[INAUDIBLE] >> Okay, hello and welcome to Google Hangout for the course Our Interview Future. My name is Steve Mayfield, I'm the professor for this course. And I'm here today with a friend and colleague, George Tynan. George is an engineer, a nuclear engineer by training, and also one of this week's lecturers. And George is also here to help me answer any questions that come from the students taking the course. So, a few questions have been sent in. If you guys want to send in additional questions you can do it now. You just have to be onto Google Hangout. Then you can send those and apparently they will pop up on the side of my screen here and we can answer them. But we're going to start just by answering a couple of the questions that were already sent in. And then I think we'll also have just a general discussion of some of the topics that would have come up over the week that you students have posted. >> So I'll start with one here, this was question number one. And this was also one of the big topics on the discussion board. And the question, let me see, I have to click on it here, the question it says, >> Select. >> I hit select, okay. The question says, I was amazed by a comment regarding GMOs as a natural process. I understand it was meant as natural gene combination, not modern biotechnology, right? So the answer to that one is pretty simple, and that is that many organisms transfer genes to other organism. This is very common in bacteria. In fact, there are number of bacteria that actually sample the environment and pull in DNA. There are some that transfer their DNA To their host organism to make that host organism do something. Viruses, of course, almost always plug their DNA in when you're infected. So genetic modification is a natural process. And in fact, the first genetic engineering techniques for plants took advantage of that. They actually, there's agrobacterium. Tumefaciems is a bacterium that infects certain dicot plants and it has something called tDNA. It's got a plasmid. And it inserts that plasmid into the host genome, and causes the host genome to synthesize some compounds that are beneficial to it. So it's taking advantage of the host. And so plant scientists actually use that bacteria to insert genes into the plant host, and they still do that today. They simply swapped out the genes that the agrobacterium was putting in, put it in a different set of genes, and that's how they go in. So, it is a natural process. And what we have discovered recently because sequencing is now so cheap and so easy to do. And we can sequence somebody with different genomes, which it actually allows us so called horizontal gene transfer. Which is genetic transfer from one organism to another within the environment. Is in fact, very common, it happens all the time. But I think, really, what the fundamental, I think, part of that question is, is genetic engineered organism versus a genetic modified organism. So I want to be very clear that all of the foods, all of the animals we eat are genetically modified. By that what I mean is that by selection, they are no longer the same as they were thousands or ten thousands of years ago in their wild type ancestors. We have selected those organisms, those plants, to suite our purposes, okay? So all plants are genetically modified. Now, what we do today we call genetic engineering which is very precise integration of genes into a genome to have it do something we want. And from the discussion board, those of you who looked at it, this is a rather controversial topic. I would say that genetic engineering and whether that's a good idea for food, I have no opinion on that. [LAUGH] No opinion I'm going to voice here today. Except to say that genetic modification is absolutely essential, or we would not have 7 billion people on the planet today. The corn, the rice, the wheat that we grow and eat today sustains 7 billion people. Because for many of thousands of years we selected grains that were much more beneficial to us. It produced big seeds, they produced a lot of them, okay. So feel free to send more questions on that if you guys want. There is a question here on nuclear industry. And I'm not going to answer that because I have George here. And so we will select that question. And I will let George answer this one. So the question is from John, and he says why is the nuclear industry in the US not pursuing the implementation of LFTR technology? I believe you mean, John, by that acronym that it's Lithium fluoride which is a metal salt thorium reactor technology. And when it's much more safer and efficient than standard fission reactors. Nearly 2% of the energy in a standard reactor fuel rod is extracted. This question really goes beyond the particular technology that John mentions. There's a whole suite of three or four different reactor designed ideas that are thought to be more advantageous from a safety perspective, cost perspective. And a fuel utilization perspective than the current reactor designs that are implemented around the world. Which are probably 99% are what's called light water reactors. Light water reactor design were developed in 1950s and 60s in the US, and became the dominant reactor technology, probably by the early 70s. [COUGH] And essentially we've sort of locked in that technology around the world into probably more than 400 reactor sites around the world today. And it's always difficult for these new technologies to break into the market. Nuclear energy and nuclear reactor development is a very expensive proposition that requires close government oversight and federal police in the US, federal regulatory approval. And so there's a big hurdle to overcome to introduce a new reactor technology into the market. So I think that's the fact that water reactors have sort of locked in their place in the market, combined with the high developmental costs of a new technology. Probably makes it difficult and very risky for a private company to try to develop that technology and then move into the marketplace. That being said, there are efforts underway in the US to develop what are called small modular reactors. To my knowledge none of them are using the thorium based fuel cycle. They're still using, looking mostly at uranium or mixed oxide fuels. But