which can be sold via a regulated market for cash, make these particular power generation plants among the most profitable in the EU. Waste Heat Many industrial facilities and power plants produce waste heat. Waste in this sense means heat which is not useful for the plants primary purpose. This waste heat is probably more accurately labeled as low-value heat rather than as true waste. Depending on the location and season, the uses for low-value heat could vary widely. With a little creativity, there are many ways this heat can be used. If the factory runs its scrubbed exhaust through a greenhouse or high tunnel as just described, waste factory heat can be used to extend both the growing season and the range of crops that can be raised in these facilities. Very low pressure steam can be used as an input to create distilled drinking water after most of the energy from the steam has been captured. For waste heat, local needs will drive local uses and these applications will require a range of solutions, which should potentially vary with the seasons. It may be helpful for designers to consider every industrial facility with a steam plant as a combined heat and power system. The specific solution for a given plant could either be retrofitted into existing facilities or used to design new facilities.

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In addition, where waste heat is found in proximity to residential or commercial neighborhoods, it can be used to heat (or pre-heat) water for domestic use, as well as to heat the buildings. How to use this waste heat in the summer time, when most people to be want cooler rather than warmer, is a challenge we need to work on further. Where there is heat, there is energy. We only need to work out how to exploit that energy to the fullest extent possible. Today, much of our low-level heat is allowed to go to waste. To be better stewards of this planet, we need to find ways to make use of this potentially valuable waste heat. Limited Synergy There are many virtuous cycles that can be developed when we consider the waste products or byproducts of one process as potential inputs to another process. Using the idea of CO2 and low-value heat, lets look at a potential application near a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility. Most LNG import facilities have to burn some gas in order to raise the temperature of the LNG enough that it can be transported via gas pipeline to industrial and residential users. A novel idea is to use the low-value heat from a nearby power plant to both raise the temperature of LNG and to create vessels filled with pressurized CO2 from the power plant exhaust. The pressurized CO2 vessels would act as a heat exchanger for LNG, transferring the cold from the LNG into the CO2 and creating dry ice in the process. The sealed vessels full of dry ice could be shipped to energy-efficient office buildings where water from the chillers would be pumped through them, cooling the building. The vessel could then be returned for re-chilling and then continue to be recycled in this fashion throughout the cooling season. While this would consume and/or contain only a fraction of the CO2 generated by the power plant, the synergy among the various facilities would reduce the amount of LNG that would have to be burned to raise the temperature and reduce the amount of electricity and water required to cool the buildings. While this scenario may sound farfetched, there is one LNG facility that is serious about implementing at least part of the cycle. Several variations on these themes are also possible. If it turns out to be impractical to absorb the rest of the CO2 from the power plant in a greenhouse, the cold from the LNG facility could also be used to produce dry ice (solid CO2) as a product. This plan only reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the amount attributable to the LNG that isnt burned and the power that is not required to compress and cool the CO2 into dry ice. However, it still utilizes a waste product from one operation in a commercially beneficial way.

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Water, Water Everywhere and not a drop that is drinkable Water and energy are strongly linked in our society: we pump, clean, pump, treat, pump, use, pump, recycle, and pump water over and over again. Water is heavy and requires a large amount of energy to move. Some cities use as much as 35 percent of their total public sector energy consumption on water. Water is also becoming harder to get at the level of quality that is required for it to be safe to drink. Requirements for processing water to be safe and sanitary are increasing, which in turn increases the energy required. Even worse, there are areas where the expanding demand for water is outpacing the available supply of water. In many areas around the globe, the most serious constraint on economic growth is the lack of suitable water. Drinking Water Throughout much of the world, the prospect of turning sea water into drinking water is an ever-expanding requirement. However, most desalinization processes demand electricity and other expensive inputs to transform salt water to drinking water. In some cases, suitable locations near both a source of sea water and the users of the processed water are easy to come by, but more often, a desalinization plant must be located some distance from either the coast or the customers it is intended to serve, significantly raising the energy costs of transporting the water. Still, coastal areas are some of the most productive zones for wind energy. Today, almost all wind energy is turned directly into electricity and fed into the grid. In may be more efficient in some locations to use the wind energy more directly to make drinking water. The use of wind-driven mechanical pumps, as used to be common on farms throughout the Great Plains region of the United States, may be more efficient in this process than creating electricity in any form and using it to power the pumps. Reverse osmosis (RO) desalinization processes require pressurized water on one side of a filter. Using a wind-driven mechanical pump to move water to a storage tank or water tower could provide constant pressure, allowing an intermittently available resource to provide a steady input into the drinking water creation process. In a completely different approach, low-value or waste heat from other industrial processes could be used to distill fresh water out of seawater or process waste water. Solar heat could also be concentrated and used to convert water. Today, solar energy is widely used to evaporate water from which sea salts are harvested; adjusting this process to capture the evaporated water for drinking or agriculture would mean that less processing would be required than when starting directly from salt water. The good news is that all of this technology can be purchased off the shelf.

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Ground Water Scientists tell us that the level of aquifers (ground water) has dropped significantly in most of the world. Over the past several decades, communities around the world have increasingly drawn on this ancient water source to irrigate crops and provide drinking water for expanding cities. It may be that some of the ice melt expected to cause a rise in sea level could be redirected, desalinated and used to refill these ground water reservoirs. This would require a major research project and construction of several large pipelines wherever it was undertaken, but this approach could turn out to be more cost-effective than relocating entire populations or building sea walls around coastal areas throughout the world. One estimate suggests that the Great Plains water table needs to add 30 or more feet of ground water to return it to its pre-industrial level. Both Texas and California need more ground water in order to support their growing populations. Given the area involved, returning enough water to raise the water table would probably require only a few inches of ocean rise, but a few inches might be all that is required to preserve most coastlines. It would be useful for a group of scientists to calculate how much water it would take to restore the various water tables on each continent to their earliest recorded levels and what proportion this volume is of the total expected ice melt over the next 100 years. The research and labor needed to achieve this would dwarf most of the projects that humans have undertaken to date, but would reverse changes we have made to the planet while reducing the potential damage from rising ocean levels. A project to refill our aquifers using this approach would require at least three things: 1. Desalinization of seawater to provide fresh water to put into the ground 2. Capture of major icebergs as they calve and the routing of that water into the aquifer 3. Capturing flood waters and redirecting this water, as well

Each of these three efforts is large in size and scope and requires major investment and significant engineering. Each could be tackled as a separate project working to the same ends. At some point in the future, massive plastic tents might cover square miles of ocean water, concentrating sunlight and causing water to evaporate faster, the vapor condensing on the plastic and running to collection lines that would take new fresh water to areas that require aquifer restoration. These solar tents would reduce the amount of other energy that would have to be added to produce the fresh water. There is a current test of fresh-water collection using solar tents in the San Francisco Bay Area. The tents are spread over the remaining Bay Area salt ponds to accelerate the evaporation of water without the use of any fossil fuels.

