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Net-zero emissions energy systems

Some energy services and industrial processes—such as long-distance freight transport, air travel, highly reliable electricity, and steel and cement manufacturing—are particularly difficult to provide without adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Rapidly growing demand for these services, combined with long lead times for technology development and long lifetimes of energy infrastructure, make decarbonization of these services both essential and urgent.

Research By:

  • Steven J. Davis
  • Nathan S. Lewis
  • Matthew Shaner
  • Sonia Aggarwal
  • Doug Arent
  • Inês L. Azevedo
  • Sally M. Benson
  • Thomas Bradley
  • Jack Brouwer
  • Yet-Ming Chiang
  • Christopher T. M. Clack
  • Armond Cohen
  • Stephen Doig
  • Jae Edmonds
  • Paul Fennell
  • B. Field
  • Bryan Hannegan
  • Bri-Mathias Hodge
  • Martin I. Hoffert
  • Eric Ingersoll
  • Paulina Jaramillo
  • Klaus S. Lackner
  • Katharine J. Mach
  • Michael Mastrandrea
  • Joan Ogden
  • Per F. Peterson
  • Daniel L. Sanchez
  • Daniel Sperling
  • Joseph Stagner
  • Jessika E. Trancik
  • Chi-Jen Yang
  • Ken Caldeira

    Abstract:

    Some energy services and industrial processes—such as long-distance freight transport, air travel, highly reliable electricity, and steel and cement manufacturing—are particularly difficult to provide without adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Rapidly growing demand for these services, combined with long lead times for technology development and long lifetimes of energy infrastructure, make decarbonization of these services both essential and urgent. We examine barriers and opportunities associated with these difficult-to-decarbonize services and processes, including possible technological solutions and research and development priorities. A range of existing technologies could meet future demands for these services and processes without net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere, but their use may depend on a combination of cost reductions via research and innovation, as well as coordinated deployment and integration of operations across currently discrete energy industries.

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    Citation:

    Davis, Steven J., Lewis, Nathan S., Shaner, Matthew, Aggarwal, Sonia, Arent, Doug, Azevedo, Inês L., … Caldeira, Ken. (2018). Net-zero emissions energy systems. Science360(6396). doi:10.1126/science.aas9793