they hope that that will lead to smaller unit sizes, lower capital costs And hopefully a safer reactor operational characteristics. I do know that in other countries, particularly in Asia, in China, and in India. I would say that the, at more of a research scale as opposed to commercial development, there is activity in a whole suite of new fissionary reactor technologies, including thorium-based cycles. Whether that actually makes it to the market, I think time will tell. But if it does make to the market, my guess would be those technologies would not come out of the US. It would probably come out of Asia and then be developed and propagated around the world, so. >> Okay, and I see another question popped up, and this is also in George's wheelhouse, so we're going to go there as well. >> Okay. >> And this has to do with nuclear fusion. Because that is in fact is what George works on. >> So Paul Tona asks where is the technology at with nuclear fusion? Are we close to it becoming commercially viable? Fusion research is actually what I spend most of my time working in. There are two main approaches for fusion. One is called inertial fusion, where you use very intense short pulses of energy, either from a laser or a particle beam to compress a spherical target to the conditions necessary for fusion to occur. There is a large experiment now underway, now operational up in Northern California at Livermore National Labs, called the National Ignition Facility. That is trying to get to the regime where more energy is released from the reaction than one put into the system in the first place. And those experiments are ongoing. They have not yet demonstrated that energy gained. That's what the energy break humans called. But they're working very hard to try to make that happen. And then the second approach for nuclear fusion is using very intense or strong magnetic fields to confine the fusion fuels called plasma. And there are several different variants on those schemes, but they all tend to involve a toroidal or donut shaped magnetic field that traps the plasma in this magnetic field. And then what heats the plasma to the point where fusion begins to occur. We think we understand what a power producing system would have to look like. How big it would have to be, how strong would the magnetic field be, and so forth. And so there is an experiment under construction now in Europe, and some in France, that's a consortium of most of the developed countries in the world. Russia, the European Union, the US, Japan, South Korea, India, and they are partnering to try to build the world's first energy producing fusion, a magnetic fusion experiment. If that succeeds, then we expect that experiment would release about ten times more energy out than we put into the system in the first place. I should say that both of those experiments are physics experiments. They are not commercial power reactors. They're not even attempting to be a commercial power reactor. They're trying to demonstrate for the first time, net energy production from fusion. Once they succeed, assuming they do, then one has to take that physics experiment and turn it into a commercially viable technology. And that requires a lot more nuclear engineering, new materials, and a demonstration that, that technology can be operated in a cost-effective and cost-competitive manner. Whether that actually succeeds in the marketplace, again, it has a chance, but I think it's too early to tell frankly. So the reality is fusion is not an option probably until the second half of the century. >> That sounds like a long way away. 40 years, 30 years, 40 years. >> In the energy game, it's not quite so far. >> [LAUGH] Yeah, yeah. >> We'll be down to fumes on fossil fuel at that point. But so maybe just in time, technology as they call it. >> That's my answer to that question. >> Okay, a couple of the other topics that came up, and you guys can send in more questions on Google hangout while we're here. But a couple of the other ones that have come up on the board. And one that I specifically want to talk about in addition to the genetic engineering, which is the Green Revolution. Because I think there's maybe a little bit of misunderstanding from the lecture, or at least from the comments that I saw on the board. At how successful the Green Revolution was and continues to be, versus distribution of food. [LAUGH] See we locked our producer outside of the office. Just one minute. Technical difficulty, we're back on the air. >> Can you turn down the volume on your computer? >> Yep. >> Or turn it off? >> You getting feedback? >> Yeah, a little bit. >> Okay. >> Okay. >> Is that better? Can they still hear me? >> Yeah, they should still hear us. >> Okay. Okay, so I want to talk about the Green Revolution, what it really did. Okay? And I want to be pretty clear on this, all right? We would not have 7 billion people on the planet today if we had not the Green Revolution. That is just a fact, okay? Under no circumstances is food production prior to the Green Revolution sufficient to feed 7 billion people. I quite often hear people saying, I'm asked this all the time in class. Well, isn't really the problem with food on the planet distribution? There absolutely is a problem with distribution of food on the planet. Okay, that is a true statement. But it is not a true statement that if we did not have the enormous efficiency gains, especially in the grains. Especially in corn, wheat and rice that we saw with the last 60 years. In no way would we have 7 billion people on the planet today, eating what we do, okay? Now it's also a true statement that if we changed our diets. If we got rid of meat production, primarily beef, which consumes a huge amount of grain. If we got rid of that, the grains could go much farther in just total calories that we produce. We can have many more than 7 billion people on the planet, some estimates as high as 16 or 18 billion people on the planet. Okay? But what the Green Revolution allowed was enormous increases and efficiency, enormous increases in productivity. Two different things, but both of those were achieved. The productivity allowed us to have 7 billion people on the planet. The efficiencies allowed us to reduce the number of people that work on farms from