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Waste Water Recycling In many areas, waste water contains very little waste and lots of water that could be reused. This means huge volumes of water must be processed in order to make any of it suitable for re-use. In other areas, gray water containing relatively low amounts of waste and so-called black water (water with high concentrations of waste, including human or animal feces) have already been segregated to simplify processing. Minimally or un-processed gray water is useful for irrigation, particularly of non-food crops. Black water must be processed to remove solids, kill germs, and, in some cases, reduce the concentration of certain chemicals before the water can be re-used in any form. The amount of processing required will depend on both the nature and amount of waste the water originally contained and the intended use of the processing plant output. In most of the U.S., storm water drainage (rain and melting snow) is now collected separately from sewage and treated separately or left untreated and allowed to enter natural waterways. In some cases, storm water can become contaminated in the process of being collected. This contamination results from fertilizers, pesticides, ice melters, oil, tire particles and other materials that it carries along as it flows over roads, parking lots and open ground. In other areas, the concentration of storm water runoff due to large amounts of impermeable surfaces in an area causes serious erosion when the storm water is finally discharged into a creek, stream or lake. However, a significant part of this contamination and erosion can be prevented with effective use of landscaping to capture storm water. In addition, ground water supplies in an area can be renewed by building unlined retention ponds with a sand filter bottom. Retention ponds require less of the storm water to run off or be treated before being pumped into rivers. One growing problem is the contamination of both fresh water supplies and waste water with medicines. Many drugs pass through the body with few changes; others are broken down into different, but still significant chemical compounds. The widespread use of pharmaceuticals, both prescription and over-the-counter, means that both gray and black water have measurable amounts of medical drugs in them by the time they get to the water treatment plant. Treatment plants are unable to remove these drugs from the water, and so drugs and their by-products are accumulating in the environment. To make the most of both gray and black water, new treatment methods for removing drugs from the water must be developed. Black water offers a way to produce additional biomass rapidly, since it contains a lot of energy and many of the nutrients needed for plant growth. With minimal processing to remove non-biodegradable materials, black water used on biomass crops will lead to accelerated growth and reduced sewage treatment costs. In Africa, there are a number of villages with biological water treatment facilities that take advantage of specific plants to remove specific contaminants from the treated water. The plants are then harvested to provide biomass for fuel or composted to improve the yields of food crops. Processing water for re-use in multipurpose facilities of this type may become an important aspect of solving both energy and water supply issues in many locations.

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Irrigation In many fields today, irrigation is overdone and more water is lost to evaporation than the plants can actually use. Historically, irrigation was carried out in this way because it is easy and cheap. This is not all bad; cheap growing methods mean affordable food. However, water is fast becoming the limiting factor in the productivity of some croplands, and the cost of water plus the cost of the energy needed to pump it is rising almost everywhere in the world. Israel and other countries with little available water have proven they can grow crops with as little as 15 percent of what is used on some fields in the U.S. Water rights are a contentious issue in the Western states and the use of water is embedded not just in the laws of many states but also in the constitutions of those states. Changing irrigation methods to conserve water will be tough, since more water-efficient methods are also more expensive than the current methods. Again, research may be able to find much better and cheaper ways to water and also to develop crops requiring less water to flourish. No matter which approach is used, solving water problems will take energy which will have to come from someplace. Reducing the amount of water needed each day reduces the amount of energy required to process, transport, retrieve and clean the water. Flood Water When a flood occurs, the excess water has to go somewhere. Today, in many cases, a river will flood the towns and cities it runs through, or runs trapped between levees built along the river banks. Levees are expensive to build and maintain and they limit the use of rivers for fishing, recreation and transportation. Another solution is to build dams to control flooding, but dams have limits. The reservoirs and lakes they create use land. Dams are even more expensive than levees to build and maintain. Some people say dams wreak havoc on river ecosystems and cause serious reduction in fish populations. Maybe it is time for a different kind of flood engineering one that will help put water back into the ground. For example, consider a scenario in which someone purchases a piece of land next to a river and instead of building it up, builds it down, so to speak. The new owner creates a spillway alongside the river, the rim of which is just below the rivers flood stage. When the water rises, it spills down into the basin. Now we have captured excess water, leaving less water available to flow down the river and damage bridges and banks downstream. What can be done with that excess water? One answer is to refill the aquifer, replacing lost ground water by installing buried drip lines and allowing it to sink gradually into the ground. Another answer, which will lead to some of the same benefits, is to use that water for irrigation. A third might be to release it into the river when the water level is low, as would be done with a dam.

