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Science at the Theater: Just say no to carbon emissions

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Published on Apr 29, 2010

April 26, 2010 Science at the Theater: Learn about three efforts our grandchildren may thank us for: cheap solar energy, bringing energy efficiency to China, and learning how to store carbon deep underground.

Can solar energy be dirt cheap?

We're all potentially billionaires when it comes to solar energy. The trick is learning how to convert sunlight to electricity using cheap and plentiful materials. Ramamoorthy Ramesh, an innovative materials scientist at Berkeley Lab, will discuss how he and other researchers are working to make photovoltaic cells using the most abundant elements in the Earth's crust -- materials that are literally as common as dirt.

Energy efficiency in China
Nan Zhou is a researcher with Berkeley Lab's China Energy Group. She will speak about Chinas energy use and the policies that have been implemented to increase energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emission growth. Her work focuses on building China's capacity to evaluate, adopt and implement low-carbon development strategies. Zhou has an architecture degree from China, and a Master and Ph.D. in Engineering from Japan.

Understanding geologic carbon sequestration
Even with continued growth of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, fossil fuels will likely remain cheap and plentiful for decades to come. Geologist Curt Oldenburg, who heads Berkeley Lab's Geologic Carbon Sequestration Program, will discuss a strategy to reduce carbon emissions from coal and natural gas. It involves pumping compressed CO2 captured from large stationary sources into underground rock formations that can store it for geological time scales.

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