in the 1950s, 50%, down to 2% today in this country. Now, and this is also true for Europe and South America and many other places that are industrial agriculture. Where we have small farms, and people are doing still hand labor on those, it's a much higher percent than 2% percent. But that was the Green Revolution unambiguously, okay? Enormous increase in productivity. Now, that gets to the reality of human hunger and food distribution. And the reason we will discuss it here is not for the moral or ethical considerations of that, because in no way, shape, or form can this class address that. But what we can address is the energy consumption part of that, right? And that is that in the United States, now it's our summer time okay, so we have here You know if I were to go to the grocery store today there would be all kinds of fresh fruit. You know strawberries and apples and peaches and plums and the rest of of the stuff- >> Stop analyzing [LAUGH]. >> Yeah yeah so all of that food would be here. But to be honest all of that food will be here in December and January when it is our winter. Why is that? That is because we now transport food all over the world. That is an enormous carbon footprint. That is an enormous cost, right? We do that because we have the resources, because we have the money to pay for that food to be transported. So there's an enormous component to food which is energy related, which has to do with industrial agriculture and how we grow it. It has to do with how we transport it. It has to do with how we preserve it, how much of it gets wasted because we don't preserve it. So all of those things have a very important interaction and a very important energy component to them, so these are things that we need to think about. We need to get more efficient at growing food. We need to transport it shorter distances. I think as Dr. Breach correctly said in his lecture, we need some way, so that consumers can make a choice, so that when I go into a store and I see strawberries in November, that I can look at those and identify, not just, they look good, and at that price of $3 a basket, I will buy some. But I can actually look at that and understand, that the carbon foot print associated with those strawberries, at that time is enormous compared to the carbon footprint of the strawberries that are in the store here in California right now. It's a fraction of that, because they're grown here locally and transported a short distance. So this is absolutely something we need to think about. Now, the complete, as I said, the ethical and moral considerations on how we distribute food, it is not something that we can entertain in this class. It's something that you guys should think about, it's something that I'm perfectly happy to keep on the discussion boards and keep those questions going, but it is not a topic that we will specifically address, okay? Now, I see a few other questions have come in and so we're going to look at some of these. I like this one, go ahead. >> Okay, I was going to say the efficiency question. >> Yeah, this is a very good question. Okay so here's a question. Do you think there is any room left for us to improve further on the thermal power plant efficiency or do you think we've maxed out? And I will let the engineer answer that. >> So thermal power plant efficiency refers to how effective are we taking the energy stored, usually in some sort of chemical fuel which we then burn and then the heat released is then is turned into either useful mechanical work or electricity. There's certainly always room for improvement, kind of the question is, what's the relative headroom that we've got left? I would say if you're talking about steam based fuel cycles or the power conversion cycles, like found in the coal fired power plant, those are limited primarily by the maximum combustion temperature, the maximum temperature that you could have in the turbine, which is a materials issue. And so, the maximum operating temperature of those kinds of turbines has been slowly increasing, but it's relatively slow. So probably not a lot of headroom left in that technology. There's, gas turbine technology, where you take natural gas, or syngas, you burn it in a turbine, kind of like a jet engine strapped down to the ground, sort of. And then you extract some of that heat in, and turn it into an electricity. But then the exhaust from that turbine can be use to produce steam which can then run through a second conversion cycle, and that's called combined cycle gas turbine technology. If you adopt that, that adds quite a bit of efficiency, you can get better than 50% net conversion efficiency with those technologies. And so, if you have gas turbines, or operating alone, if you add a combined cycle, you can go from maybe 35, 40% efficiency to better than 50%. So there is some headroom there. But you're not going to get factors of two, it's just not going to happen. And so, if you're looking at energy conversion efficiency as a way to reduce net primary energy demand, as energy use grows around the world, it can reduce the rate of growth, maybe help slow it down. But it's probably not going to cause us to reduce the net primary energy consumption in the form of combustion of fossil fuels or traditional materials for example. >> Okay. One, I think another part of that question could also be the greenhouse gas emissions. Because that can be enormously, is enormously different between a coal fired power plant and a natural gas fired power plant. And there you do get almost a two to one. >> Yes, because the carbon intensity of natural gas is almost half that of coal. So simply by switching from coal based electricity generation to natural gas, we can save almost a factor of two. That's not quite thermal efficiency, but it's a very important consideration for the course that we have this time. >> Yeah, that's right. Okay, so here is a question that has popped up on fracking. And this question comes from Michael Nicholson. Okay, given the fact that the massive scale of shale gas developed in the U.S. has not added much to the U.S. energy reserve, nor seemed as an economically profitable industry, why do some countries, for example the U.K., seem determined to follow the U.S. path? So let me answer a couple parts