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The most salient benefit of this kind of flood control is that it has no impact at all on the river itself until the river reaches a pre-determined flood level that is considered dangerous downstream. To eliminate almost all flooding, these spillway structures would rival some of the largest man-made structures built to date. The Mississippi or the Amazon would require spillways even larger than the Hoover Dam or Three Gorges Dam, but these massive projects would provide a completely different level of impact on the environment. transportation Of the raw energy that is used around the globe each year, roughly one-third is used for transportation and moving people and goods from one location to another. From a raw efficiency standpoint, ships are more efficient per ton-mile than trains, and trains are more efficient than trucks. From a convenience standpoint, trucks and cars are preferred to trains, and trains are preferred to ships. Short of banning the lowest-efficiency transportation methods, shifting people and goods to other modes of transportation will require re-thinking the transportation infrastructure. In the 1880s, trains ruled. After World War II, the Interstate Highway system accelerated the move from trains to trucks. Only in the 1980s, as fuel costs began to rise, did the two industries work together to create multi-modal transportation and the whole container infrastructure. Trains The width of train rails is the same as the typical two-wheel carriage in the 1700s. This has limited the use of trains and will continue to limit trains in the future. Highways were transformed by the Interstate and the idea of limited access highways and wider lanes and rights of way. Trains have not undergone that same transformation. We can wonder what trains would look like if the distance between the rails was given the same innovative thinking that led to the development of the modern highway system. Would we return to the same gauge, or might the gauge change to be much wider? Today, trains load front-to-back and loads are carried parallel to the direction of the train, limiting the size of loads and the ease of loading or unloading quickly. Derailments happen in many cases because the narrow trains have a much higher center of gravity than the carts, the track widths are based on. What would change if freight trains were wide enough to take loads stacked the other way, allowing the loads to be pulled off the train to the side and making short turnarounds at stops much easier? For passengers, wider trains might rival cruise liners for going from point A to point B. Such vehicles might include drive on/drive off stations, where the station concourse is level with the train cars. How about staterooms with desks, beds and full connectivity? Or even shopping centers? Think about it: electrically powered trains 50 feet wide, running at 200 miles per hour and competing not just with highways, but with airplanes, as well. Thinking outside the box when it comes to trains and truly re-examining what the next generation train should look like should precede widespread investment in high-speed rail.

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Solid Fuel Cars Converting corn and other biomass to liquid fuel is a process that is replete with energy losses and inputs. Indeed, many observers have questioned whether the ethanol we use today in cars is all that useful on a net energy basis. In other words, does making ethanol take more energy than it provides? Studies show a small net positive effect, but one study suggested that it takes 16 gallons of ethanol to equal one gallon of oil in terms of the net energy provided. However, if society really wants to focus on energy efficiency, does transportation fuel have to be liquid? The Department of Energy has developed standards for high efficiency pellet furnaces for homes. If furnaces can use pellets, why cant cars? Steam-powered cars were produced until World War II. The internal combustion engine won the war, but with increasing demand to move away from fossil fuel, it may be time to revisit this area of technology. It turns out that steam engines are better suited to how people drive than are internal combustion engines, but whereas the internal combustion engine could be built and repaired in the backyard by anyone, a steam car required special tools. Today, all cars require special tools and the days of the shade tree mechanic are limited when it comes to engines and transmissions. In 2009, the British Steam Car Challenge set new speed records with hand-built, steampowered cars. Volkswagen and SAAB have both revisited steam-powered cars in recent history. Today, billions of dollars in government funds are being spent on electric cars, it may be that a small amount of money should be allocated to revisit this technology and determine if it is truly a dead issue, or could useful in the future, given the changes to the fuel mix that most would like to see. One of the most beneficial aspects of solid fuel is that it would be easy to handle and sell in pellet form and probably could be made from biomass, making storage and handling straightforward, as well. Just think: all those leaf piles could be converted to fuel for your vehicles. First you rake them, then the kids jump in them, then you pelletize them, then you drive with them. For the first time, teens will actually want to finish the raking. Goals for Aircraft How efficient is an airplane? What kind of mileage does it get? We know that for cars, and the rail industry advertises their efficiency. But, what about airplanes? No airline offers up figures such as miles per gallon per passenger. Airline tickets are not sold with an Energy Star label. One of the two major aircraft manufacturers is located in the U.S. and is offering up a more efficient airplane. Why shouldnt energy efficiency be a buying criteria for airline tickets and aircraft? Should there be an MPG for airplanes, like we have for cars? With more and more freight moving by air, and passenger traffic returning to the air, should policymakers put forth efficiency standards for aircraft? There is no question that the engines on airliners have gotten much more efficient since the 1970s and continue to do so. One recent report indicated that the difference

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in energy required for moving a passenger via airplane versus train may only be 20 percent. Trains are more efficient in moving people than cars are on a per-mile basis. How about instituting a requirement for each airline to improve the efficiency of their fleet by 2 percent a year for the next 15 years for passenger seat-miles flown? We could give the standard three years to kick in so the airlines can make their own decisions on how best to achieve this. It might mean that the insides of airplanes are re-configured to hold more seats, or it might mean that better engines or lighter airplanes or other technologies need to be developed. Setting the goal and getting out of the way should lead to innovation that benefits everyone. Technically, the 747 is large enough to have two full decks of passengers, but because cargo has been an important part of the equation, it does not. It will take the efforts of smart people to determine how to set and measure these goals and smarter people at the airlines and aircraft companies to find ways to meet the goals. Pickup Trucks One of the loopholes in current mileage standards has been pickup trucks. Today, pickups are massive high-power vehicles that out-mass a typical car by a factor of more than two. Is it time to re-think the pickup? Pickups are very important to workers and farmers to move loads in fields and job sites. They move plywood, hay and other materials for many small businesses. They should not lose that capability, but they should be able to be downsized in terms of the overall size of the vehicle without downsizing the hauling capability. Ford just redesigned the Explorer, reducing the weight of the vehicle significantly and improving mileage without sacrificing utility. In the 1970s, the El Camino was a car-like truck with a large enough bed to haul plywood. Maybe it is time to revisit the El Camino concept. Holden in Australia (a Ford subsidiary) has a vehicle very much like the El Camino that is highly popular with carpenters and other maintenance and construction workers. Other Delivery Vehicles Ford has proven with a vehicle known as the Transit Connect that it is possible to rethink and downsize delivery vehicles. What should we do to encourage more thinking along these lines? Subways and Trams Subways are expensive to build, but once in place, they seem to be able to hold their own in major metropolitan areas. Trams, on street trains, seem to be much cheaper to build, but dont seem to hold the same ability to get people on board. Both are needed in our major metropolitan areas as we attempt to create a more energyefficient society. The question is how to do it without major long-term subsidies from the government. BART in San Francisco and the Metro in Washington, D.C. have both won fans, not only among local residents, but also among tourists who find the system easy to use. In both cases, the system is now connected to at least one airport in the

