EventsEnergy Talks - A Zero-Emission Energy System: Motivation, Challenges and the Hydrogen Pathway

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Energy Talks - A Zero-Emission Energy System: Motivation, Challenges and the Hydrogen Pathway

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM


In 2020, fossil fuels were used to supply 80% of the world’s primary energy used for lighting and heating in our homes, manufacturing and transporting goods and people, and providing services such as banking and the internet. Even though renewable energy generates over 11% of the electrical power worldwide, the majority of the electricity is still also provided by fossil fuel combustion. Furthermore, some key sectors of our economy, such as aviation and heavy-duty transportation, still do not have cost-competitive replacement technology for fossil fuels. Creating a zero-emission energy system has been proven to be a challenging endeavor.

Decreasing costs of renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy, are encouraging people to hypothesize that an era of affordable renewable electricity is nigh. Affordable electricity production alone however will not result in a zero-emission energy system. Electrons are difficult to store and they cannot be used to power many applications, e.g., a trans-ocenanic aircraft. The last puzzle to the energy transition will be the development of large scale, flexible, and zero-emission energy storage solutions. In this quest for an appropriate, large-scale energy storage media, hydrogen appears to have many benefits, such as ease of storage in large quantities, flexibility of use, and efficient conversion to other forms of energy.

In this talk, worldwide primary energy consumption will be discussed in order to assess the required changes to the current energy system. Next, the challenges associated with a transition to a renewable-powered energy system will be discussed. Finally, the role of hydrogen as a storage media and fuel of the future will be assessed.

Marc Secanell is a Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada. He received his Ph.D. (2008) and M.Sc. (2004) from the University of Victoria, Canada, and B.Eng. (2002) from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (BarcelonaTech). His research interests are in the areas of: a) analysis and computational design of energy systems, such as hydrogen polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), polymer electrolyzers, flywheels and cooling towers; b) fabrication and characterization of PEFCs and electrolyzers; c) finite element analysis; and, d) multidisciplinary design optimization. His current research projects include the development of an open-source framework for analysis and design of electrochemical energy systems (OpenFCST -, and the fabrication and characterization of low loading PEFCs and electrolyzers. He has been an invited speaker at prestigious conferences such as various Electrochemical Society Meetings, the 18th Symposium on Modeling and Experimental Validation of Electrochemical Energy Technologies, and the 2016 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) in Fuel Cells. He is the co-chair of the 2022 GRC Fuel Cell conference.

This online speaker series is presented in partnership with Future Energy Systems. They focus on multidisciplinary research that develops the energy technologies of today and the near future, integrates them into today’s infrastructure, and examines possible consequences for our society, economy, and environment. Energy Talks provides an opportunity for you to engage with researchers and learn more about their work. Visit their website for more information: https://www.futureenergysystem...

Online registration is required for this meetup. A Zoom link will be sent out 24 hours before the event via EPL email. 

Disclaimer: Zoom, a third-party app, will be used for this virtual session. By joining, you acknowledge that EPL does not take responsibility for Zoom's privacy policies and practices.

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