of that and I will also let George weigh in on this one as well, okay? So there's two different fracking components that go on in this country. One is for natural gas and the other is for shale oil, okay? And the return on those has been different. So on the natural gas side we actually did increase our reserve a fair amount. The US Department of Energy, energy information administration says we've got about a 23% bump in our natural gas reserve. So that actually was beneficial. Now we have a glut of natural gas, here in the US. Some of you will know that we're down to about $4 a million BTU. So, and that has helped considerably because natural gas at that price competes with coal. And in the US we have converted many of our coal fired electrical plants to natural gas. So in that case there was some benefit. Now, the oil is a different story. In the US we have had an enormous investment in fracking in the Vulcan shale formation in North Dakota and in the Eagle for shale formation down in Texas to the tune of about $175 billion. This year, 2013, okay? The return on that has been pretty poor in terms of increased reserve. We went up about four billion barrels. Four billion barrels sounds like a big number, that must be a lot, in the U.S., that's a couple months. We burn through about 28 billion barrels a year. So not a real big increase. Little less then two months increase in our reserve. The cost of that fracking is estimated anywhere from, some people put it in the low $70 a barrel for what's called the wildcatter up to about $115 to $120 for the oil majors. Why is there an enormous difference in that price? It's unfortunately a difference in that price because the oil majors. So that's Exxon and Chevron and British Petroleum, etc. They actually have a bit tougher requirement on how they treat the environment and how they treat their workers. If you are a wildcatter, which means an independent operation, you are probably not paying your workers health insurance. You are just giving them a salary. You also probably have much less environmental concern. So on track both Exxon and Chevron have sold all of their oil fracking properties, either late last year or early this year. And Chevron specifically stated when they sold theirs, that they could not economically compete with the independents or the wildcatters because of the environmental standards. And what they said was we're not going to stay around here in five years or ten years when the US figures out. That some of these people have been trashing the environment and that bill comes due. Chevron and Exxon were not going to be struck hold in the bag when they were attempting now to be responsible. So that's the reality, but that's not what we hear in the press. I mean, many of you will know that today the price of oil is 106 bucks a barrel here in the United States and 109 in Europe. The reason for that was because the instability in Iraq ,because of the insurgency over there. Lots of things determine the price of oil. Political instability, cost of extracting all of those into great complex equation. But in the United States even in the 106 bucks a barrel, Chevron and Exxon have decided we're not going to do. But if you read the press here and if you talk to even inform the people here. They will tell you that the fracking revolution has given us a glut of oil. That is factually incorrect, yet I see headlines for this everyday. I saw a headline yesterday. It said when will the US allow export of oil from our country which we don't allow right now. By law we cannot export oil from the United States. There's a push in this country to allow us to export. We still import about 6 million barrels a day, but somehow people have decided that very soon we're going to have such an excess of this that we'd better be prepared to export it. >> Get rid of it. >> Yeah, so this dIscontinuity between sort of facts and what is on the press and what people read and think. Has a lot to do with manipulation of the media and has a lot to do with the general ignorance of people. But it also has to do with that people just want to be optimistic about the future. In this class and in many places that you look at energy, you can arrive at a conclusion that it's not obvious how we're going to face the future, right? The era of cheap oil is over. We're not finding this thing readily anymore. As the price of oil goes up, the price of fuel goes up, so all of those things can be discouraging at some level. And I think people want to not be discouraged and so they simply say well, technology's going to save us. Fracking is new technology and it's saved us. So, why the UK specifically does that, I don't know. But in the United States, I think it's just a belief that technology will save us. And it's kind of unfortunate because I think at some point we're just going to have to face the reality that we have to conserve our energy much greater than we do now. We have to get much more efficient at how we use it. And then we have to find new sources and those new sources are probably not going to be fossil fuels. And I'll let George comment because I know he thinks about these things too. >> I think certainly in the natural gas arena, fracking has had a much bigger impact I think on reserves and on prices that in [INAUDIBLE] oil or shale oil. And that has allowed the US or enabled the [INAUDIBLE] in US to be in transition for coal to natural gas. That's in my view is a good thing, assuming that of course, you do the fracking in the way that doesn't contaminate the ground water supply and [INAUDIBLE]. And I can't comment on UK politics and policy decisions, I just know that at least for the moment that fracking natural gas is having a tier. But it's also not clear to me how sustainable that really is, the estimates for how much gas can be really be recovered. I think are highly uncertain and can change drastically from one year to the next as [INAUDIBLE]. We get a better idea of what kind of resources can actually be recovered, so. >> Okay, so here is a related question from Paul Chang and that says, back in November, the EIA said the US will be close to reaching energy independence in two decades. But then last month the EIA got recoverable Monterey Shale by 96%, this is quote confusing. Will