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area. For tourists, having a connection to the airport is very useful and banishes the long-held belief that a rental car is required to get around an unfamiliar city. Any new systems should start with that in mind. The patterns of housing pricing in Washington, D.C. and the growth of new housing and businesses in the area can be mapped as a set of rings centered on each of the Metro Stations. Like the Beltway of the 1960s, which changed the growth pattern for Washington, D.C., the Metro too changed the pattern of construction and land value in the region. Even some of the most dilapidated and crime-ridden neighborhoods in the D.C. area in the 1970s have been elevated in value by the placement of a Metro station in close proximity. Ridership is sufficient to ensure that the system is able to provide excellent security and clean trains, both of which are needed to encourage people to begin using the system and to continue to do so. The lack of new road construction in the District has helped push people to the Metro over the last 30 years. Electric Bicycles Many companies are coming to the market with electric bicycles. Pedal-bicycle riders sneer at the idea of an electric or an electric-assist bicycle, but there is a strong probability that if the downtown infrastructure in large cities is redesigned with bicycles (both electric and non-electric) in mind and that enough transportation or housing exists close to jobs that both factors will serve to begin displacing less fuel-efficient modes of transportation. Forcing the Change If we want to force the change, there is an effective means by which to do so. While no one likes new taxes, raising the taxes on fossil transportation fuels in the autumn every year for the next decade will speed the changes that many want to see. Why the fall? Because the cost of transportation fuel normally drops during that time, so it has the smallest impact on people in the short term, but still exerts a significant long-term effect. Adding between 10 cents and 20 cents a gallon to the price of transportation fuel each year in taxes with a clear long-term policy would help people plan for the future and make better choices about vehicles and transportation. Re-routing some of that money into roads, since vehicles will have a higher mileage (hence a lower tax per mile driven), some to alternative transportation, and some to research would help drive the future economy, maintain infrastructure and fund innovation.

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Power to the People Most of the world considers electricity to be the answer to clean energy. The assumption is that all electricity can be created in a renewable fashion. This means a change in the way the industry operates. For the last century, the power industry has been a load serving industry in short, running according to the maxim, You turn on a switch and we will make more. In the future, that basic paradigm has to change if we want to support the maximum amount of renewable energy. The new paradigm has to be a supply-following industry, i.e., If you make more, we will find a place to use it. Even if we are successful at changing the industry, will consumes accept the new ways that power will need to be made in their backyards? Will they accept the infrastructure required to move the power from where it is made to where it needs to be used? These are questions that industry and society will have to tackle and answer together. Some have no issues with windmills that are 300 feet tall being planted in close proximity to their communities and backyards. For others, any viewable windmills pose a problem, even if they are miles away. A more energy-efficient future may include such features as a horizon dominated by concentrating solar plants with acres of mirrors and towers that are each a hundred feet tall and are as bright as the sun if you look at them from the wrong angle; fields of photovoltaic panels (solar cells) that reflect the slightest light at night and can provide the same level of reflectivity as a well-polished car and that fill the fields that used to grow corn; rivers that have dams and river turbines that generate power either around the clock or on demand and that may change the flow of the river water and store water for times when more power is needed. How do we balance the demand for electricity with the idea that nature should be preserved? This is an issue that needs to be discussed and for which suitable answers need to be found. Today, much of the discussion is happening at the two extremes of public opinion and the people in the middle are sitting on the sidelines. The final decision on these issues may determine if we can even afford electricity in the future. A measure of balance needs to be struck between the demand for energy and the ability to make it. It may end up that some regions of the country that reject new generation may end up paying much higher prices for energy that is imported from other regions and that power may become so scarce at times that people are without power for hours or even days at a time. California already experienced some of this with rolling blackouts in the last decade.

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Distributed Generation Human-scale generation that is close to the locations where power is used has been a goal for the last 30 years. Distributed generation comes in many forms, ranging from diesel and gasoline generators to windmills and solar cells. Not all of this power is created equally and not all of it is especially well-liked by the public. A diesel generator humming away at 3 in the morning right after a hurricane is very acceptable to the neighbors, especially if the owner is willing to share the generated power. However, a diesel generator that hums away every night and requires a weekly visit from a fuel truck is frowned upon by most neighbors. In many cases, it is considered to be a sign of failed infrastructure similar to the situation that existed in Baghdad in 2005. Solar cells are almost always acceptable, unless their installation requires removing trees to allow the sun to shine directly on the panels. The desire to have generation in close proximity to the communities where it will be used is strongly held until the actual implementation starts and residents realize that it will change their neighborhood and environment. Again, there is going to have to be a wide-ranging discussion that includes a broad spectrum of people to set rules that are reasonable. Distributed Renewables Run-of-the-river hydro, solar cells, and small wind are all distributed generation methods that people accept as renewable and to some extent are willing to support in their community and even in their own neighborhood. Run-of-the-river hydro uses slow-turning river-bottom turbines that look like old style ship propellers. Because they turn slowly, very little life in the river is disturbed. They can be installed in local creeks and rivers, even if the water is not always present. There is no impoundment of water, so there is little disturbance of the actual flow of the river. Another version of runof-the-river technology is using small waterfalls in mountainous regions that may be seasonal in nature. These facilities seek to capture the water before it falls and return it to the area where it would fall. The presence of piping and turbines are the only sign that anything has changed. Neither type of run-of-the-river hydro is without drawbacks, but both seem better than conventional dams from an environmental standpoint. Most people understand solar cells and what they entail for installation. Small wind comes in an array of choices, from vertical windmills that look like upside-down egg beaters or pop cans with the sides cut open, to old-style farm windmills, to modern-looking propellers in the air. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks. Then there is biogas from landfills or animal farms or sewage treatment plants and biomass plants that burn wood or biological waste. These technologies have already run into strong opposition because of stack gases that are produced in the process. They are renewable but they are renewables that are not widely accepted today. The question is, can we afford to continue to discourage them and still meet the requirements for a low carbon future?

