Plan B: Fossil fuels without CO2
There is no evidence that significant reductions in the carbon dioxide emissions associated with power generation will be achieved using current commercial alternatives to abundant and low-cost fossil fuels. The massive infrastructure and equipment changes required for such a transition would require multiple decades of work if and when a serious commitment is made and an economical transition pathway is identified. The stored chemical potential in fossil fuels from thermonuclear derived solar energy may be utilized by less conventional means without producing carbon dioxide. Chemical pathways to produce hydrogen or ammonia from hydrocarbons without co-production of carbon dioxide are possible in new process configurations. Such processes may be more cost effective than other options and more readily implemented. Professor Eric McFarland will highlight areas where science and engineering innovation could have enormous impact on global use of fossil resources into the future and will show results of recent investigations on methane conversion.
Eric McFarland is a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He studied nuclear engineering and received his PhD from MIT. His present research focus is in catalysis and reaction engineering related to energy conversion. McFarland has always worked closely with industry on problems related to energy and chemical production, and he has held senior management positions in several companies related to his university research and is an active advisor to industry. He served as CEO of Gas Reaction Technologies and partnered with several major energy companies in the development of methane-to-chemicals technologies. McFarland recently returned to the U.S. from a two-year position as the founding director of the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation and Dow Chemical Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland, Australia.
When & Where
MIT Energy Initiative
The MIT Energy Initiative is MIT’s hub for energy research, education, and outreach. MITEI links world-class academic research teams with industry and government to respond to specific energy challenges. Through these engagements, MITEI develops low- and no-carbon emissions solutions that will efficiently and affordably meet global energy needs while minimizing environmental impacts, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating climate change.