the US achieve energy independence? So Paul, let me correct one thing. The EIA in November did not say we would hit energy independence in two decades. In fact, their projections out to 2035 showed us importing oil at about 68 million barrels a day continuously. Other people took EIA data and extrapolated from that that we might hit energy independence. But I don't think any serious energy analyst or economist ever looked at those numbers and said the US would reach energy independence soon. They also cut the recoverable Monterey Shale. That was not an estimate they made. The original estimate was a hired individual out of, I think, the University of Virginia. I might be wrong. Who was hired by the American Petroleum Institute to do an analysis of shale oil in California. And what that individual did was he simply looked at the footprint, looked at the size of it and said look how big the shale area is in California. If they recover oil out of that at the same rate they do in the Bakken in North Dakota, then they could recover 37 billion barrels of oil. And what the EIA did, which is the US Department of Energy and very careful geologist and very careful analyst. They came in and said, wait a minute, you've now drilled several hundred shale wells in California. So we don't have to guess what the output of those will be, we can go and measure it, so they did. And they went and measured that output, and they said, okay, if that's the output of these 200 wells. If you drill the 100,000 that you would need to cover the entire Monterey Shale in California. How much oil would you recover and that answer was 600 million barrels. That's the 96% cut. So the 37 billion was completely unrealistic. It had nothing to do with reality. It was a fantasy number put forward, paid for by a group that had economic interest in it. The Environmental Information Administration Analysis which I think is correct. Says, in California we're not going to recover much oil from shale. And the reason for that is because the geology of the two shales is completely different. Here in California, we have big high mountains, the Sierra Nevadas. And those are there because we have two plates mashing into each other. And when those plates mash into each other, they deform the ground underneath. So, the shale formations in California are very much deformed compared to what's in Texas and North Dakota. And that makes the oil extremely difficult to recover out of them. So, from my looking at it, no hope that the US is going to hit energy independence anytime in the next couple of decades. Unless George is successful with his fusion reactors and they come online a little quicker than his 40-year estimate. George any comments for that one? >> No, I'd agree. I'm not expecting the US to achieve energy dependence any time in the next few decades. >> Okay here's another one that had popped up a little while ago and I want to answer this one. And this question comes from Nicola Pil Molter. And it says what is the percent breakdown of carbon footprint of food between mechanization, chemicals, and transport for food systems. So that is completely dependent upon the food. For any of the quickly perishable foods that we fly around the world. Here in California we import grapes and strawberries from South America. And so the biggest part of those, the biggest part of the carbon footprint on those is on transportation. Chemicals and chemical fertilizer is almost always less than both the mechanization, the tractors, and etc., and transport that comes behind those. And then on the mechanization front that is completely again dependent upon the crop you use and what you get out of it. Corn, which is the biggest crop here in the United States, about 100 million acres. Mechanization is the biggest part of the input into it. Shortly followed by chemicals but then most of that, well 40% of that crop we turn into corn ethanol. And we will talk about that in another class. And I'm sure we'll have another office hours specifically to discuss corn ethanol and the impact of that on the environment and on the food. But then a lot of that goes into beef production. The other 60% goes into beef production. And in that case, the biggest part of the carbon footprint is what you lose by the inefficiency when you feed that corn to the cow, right? It's only about 25 to one, 25 pounds of corn to get one pound of beef out. Some people say 50 but, 25 to one, so that's not a very good return on that, okay. >> Can we take one of the more general discussion topics? >> Yeah, let's see. Okay, so one of the topics that came up was the energy potential of the sun and how we can harness it. And one of the slides, you'll remember from the lectures, was that we use about 16 terawatts of energy worldwide. And the sun provides thousands of times that. 86,000 terawatts, so 6,000 times that amount. So a very very large number. And then I would also make the argument that almost all the energy we use today save geothermal and nuclear actually come from the sun. Right, all of fossil fuel is simply photosynthesis done millions of years ago. So that is simply ancient algae and ancient plants. All biomass that we burn is sun. All hydrothermal is simply the sun's energy evaporating water and putting that as rain or snow someplace else. So it's quite clear that the sun is what powers this planet. Now, specifically maybe what some of the debate was on photovoltaic or on some of the photothermal technologies that are out there that we can use. And here in California now we're doing quite well in that. We have a requirement under California law to be at 30% renewable energy by 2020. We're actually on a very good path to achieve that. We're north of 15% now. We will easily get actually 30% in the next five years. That comes from both wind and solar. Most of the solar has been housetop or small installations. But we've done really well on that. Some of you will know that here in San Diego, about a year and a half ago now, almost two years ago, we lost the San Onofre nuclear power plant. George and I were just talking about that before office hours here. That got taken offline because three years ago they redid the plumbing, not the core nuclear part of it, just the plumbing, the heat exchangers. And didn't