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Distributed Non-renewable Combined heat and power plants that burn natural gas or fuel oil to produce electricity, hot water and space heating can be as much as 98 percent efficient. This is a leading technology in the Netherlands and Denmark. Likewise, diesels have been around forever and are the basis for most of the demand response in the major East Coast electricity markets. Instead of turning off the use of energy, most businesses that participate in demand response programs can make enough money to make it worthwhile to run the diesel instead when the power price is high enough. Nonrenewables offer something that most of the renewables dont: namely, the ability to schedule generation when you want power.
dG renewable non-renewable

Conventional hydro Schedulable Biomass Biogas Non-Schedulable Solar Wind

Diesels Combined Heat & Power Process gas

If you want electricity on demand, then you need schedulable resources, since it is today impractical to store electricity as electricity. The more generation in an area that is pushed into the non-schedulable boxes, the more the use of electricity has to be driven by the available generation techniques. In an extreme case, this will mean that in one minute, enough power exists to wash the clothes, while in the next, there is not sufficient power to complete the task. Potentially, this could necessitate a complete redesign of equipment to use flywheels to ride through the loss of generation. This has already been done by many people who have built houses off the grid. Figuring out how to coordinate generation with demand is the subject of a large number of ongoing research projects, many of which are focused around smart homes. Smart Homes Not only are homes going to get smart in the near future, but so are businesses and appliances. Developing technology to allow homes, appliances and businesses to communicate about energy needs, prices and schedules is an important step in changing the industry paradigm. If these devices can understand the amount of power that is available without the intervention of the homeowner and the home or business owner can set priorities for energy use, the systems can largely manage themselves.

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Some are fearful of having appliances and homes that are intelligent, and they often point to old science fiction films as the reason why. After all, who wants a HAL9000 running their lives? Others are very worried about privacy and the loss of it. Getting to the iPod of smart homes that homeowners are comfortable with will take time and research into how people want to interact with their energy equipment. This is not a single-step process, but rather a journey that may take a decade or more to perfect a first-generation technology that large numbers of people are willing to adopt. Smart Grid Beyond the home is the infrastructure that connects the homes and businesses to the electrical generation equipment. This set of poles, wire and transformers will be even more critical in the future as people attempt to balance a system that has even more variability than the system they are used to today. Offering surplus power to a neighbor or a neighboring state in return for electricity from them when you are running short will be a minute-by-minute or hour-by-hour process. The more connected people are and the more efficient the connection system is, the better chance there is of using more renewables as a source of energy in the future. The smart grid is a complex topic that encompasses literally hundreds of technologies. nuclear Power Many regard nuclear power as evil or dangerous and if used incorrectly, it is both. Over the last 35 years, since the United States last broke ground on a new nuclear power plant, opponents of nuclear power have added regulations that make building plants many times more expensive than they could be without compromising the safety of the plant. China is building nuclear power plants today that are cheaper than plants finished in the U.S. in the 1980s. Nuclear power is not a panacea, but if carbon reduction is desired, it has to be part of the overall electricity mix. Short of figuring out how to create massive storage facilities for electricity, there is no other way to even out the flow of electricity over a 24-hour period. Electric cars have the potential to double the demand for electricity, but building enough windmills to cover the 24-hour clock would require the construction of more than 1 million new windmills (today, global production of large windmills is just over 20,000 units a year). On the other hand, a single nuclear power plant could provide as much power as 2,400 large windmills. Ultimately, they both are needed for a secure mix of power for the future that is free from fossil fuels. Today, coal provides just over half of the total electricity in the United States and nuclear power provides more than twenty percent. Having to replace both at the same time would force grueling changes in the average persons lifestyle and would drive even more jobs offshore. If the goals are to reduce carbon emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil, nuclear energy production has to be sustained.

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Fixing Regulations The first set of regulations that need to be replaced are the ones that prevent the reprocessing of nuclear fuel rods. France has the technology to reprocess fuel rods in a cost-effective manner and minimize the amount of waste from reprocessing. Given the number of fuel rods stored at power plants today, reprocessing could minimize the amount of new fuel required for the next decade. Most of the waste products can be burned in the Canadian-designed Candu reactor, and Canada has accepted this type of material as fuel on an experimental basis. In this way, even the waste could be reused and reduced. Right now, the regulations are so strict we cannot give the spent fuel rods to France to reprocess. So we are building up unsustainable pools of fuel rods that will eventually choke the life out of the nuclear industry. At the same time, this practice drives up the cost of operation, as well as the risk involved in operating a nuclear power plant. This regulatory insanity needs to be fixed. The next set of regulations that merit reconsideration involve so-called low-level waste. Facilities such as hospitals, dentist offices and other locations produce low-level waste. Rightly so, this waste has to be segregated and handled separately. In France, it is put in glass blocks that are stable for thousands of years. In the U.S., it goes into steel drums and concrete caskets. Allowing the French glassification processes to be used for low-level waste in the U.S. would mean that the cost of handling and managing these discarded gloves and clothing would be much lower. Furthermore, the risk that a ruptured drum would leech radioactive material into the environment would be significantly lower than it is today. In both cases, sensible regulation would reduce the cost and risk of operating nuclear power plants. Location and Quantity New designs in nuclear power plants make it possible to create more power for longer periods of time with less in the way of nuclear materials. It makes sense to recycle the old sites for nuclear power plants and put new reactors on site. The infrastructure to support a new reactor is already in place. If we undertake a one-for-one replacement of the existing plants, then the total available power from nuclear power would rise by a factor of more than 2. Many of the old reactors were designed as 600- and 1000-megawatt plants; todays plants are designed to be 1200- and 2000-megawatt facilities with similar footprints to the old designs not a bad improvement for an outof-favor technology. If we go so far as to recycle and re-use the existing locations, we could provide a significant portion of our energy needs for the next 30 years which will provide the breathing room we need to deploy more renewables.

