The Future of Energy (FoE) Initiative is an open source working group. Our mission is to develop sustainable concepts for clean energy systems. Our role is architect. We focus tipping points, those key technical questions that will ultimately determine the structural foundations of clean energy systems.

The scope of our effort is classic concept definition phase. Starting with an ultimate goal and current knowledge, we contrast and compare whole system concepts. The product is a factual assessment of cost, performance and risk.

The ultimate goal is to power the planet without fossil fuel. With finite fossil resources, this goal is inevitable and has no ambiguity except for timing. Whether It is 50 years, or 300 years, it is important for policymakers to understand which concepts can be scaled to deliver 3.4 x 1017 Wh/y of primary sustainable energy. These ideas are summarized in more detail in a paper titled Engineering Clean Energy Systems.

Two tasks that we regard as receiving inadequate attention by the R&D community are:
  1. Establish the cost, performance and risk associated with electric power systems with intermittent generators. Wind and solar have received much enthusiasm as clean renewable generators with enormous energy potential. But intermittency results in inefficient systems which will seriously impact the cost and scale of reliable zero carbon systems.
  2. Develop sustainable nuclear fission concepts optimized for civilian applications. Legacy nuclear power (those systems visible today) does not scale because it is based on concepts that were optimized to power submarines and produce plutonium for weapons. Sustainable civilian nuclear fission will require new concepts, breeder reactors and better waste management. 
Anyone interested in leading or joining a project or looking for support for a project, or looking to fund a project, please contact Alex Pavlak