Current research interest:
What can we do to reduce the environmental and geopolitical risks engendered by current practices in the use by humans of non-food energy to support life and society?
Criteria for such a future energy system:
1) It should tap into natural energy fluxes rather than exploiting static resources. The energy fluxes must be so large that the portion needed for human uses is a very small fraction that does not disturb the natural order. Energy fluxes that generally meet this criterion: solar (and its derivatives wind, hydro); geologic (geothermal, gravitational & tidal); nuclear.
2) Energy capture and use should not require crossing geopolitical boundaries for either the energy sources or the materials required to support capture and use.
3) Given the current investment in energy transport, storage and use infrastructure, rapid conversion to reliance on only these primary energy resources requires similar end-use forms of energy and energy carriers (electric power, natural gas, liquid fuels). Relatively mature methods exist for converting solar, wind and nuclear resources to electric power. My research focuses on enabling these resources to also supply the balance of society's energy needs by producing fuels (renewable natural gas and liquid fuels) from waste carbon dioxide and market-excess (spatially or temporally stranded or otherwise curtailed) solar, wind or nuclear power.