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Storage Storage is a complex topic that encompasses a broad array of different elements. Storage comes in many forms: thermal, kinetic, and chemical are three categorical distinctions that can be used to take the topic of storage apart for discussion. Thermal storage houses heat and cold (think Thermos bottles and ice chests on a massive scale). The term kinetic is a bit of a misnomer, since it includes both true kinetic and potential kinetic, so flywheels and dams that store water can be said to store kinetic energy. Chemical storage technology is better known as batteries to many people. The hot trend in storage today is batteries: batteries for cars, batteries for tools, batteries for everything. The Nissan Leaf can travel approximately 100 miles on its battery, which comprises roughly half of the cost of the vehicle, or about $16,000. For a typical Midwestern suburban home, a Leaf battery is about two-thirds the size required to support a days energy consumption so long as it is not a summer day during which air conditioning will be used extensively. (In that case, you might need as many as three Leaf batteries to supply the average homes electricity needs.) So with current car battery technology, you might be able to get off the grid without air conditioning for only about $25,000 for batteries and $100,000 for solar cells, using the most advanced technology that is now available. More low-tech solutions are typically cheaper and less flexible. Until the costs of batteries and solar cells come down more, the lower-tech answers may be the right answers for many people. Thermal Storage The simplest thermal storage is a heavy concrete chimney around a fireplace. The concrete over time absorbs the heat from the fireplace and radiates it into the room. When the fire is extinguished, the chimney still remains warm for several hours. Our ancestors knew this and overbuilt many fireplaces to help keep their homes warm. Modern materials have allowed us to provide cheap, quick-to-install, low-mass replacements. Old buildings have high ceilings and thick walls; they are slow to warm in the summer and slow to cool in the winter. This type of thermal mass is a very useful step in our thinking about home design. Finding a place in a home for a large box (think roomsize) of rocks and sand could help moderate the temperature in the house significantly. Converting electricity at night to hot water in large tanks or storing ice in those same tanks could reduce the need for electricity at peak times. Better still, thermal storage does not require electricity from fossil fuels to recharge. Heat can be collected from solar air heaters or solar hot water heaters and stored. This means that in very cold regions, the overall need for outside energy could be significantly reduced and the loss of electricity from a storm would have less of an impact on the safety of life, since the thermal storage would help residents stay warm for a period of time without electricity.

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Ice offers an interesting opportunity in warm regions, since ice holds cold well and making ice in the coolest part of the day would take less energy than it would during the warm part of the day. Water is mostly non-toxic, so using it in close proximity to homes to store cold should not pose a significant hazard. Large-scale ice usage can help data centers and factories reduce their peak demand for energy. In general, thermal storage is a well-understood and low-cost way to moderate an enclosed environment. Simple changes to building codes could strongly encourage the use of thermal storage. However, the use of thermal storage does not remove the need for good insulation. Kinetic Storage The use of flywheels to store energy dates back to the Middle Ages, when they were used to even out the speed of machinery. When the initial internal combustion engines were developed, flywheels were required to even out the rotation of the machinery, as well. Over time, as the engines and motors became more sophisticated, flywheels were gradually phased out. The relatively small amount of power that a flywheel had to store and the losses from friction served to usher out the era of the flywheel. Materials just could not keep up with the demand to store greater amounts of energy. Modern flywheels are being designed to rotate thousands of times per minute (RPM). They are made of state-of-the-art materials and use special bearings to reduce the friction; all of these advances have made it possible for flywheels to make a return. Pumped water storage is a technology that involves using a dam to hold water. When power is needed, the water is released and electricity is generated. The typical cycle involves filling the reservoir at night and on the weekends and then using the stored energy during the daytime. Pumped storage requires close proximity to a water source and an area that can be dammed. These requirements limit the number of locations that are available to use pumped water storage. Compressed air storage is a different story. The idea behind this technology is to pump air into a cave (natural or manmade) and then release the air when energy is needed to generate power. The U.S. Geological Service has estimated that about 80 percent of the United States sits over rock formations that could be used for compressed air storage. With current technology, compressed air storage has lower losses than pumped water storage. Compressed air storage has another advantage, as well: failure of the containment structure releases a jet of high pressure air, rather than a potentially deadly wall of water.

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Kinetic storage technologies have the capability to react very rapidly to changes in the system. The process of switching from storing power to providing power can be completed almost instantaneously. That means that these technologies can be used to even out changes in both generation and demand. In general, kinetic storage is cheaper than chemical storage. One benefit of kinetic storage is that there is no memory effect as there is with many types of batteries. In other words, if a kinetic storage device is capable of retaining 100 megawatt-hours of storage today, it will likely still be able to hold 100 megawatt-hours in several decades. Chemical Storage Chemical storage is a general name for batteries, hydrogen and other molecular level storage mechanisms. The hydrogen economy that everyone was so enthused about in 2005 is really a chemical storage method for energy. It is not a source of energy, but rather a storage mechanism. Wood, coal, oil, and natural gas are all chemical storage, as well. The lithium-ion batteries that power portable tools and electric cars are chemical storage, too. What this section will focus on is batteries and hydrogen. Hydrogen Breaking water down to its basic elements is something almost every high school chemistry student gets to do. This can be accomplished by putting electricity into water, which separates the hydrogen and oxygen. Put these two gases in a balloon and ignite it and you get a big bang. Hydrogen needs to take in more energy than it gives out. This substance also likes to migrate through things like steel tank walls, eventually making the materials very brittle. In short, there are a lot of issues to solve before hydrogen becomes a fuel that can be used widely. However, if we can figure out two-way fuel cells that are highly efficient, then splitting water during low-demand periods and then combining it back into water offers a way to have localized storage or a transportation fuel. Scaling up hydrogen production is a process that will probably take 20 years or more only a crash program would make it go faster. However, the question remains whether a crash program in hydrogen production and storage would make the best economic sense for the world. Batteries Batteries have been around longer than the electric grid. Physical constraints have limited the density of energy stored in the batteries. Today, more than 27 different formulas are being explored as scientists continue the search for the ideal battery. However, the reality is that there is no ideal battery. There are a lot of different ways to use batteries and we should instead work to develop batteries to be used for a specific purpose. For example, the ideal battery for frequency support is very different than one that provides long-term power for a neighborhood that has been disconnected from the grid.

