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DSSS: Secure Energy for America

February 17, 2017 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Friday, February 17, 2017
10:30am – 12:00 pm
Building 66 Auditorium
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Host: Jens Birkholzer


About the Speaker

Dr. Scott W. Tinker is director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, the State Geologist of Texas, and a professor holding the Allday Endowed Chair and acting Associate Dean of Research in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Scott is past president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Association of American State Geologists, the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, and the American Geosciences Institute. Scott is a Halbouty Leadership Medalist, a Boyd Medalist, a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, and has given over 650 keynote and invited lectures to government, industry, academic, and general audiences, and visited over 50 countries. Tinker serves on many private, public, academic, and government boards and advisory councils and co-produced and is featured in the award-winning energy documentary film, Switch, which is on 1000 college campuses and has been seen by over 10 million people.


The relationship between access to secure energy—affordable, available, reliable, and sustainable—and economic health is linear and causal. Healthy economies invest in environmental sustainability. Thus, access to secure energy is vital to maintaining economic and environmental health, and to lifting the world from poverty.

The global energy mix has been slowly transitioning from the foundational energies of oil for transportation fuels and coal for electricity generation. As global energy demand continues to grow with population and industrialization, what are the viable alternatives to oil and coal? For transportation, biofuels, batteries, LNG, CNG, LPG, CTL, or hydrogen fuel cells. For electricity, wind, waves, tides, hydro, solar PV, solar thermal, nuclear, or natural gas. Issues such as energy density, thermodynamics, kinetics, economics, materials, intermittency, energy storage, scale, environmental impacts, and resource abundance/scarcity must be addressed. Indeed all forms of energy have challenges and opportunities, but nuclear and natural gas are currently scalable, reliable, and affordable baseload electricity options to coal.

As governments consider secure energy policies, it is critical to evaluate outcomes and avoid repeating programs that do not work. A portfolio of energy options, varying by geographic and geopolitical region and by resource availability, not only makes sense but is inevitable. Managing the energy mix to maximize security—including resource availability, affordability and reliability; atmospheric and local air emissions, land and water use; and mining and materials required for infrastructure—is a key challenge.


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Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series Committee