quite do it right. And after a few months of running, they wore out. They're supposed to last 20 years but they lasted a few months. And so we shut down. And that's about 2,300 megawatts of power, that's a big hunk. That one's about 25% of what we consumed here in San Diego, and in the San Diego area. So we were quite worried about that. How do you take a 25% loss in electricity production, and we were quite fearful of something called brown outs. So a black out is when you have a failure of a power plant, and brown out is when you just turn it down because demand has outstripped supply. And so we were very worried about that last summer. And in fact, we got through the summer just fine. Qe had a couple of days when warnings would go out to people to please use less power if you can, because we're getting close to. Demand is getting close to exceeding our supply and we had one already this summer. But by and large we met that, because over the last ten years, we put in about the same amount, about 3,400 megawatts of solar power in the Southern California. As I said much of that rooftop installations from individuals or from companies. We're putting affordable tax sales on top. But then in addition to that we've also had a pretty good investment in large wind farms. Out, just east of us, it turns into a desert pretty quick here in San Diego. And because of the thermal difference, differential, between the desert and the coast over here, you get very strong winds that blow every afternoon and evening. And so the wind power has also been a good resource. So in California we're on track to hit that renewable energy. It's still a little more expensive, but the price comes down every year, and I mean certainly you get something called economies of scale. Just means as we get bigger with these installations and as more people put them on they get cheaper. We have one central problem which is true for all renewable energies from the sun. And that's sort of the disconnect between when electricity is produced by those and when we, as consumers use it. So obviously for photovoltaic cells, primary production starts about ten in the morning til about two in the afternoon. But that's not primary consumption time. Primary consumption time comes in the evening. You know from about four in the afternoon to about eight o'clock at night, so it's when people are getting home from work. Turning on the TV, cooking, doing laundry, turning on lights, etc., that's when the biggest consumption. So finding short term storage or long term storage for electrical energy is really important, and I think it's one of the big topics. It's one that we will discuss later on in the class. Sort of smart grid, as it's called. How do we use computers and different forms of different algorithms to look at how energy is produced and used? And how we regulate that and so I think that there's some enormous potential for that. And I'll let George make some comments on that. So I think Steve covered a lot of the key points. I would just add that in the longer terms, sort of going to the mid-century and beyond which is kind of the time scale we're looking at here in this class. The climate scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon emissions by a total of 80% below what they were in 1990, or at least in that ballpark. And renewables certainly can play a big role in that. The issue is not is enough resource available? Obviously there's enough solar energy on the Earth, many thousands of times over what the demands are. So the issue was more how do you capture that in an economic way and incorporate that in our energy system. And so energy storage is going to be key to getting up to a very large market infiltration for solar as well as for wind. And energy storage could be anywhere from pump tigo to batteries to compressed air to silver thermal power plants which basically heat up very large masses of molten salts and then at night you can still extract heat out and turn it into electricity. So I think energy storage is going to be a key technology that has to be cost effective. I think also having accurate predictions of how the weather might be varying, from anywhere from a few minutes in the future to maybe a day or two ahead so that one can plan the energy production. That's going to also be a key capability to have highly reliable predictions. Moving power over large distances, distances larger than the scale of a weather pattern. So for example, if it happens to not be sunny in Southern California one day, maybe we have silver plants out in the Arizona desert that can move the power over 500 kilometers or so. So those kinds of technologies will be important. But I also think it's important to note, for example, in the recent IPCC report that just came out a month or go, looking at how do we get to a low carbon energy future. They noted that renewables are played here, but also carbon capture and sequestration would be extremely important if we could build the technology, and also nuclear energy. And they looked at what happens if we take some of those off the table. What's that do to the challenge of getting getting to the carbon-free energy future that we need to get to. And IPCC's conclusion is if you take any of those things off the table, the problem just gets that much harder to solve. In fact, they estimated if you took fission, nuclear fission, and carbon capture sequestration off the table, it would cost about four times more in terms of the investment necessary to get it to a carbon free energy future. So my guess is, yeah, renewables are going to be absolutely key, but so will these other technologies. >> Yeah, I think one of the expressions we often say is there's no silver bullet, but if we're lucky there'll be silver buckshot. And by that, there isn't one solution to this problem, right? Energy efficiency has to kick in. We waste about two or three times the energy that we need to so we need to be much more efficient and then every little bit helps. I notice that a couple questions here have popped up on a electric cars, and I think we'll talk about those later. But one question, [LAUGH] one comment popped up here, and I just have to respond to it because the poor Department of Energy get's kicked around a lot. And I just