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There are a number of locations on the grid where batteries make sense, in applications ranging from cars and tools at one end to generation plant support at the other end. There are also a number of different ways to use batteries. Ultimately, there are probably 30 or 40 different configurations of batteries that will be needed to make the grid more reliable. Indeed, it may come to pass that all of the chemistries that are being experimented with in the lab today will someday find a niche in the grid. Batteries have made small incremental improvements in power density since the mid1980s when I first began to focus on battery research and development. On the other hand, the cost and scale of battery systems have definitely improved during the same period. There are a number of projects underway to improve the power density of batteries, but the likelihood that battery power density will go up by an order of magnitude in the next decade is low. Flow batteries large liquid batteries that can store enough energy to support a large wind farm are massive in scale. For one type of flow battery, it has been estimated that a working model would require 5 million gallons of liquids. Clearly, this is not your typical AA batteries that go in the digital camera. Research All of the storage options on the table today could benefit from research support. The United States and other countries have underspent on R&D with regards to all types of storage. There are real opportunities here to improve the way we use energy, not just electricity. ARPA-E took the first step in 2009 with their funding of a number of R&D projects. However, more R&D funding is needed. China right now is the largest funder of storage R&D. Smart Grid The smart grid is a complex subject unto itself. In the case of the low carbon menu, it is the central nervous system that will help keep all the pieces working together. However, the ultimate realization of the smart grid will not be the grid as posited by a number of people in the electricity industry, because the real smart grid will have to transcend that industry. Though the steps that are being taken in the utility industry are necessary and constitute a strong foundation for the smart grid, the concept will have to coordinate transportation, water, sewage, and other services in the long term. Hundreds of books have been published on topics pertaining to the smart grid; most focus on the technical aspects of the issue. However, in my view, the most important aspect of the topic is why people should care about the smart grid. If keeping the lights on, keeping the cost of energy down and reducing the dependency on foreign oil or fossil fuels is important, then the smart grid is important. Having a system that can monitor, report, forecast and control utility services will be useful and perhaps even important in maximizing our future potential. Knowing that the wind will be blowing forcefully in 15 minutes for an hours time means that a

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washing machine can be queued to turn on, that a car might be queued to take a topup charge at the office and that a storage system may be queued to store energy for the cold night ahead. The ability to be informed and warned of possible shortages or surpluses will make our lives a little bit easier than if the washer suddenly stops in the middle of a load or the car is not charged in the morning or worse yet, if the lights go off and dont come back on again. Security and Privacy Regardless of what we do to ameliorate energy shortages in the future, we need to maintain the privacy and security of the individual. Security in this context means safety, comfort and happiness, as well as income and standard of living. Electronic Security This is not a trivial challenge, especially since many of the devices that we use today that are dumb, manual and blind, metaphorically speaking, will over time become smarter and more connected than our cell phones. Our stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers will all talk to each other, as well as to our mobile phones and our home control systems. Our homes and offices will eventually be able to talk to a control center that will either provide pricing or some form of messaging that will indicate it is an advantageous or disadvantageous time to consume energy, water, and other resources. Our consumption will be tracked at a level that could be used to determine whether we are at home, at work or on vacation. In short, protecting these types of infrastructure, communication streams and data flows will not be easy. Not only do we need to keep these data private, but we also need to keep others from gaining access to our appliances and other devices and using them for nefarious purposes. In a relatively benign example, imagine that the child down the street is coming over for dinner and does not want to eat broccoli and therefore commands your stove to disable itself for the next two hours. After all, peanut butter and jelly is better than broccoli, right? The idea that remote controls can be hacked not only in the home, but also on the grid, in the water system, and in traffic control systems is keeping a large number of smart professionals busy developing a better way to secure these control systems. While no system will be perfect, if the systems deployed are capable of being upgraded and monitored, they should be able to be secured and re-secured as needed to keep services flowing even under exigent circumstances, minimizing the chaos that hackers could create. Privacy Maintaining privacy means limiting who can see what and how it is associated to particular individuals. Policies addressing issues such as these have been implemented by the provincial government of British Columbia, Canada and represent a positive start to the issue of maintaining privacy on the smart grid. In this context, privacy is far more about policy than it is about technology.

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Reliability Beyond the control systems and communications, it will be important to maintain the systems that actually deliver services, so that they deliver water, electricity and other services with minimal losses and interruptions. In many cases, a single path runs from the source to a user. As we move forward, we may need to spend resources to build redundant paths to users. Barring that, it may be that some form of local storage is required to support the continuation of service. In the case of water, simple gravityfed water tanks like those our ancestors used on their farms make sense. Water towers also work to minimize the number of people who are forced to live without water. For electricity, the answer is more complex and will be covered in the storage section below. Heat and cold are also energy resources that can and should be stored. Education programs Most of us take energy for granted; we pay our bills and otherwise dont worry about the issue. When the price of gasoline goes up, we complain, but still fill up the tank and drive. When the price of electricity goes up, we are unhappy, but seldom do these price increases result in a major change in our habits. We are used to being able to buy energy at any time of the day or night for a flat price. Changing that mindset will be difficult. Generally speaking, most of us do not want to change long-ingrained habits. Dont believe me? Try this experiment: place the forks and spoons on the wrong side of the dinner plates tonight and see how your guests and family members react. Do it again tomorrow, and again and again in the following days and weeks. See how long it takes before your dinner companions get used to the idea that the right place is in the opposite place. Habits are very hard to break. Education and training to change habits and expectations will have to be extensive and comprehensive, with different programs targeting groups from preschoolers to the elderly. Some folks will call it brainwashing, and some will try to have their children opt out of such training in the public school system. It will not be pretty when we get started. To be successfully, such a process will have to start at the highest levels of government and industry. We will need the help of celebrities and other influencers. And the folks who are spokespeople for this education effort are going to have to visibly change their lifestyles. Not only will consumers need training, but many professions will, too.

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ABCD ABCD is shorthand for architects, builders, contractors and developers. These are the professionals who will be tasked with designing and creating the next generation of interior environments. They will also upgrade and retool existing environments for us. What they do today is much better than it was 30 years ago, but it is not good enough for what we need to be doing in the future. Residential structures can easily last for 100 years or more. Knocking down what we have today is just not going to happen. So not only do we need to change the way ABCD professionals think about new buildings, but we also need to change the way they think about updating old buildings. The LEED organization has initiated a program for LEED-certified architects, but the organization has not yet addressed the training and certification of the BCD portion of this group. If this effort is going to work, all of the members of this team need to think and work differently. While the architect can seal all of the air leaks and tape over all the staples in the Tyvek covering on a dwelling, the builder may regard this process as excessively time-consuming and skip this step, which in turn can lead to the energy efficiency of the dwelling being much lower than expected. Yes, it demands time and effort, but the long-term payoff of doing it right can make a big difference. Regulators and Inspectors When it comes to the construction and upkeep of structures, these professionals decide what the rules are and then determine if the rules have been followed. Most of them are busy and intelligent people. A vitally important step of the education process is presenting effective model rules to the regulators so they can determine if they make sense as written and, if so, can act to put them into effect. Inspectors have training and experience. The problem is that when you change the rules, much of their accumulated experience may go against the new rules and the prior training may not help. Again, this will be a complicated process of updating the rules, updating the inspection requirements, then updating the training and recertifying the inspectors. Building Owners and Operators Those who own, operate, and/or manage large structures will face many changes in the years ahead. It is not a trivial challenge to change the way that lighting, heat and other services in the building work. Not only do the control systems need to work differently, but the people who program, operate and maintain them will have to change their practices, as well. Again, a great deal of effort will need to be expended in developing the right way to run buildings and then training the people who are responsible for these tasks. Overall Assessment Marketing, training and education will be one of the largest cost components of rolling out a low carbon future. There is a segment of the population that will not want to be bothered and another that does not believe that there is anything that needs to be done. Both of these contingents will drag their feet and resist any change. Most people

