Decarbonizing the hard-to-abate sectors

Over the past decade society has made great strides in transitioning electricity away from fossil fuels, with over a third of global electricity now produced using low-carbon sources.

But fossil fuels still represent over 84% of our total energy mix, mainly in hard-to-abate sectors, and contribute 3/4 of harmful greenhouse emissions.

How can we transform sectors such as heating, cooking, transportation, and aviation to clean, renewable, and reliable fuels? What hurdles stand in the way of innovation for these sectors?

Construction/Housing ready for disruption. Regulatory hurldes

Thanks @X3EM for your input. Indeed construction sector is ready for disruption. Have you come across any solutions to overcome these regulatory hurdles. Also feel free to share any ideas / solutions that you feel may be helpful in resolving these regulatory hurdles.

Hi @dgoldber, @ajmvyc, @mghadaffi_mnor, @thomasferguson85, @Fernando - We would love to hear your thoughts on ways we can transform sectors such as heating, cooking, transportation, and aviation to clean, renewable, and reliable fuels? What hurdles stand in the way of innovation for these sectors? Thanks.

Hi @Ricchetti77, @nate_hausman, @cqkang, @RicardoChacartegui - What are your thoughts on ways we can transform sectors such as heating, cooking, transportation, and aviation to clean, renewable, and reliable fuels? What hurdles stand in the way of innovation for these sectors?

Let’s break these sectors apart. The underlying requirements are 1) how mobile or lightweight the energy source needs to be, and 2) the manner in which they need to be converted to output energy.

For example, there are solutions that convert electrical energy to thermal for cooking and heating today. If you look at France, where Mitterand’s initiatives made electricity cheap, there’s heavy reliance on electric radiators and cooktops. In the US, it’s more varied and generally a preference for natural gas which tends to be cheaper than electricity. But, if you’re talking about it on say a mobile job site, food truck, etc then you’re asking if a Tesla or NextGen battery will have enough energy and is light enough to meet the needs.

Transport, similarly can the battery store enough electricity to power the vehicle to the same distance as the petroleum fuel it’s replacing?

Aviation is harder - can the propellant used make up for the thrust produced by combustion? (Eg, unlike the other sectors, replacements for jet engines and rockets are limited today).

So many sectors might be addressed by a more efficient battery (minus the weight). With some engineering and product management to tailor it to the industry. While aviation needs something new. One potential solution would be trying to scale Hall effect or similar ion engines used for stationkeeping in satellites today to a full jet-equivalent thrust (there may be other issues to operating ion engines in atmosphere). However, it still would require sufficient electrical energy storage and discharge to make that thrust possible.

Hydrogen has the potential to provide a water-only combustion, but requires heavy duty protection storage vessels to avoid accidental combustion. These solutions are now being demonstrated in vehicles in California, Italy, and elsewhere but adoption is very limited. But the emissions-less energy is there (and it could be made anywhere there are water and clean electrical sources), it’s just a really hard engineering problem, which may be easier to solve than looking for a new fuel source altogether (e.g., fusion, dilithium crystal, etc.). I would argue that both avenues should be pursued to make sure we don’t miss anything as hydrogen will solve some issues but can only get us so far (eg, production volume on Mars tbd, moon & asteroids unlikely in sufficient quantities, etc.).

@adventureashr - Welcome to the XPRIZE Community! Thank you for sharing these insights.

It may not be a walk in the park but we are doiing it!
One way is by use of GREEN HYDROGEN in such industries.

Thanks @Jesse_Nyokabi for sharing your thoughts in the discussion. I would like to you to elaborate on the concept of green hydrogen, implementation and impact.

It requires innovation, stakeholder engagement all the way. We need to make economic sense before covering social and environmental benefits… designing cities to be walkable and bikable is important

There are two sets of words that we too often conflate but really need to expound on more. Efficacy vs efficiency and energy consumption vs power usage.
LED lighting with controls is a great example where tremendous gains have been made by increasing efficacy and reducing energy consumption. What is also insightful about LED illumination is that it uses less material and resources to produce the product and to complete the system.
This mindset of efficacy (doing more with less), and energy frugality (use the right proportion only when and where you need it) needs to be applied to especially to heating/cooling.