Path to Net Zero Emissions (Efficiency, Renewables, EVs, Storage and Hydrogen)

Hybrid Meeting Feb. 24, 2022

James M. Fenton is the Director of the University of Central Florida’s FSEC Energy Research Center and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.  He leads a staff of 60 in the research, development, and  education of energy technologies that enhance Florida’s and the nation’s economy and environment.  FSEC has six major program areas – solar energy, high performance buildings, electric vehicles, energy storage (flow batteries, hydrogen, vehicle-to-grid), STEM education and workforce training, and energy policy research.

Due to improved efficiency in solar and wind technology and substantial increases in manufacturing volume the cost to generate electricity from the sun and wind and the cost to store this electricity in lithium-ion batteries has made these three technologies more than competitive today with traditional sources. By 2050 following a business-as-usual model solar and wind will supply 56% of global electricity and 65% of all passenger-vehicles traveled will be electric leading to 2.2 oC of global warming.  Zero Net Emissions (ZNE) by 2050 will limit the long-term increase in average global temperatures to 1.5°C. This requires a complete transformation of how we produce and consume energy.  The next ten years will be crucial for the energy transition. We will need to see: accelerated deployment of wind and PV; more energy efficient buildings (new and retrofits), faster consumer uptake in electric vehicles, small-scale renewables, and low-carbon heating technology, such as heat pumps; and scaled-up development and deployment of zero-carbon fuels such as hydrogen deployed by 2030.  It is now cheaper to save the climate than destroy it!