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will resist some of the changes that need to happen just because they will require a different mode of living. Again, habits are very hard to break. Right now, very few people are thinking about a comprehensive training program or even thinking about how best to train the trainers who will train the teachers who will teach us all. Without fixing this one aspect of the process, the rest of the work will be for naught. research and development Many of the technologies we need for a low carbon menu exist, but they may not be commercially viable today. That is, given a financial choice, another technology would likely have a lower overall cost at the current juncture. Some argue that that may be the case with electric cars. Even with $5-a-gallon gasoline, a $15,000 subcompact that gets 35 miles to the gallon may be cheaper to own and operate for 100,000 miles than a Nissan Leaf. Refining the right technologies to the point where volume production will make their costs the same or less than those that are in widespread use today is critical to sustaining the future. If this effort requires tax engineering, subsidies or other supports, eventually the whole system will be upended. Many technologies that we need to deploy on a large scale have already been identified in the laboratory and have been proven as lab bench prototypes, but they have never been scaled up to a level at which significant problems start to be noticed. For example, with respect to flywheel technology, some of it has run on a lab bench with no problem, but the process of scaling it up to megawatts of energy has never been carried out. Can it ideally be done with lots of smaller flywheels or with a few very large flywheels? We dont know yet. The same goes for large flow batteries, solid fuel cars and many other technologies that we might want to use. The creation of ARPA-E was a step in the right direction when it comes to funding and developing these types of technologies. In the 1960s and the 1970s, NASA and DARPA drove the research agenda for the U.S. and its allies. They were very successful. If you like your cell phone, thank DARPA and NASA. The computer you are reading this on? Again, thank DARPA and NASA. Grateful for the internet? That was DARPAs doing, too. If we want to create a new energy future, we need an ARPA-E program that can be as successful as DARPA has been. In the Pentagon in the early 1980s, there were thousands of R&D projects that had moved from the chalkboards in universities to the development labs and then to the field for testing. No research program has ever been as fruitful as DARPA was, with the possible exception of NASA when they had the tangible goal of getting to the Moon in a short period of time. The whole nation knew that the Cold War could become hot at any time, and the whole nation knew we had a president who set a technology goal that would become his legacy. We need to put that kind of focus and capability in ARPA-E if we want a low carbon future. And of course, ARPA-E probably needs a better name to make it easier to market, such as The Energy Freedom Agency (TEFA).

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using Industrial Policy While most governments claim they are not in the business of industrial policy, examination of the tax policies in those countries would prove that they are. In almost every country that has a taxation system that has been in place for more than 50 years, the tax system is riddled with favoritism for one technology or industry over another. This may not be the way that lawmakers think about it, but it is true. If you take a look at the way that research money is allocated, it becomes evident that some technologies and industries are favored over others. No matter what the government does with respect to regulations, investment, taxes or incentives, they are creating an industrial policy. In many cases today, that industrial policy is being created in a fragmented, non-linear, and decidedly unstrategic way. The puzzle pieces that are created at the EPA may not fit with the pieces from the IRS, and neither may fit with the pieces from the SEC. Not only do we need a comprehensive policy for R&D, but we need to clean up the existing industrial policy so that all of the pieces fit together. In closing A low carbon menu is possible. It might even be very profitable. The problems come when people are determined to focus on a single technology or a single industry. In reality, developing a broad menu of solutions and projects is the only way to achieve a balanced diet. Some of the answer lies in using less. Some of the answer will come from being much less wasteful. And some of the answer will come from developing new ways of creating more. No single person, institution, company, or government agency can devise a comprehensive answer; the problem is too large and too complex. The overall scale of the effort, when taken together, dwarfs the programs that were instituted to build the railroads, the dams and the Interstate Highway system. However, because there is a menu of options that can be developed, no single project has to be undertaken. No single failure will halt the rest of the program. Much of the work is at a level of technology that comes with little or no risk. However, the overall scale of the project bears some risk, even if the technology is well understood. If we start now, our grandchildren will still be working on it. It is almost certain that the solutions we envision today will not be what we end up with. But if we are willing to work on a broad-based solution and are open to being trained to do things in a more efficient fashion, then in the long run, we can meet the seven goals that were stated at the beginning of this essay.

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Here they are again: 1. No reduction in first-world standards of living; for developing countries, an improvement in standard of living. In the developed world, there will be an overall reduction in energy consumption, but no drastic changes in lifestyle. 2. For the individual, no dramatic change in habits forced by laws or regulation. Rather, the low carbon menu will provide the individual with a set of choices, allowing people to move in the direction they want to move. Think of it as a really good Chinese restaurant with a wide menu of choices and multiple available courses. 3. Enough water available to supply everyone with clean, safe drinking water. 4. Enough food to supply everyone with adequate calories and a healthy range of choices, including food grown halfway around the world, at reasonable prices as a proportion of income. 5. Enough energy to provide hot water, summer cooling, winter heating, cooking and other needs, again at reasonable prices as a proportion of income. 6. Freedom to live in the location that best suits each family or individual. 7. Convenient and affordable transportation options that allow people to work, shop and pay social visits using a variety of modes of conveyance as deemed appropriate to the purpose and distance traveled. If you believe that a future in which these goals have been met would be beneficial to you, your children and your grandchildren, then figuring out your role in developing the low carbon menu should be your primary goal. People from every walk of life can contribute meaningfully to this effort. In fact, there is enough to do to put every person in the United States to work, if we choose to do so. To quote a president President John F. Kennedy, in fact when he set the then-lofty goal of putting man on the moon: We choose to go...not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

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