need to defend them on one of these. It says shame on the EIA for not doing more due diligence. A lot of hype resulted in California from the original estimates for fracking and shaling. You can't blame- >> It wasn't the EIA. >> Yeah, you can't blame the EIA for that one. They have actually come out several times this year and made specific comments, when, in the media, fracking was getting overhyped. What I've seen a lot lately, in fact, there was a report in the Wall Street Journal last week that the price of oil was going to be down to 40 or $45 a barrel within the year. And these are just people's opinion now. Unfortunately in the United States, but this I think is true worldwide now, facts and science don't seem to matter anymore in reporting, in what goes on news, news stations, Right? People mix opinion with made up things and just throw it out there. And then once it's posted on one blog, then other people or other organizations can cite that blog as their source and act as if it's a fact, when it's not. So the EIA, this was their first study. So it wasn't that they came out with a study that said there were large amounts of shale, and then had to go back and redo it. That was a paid for study, paid for by the Petroleum Institute. They hired a guy who was specifically known to give wildly high estimates and they did that on purpose. All right, they hired this guy because they wanted to get a good rosie picture because they wanted the regulations to be pushed back in California and make it easier for them to frack. So the EIA and the Department of Energy [LAUGH] deserve to be beat up for a lot of things. >> [LAUGH] >> But their estimates on shale are not one of them. Okay, so let's see, what else on here? Okay, here's one that popped to the top and I'm going to let George answer this one. There's actually two questions here, but okay. It says, from Thomas K, what are some intersections of big data in energies? Specifically, what kind of analysis can an analyst do using DUE databases or other publicly available databases? And I'm going to pitch that to George because I'm going to say that's an engineering problem, and George is an engineer. >> Well, I'll do my best. I don't know how well I'll answer your question, Travis. And I'm not sure what DUE databases you're referring to. But in my mind I think about what a high market penetration renewable energy system looks like, particularly for electricity with a mix of solar PD, solar thermal, and wind distributed over a very large geographic areas. That system looks very different than the power generation and distribution system that we have gotten used to over the last century. Our old system has a very small number of very big power plants that then distribute that power over to thousands or even millions of load centers. The system that renewably dominated energy system would look like would be a very different architecture. Where you'd probably have tens of thousands, if not even hundreds of thousands, or millions, of very small generation sources intermixed with some larger scale, more traditional power thermal plants. Either gas turbines or nuclear or maybe Steam based cycles. And furthermore, the power generation from those distributed sources is varying in time. And so that's the power generation cycle picture. Then on the demand side, instead of having sort of dumb loads, you could imagine that the electricity demand could now being modulated in time in an intelligent way. So, the system that you're moving towards, this so called Smart Grid is an extraordinarily distributed, complicated and temporally dynamic system. And so I would think that the role for very fast system state measurement decision making and control of such a system, would need service generate enormous amounts of data, that has to be used to make intelligent decisions in how to manage the system in a stable way. So my guess is that learning how to to design, build, architect, and operate such a system is going to be a place where big data science will play an important role. That would be my estimate. >> Yeah no, I think that's right. As I said I'm not an engineer and I'm actually not a big data guy. I think you noticed this, but, >> This is for all the data, [INAUDIBLE]. [LAUGH] >> There is and we're working our way to that. But it's still a little too complex for us. But I think that's right, I think George's point is spot on, which is in the past, everything has been centralized, where electricity was generated from one very large power plant and then just sort of put out there, and people could tap into that as they needed. And that's actually a very wasteful way to do it, right? You're much better that at every individual node, you can be making decisions about, should I pull the electricity off now, is this the best use of it, etc. And I see one of the other question that popped up was about in here I'll just click on this because this sort of segues into that and the question is, what role will electric vehicles play for grid electricity storage once there is sufficient critical mass? And the reason that plays into that is because one of the interesting things we have in California now and this is true in general in the United States, if you buy an electric car, you'll get about a $7000 rebate from the Feds off your taxes and from the state of California, about $2500. So you get enormous incentives to get that electric car. But that's only part of the incentive you get. One of the other incentives you get is that, if you agree here with our power companies, and you plug your car in and allow them to pull electricity off that when they need it, that doesn't mean you have to have your car plugged in all the time. Obviously sometimes you're going to be driving it. But you simply sign an agreement with them that says, hey, when my car is plugged in, you can use the battery in it as short-term storage for your grid. And if you agree to do that then you actually get the cheapest rate of electricity to charge your car any time of day you want it. So traditionally, electricity is much cheaper at night between sort of midnight and 5:00 AM because there are very little demand for it. So, when the demand is very low, electricity is sold cheap, so you plug your car in and you can program it. Hey only charge mine between, you know, midnight and 5 AM so I get the cheapest rate. I get the, essentially the cheapest energy into on my car to charge it. But if you sign an agreement here with the San Diego Gas and Electric and say, hey you can use my battery anytime you want, then no matter what time of day that car is plugged in, you get that cheapest rate and so I think Nicole's question is exactly right. Which is when we get enough of those cars plugged in, they will actually start to act as an energy buffer, which will allow both photovoltaic and wind to be utilized much more efficiently, because now we have an energy storage which the utilities are not paying for, but they get access to. I mean, they sort of pay for it indirectly because they give you cheaper electricity, but it could be an enormous advantage. But all of that only works if you have a way to manage every single one of those individual cars. So that becomes an enormous data set that you have to take care of. So it becomes a computational problem. >> You can, it's simple estimate, if you had, let's say something around 100,000 electric cars, 10 to the 5 electric cars, and if typical battery size is, some are 20 kilowatt hours, to maybe 80 kilowatt hours depending upon whether you've got a Leaf or a Tesla. And if you were to say okay, SDG&E, you can take 10 kilowatt hours out of my battery. Then that's the equivalent of a gigawatt hour of energy that could be available from that fleet of vehicles that where distributed over say a large urban area. That's the equivalent of the power output of a large power plant like a reactor or coal powered power plant for one hour. Now that's not enough to run a city all day long but it certainly would be enough to shave the peaks and fill in the troughs, during time variation of [INAUDIBLE] energy. So yeah it's a significant potential but again now you got to figure out how do you talk to those cars, how do you make decisions, and what kind of technologies are necessary to do that? So that's another area for data management decision making. >> Yeah. >> To have a key role. >> One of the other questions I saw on the discussion board, while we're on this topic is, is an electric car less greenhouse gas emission than a Prius? So that's a very interesting question, and there's quite a bit of debate on that. So the economists here at UC San Diego did an analysis this year. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Yeah, so the analysis this year is that if you buy a car in San Diego, an Electric car, you will put out more CO2 than if you buy a Prius. If you buy just the very fuel efficient hybrid. The reason for that is because here in Southern California we still buy a fair amount, so we get some of our electricity from natural gas, but we still buy a fair amount from out-of-state. And any time we buy electricity from Arizona, that is produced by coal and that puts out a fair amount of CO2. So today an electric car in San Diego will put out more CO2 than a Prius per mile driven but that is only true today. Within the next year or so, as we wean ourselves, and part of the reason we buy electricity from Arizona is because we shut down the nuclear power plant. And it's complex, but, in the next year that is expected to balance a little bit in the favor of electric cars. And certainly over the lifetime of that car which will be 20 years. Absolutely every estimate is that much less green house gas emission from an electric car than from a traditional gasoline engine. Now, it's hard to know how the efficiency of hybrids are going to go. They're pretty good right now. They're 50 miles per gallon. But there are some experimental ones that are up to around 90 miles per gallon. So some of these things can be enormous and we make technical breakthroughs all the time. And we don't have yet, a majority of our electricity produced from renewables, 15, 16% now in California on its way to 30. When we get to 30, that'll be pretty good. And so, I think any time after 2020 it'll kind of be a no-brainer to buy an electric car. But I think even now, I'm planning to buy one this year. It's time for me to get a new car, so I'm definitely going to get electric one. And I think the reason for that is kind of twofold. One, I want to give an incentive to the companies to continue to produce these things because it would go to scale. They'll get more efficient, as more people get electric cars and we put more of them on the gird. There'll be more pressure to get renewables onto that grid. So, I think good things come about doing that and getting us away from fossil fuel, even if today, you can't sleep that much better at night with an electric car than you can with a Prius, okay? Okay, I also signed in. [LAUGH] Question, came in here that I wanted to give George a chance to answer because we had just talked about this- >> [LAUGH] >> A minute ago on that. San Onofre Planet says, do you think something technical could've been done to fix the problem at San Onofre or was the shutdown [LAUGH] A political decision? George? >> [LAUGH] Well, the problem at San Onofre for to addressed the question was this defined what we're talking about. The primary heat exchanger in the San Onofre Power Plant was being replaced because the existing one had reached the end of its life, and they wanted to try to get a 20-year extensional license of the [INAUDIBLE] plan, that's my understanding. They've spent enormous amount of money replacing this heat exchanger. And it was essentially a Bosch engineering job, probably get in trouble by Mitsubishi. >> Yeah. >> But anyway, and so ,the heat exchanger that was installed failed after just a few months of operation. And it failed. By failed, what I mean is that way to react water from the core of the reactor was allowed to begin to mix or leak out into the secondary huge cylinder loop that goes to the turbines which makes the electricity, which is not supposed to happen. And so, the power plant was shut down and everybody trying to figure out a fix. It was proposed, it was determined after some engineering analysis that if the power plant was run at reduced capacity so only less than about 70% of it's maximum operational capacity, then the technical problem that was occurring would go away. But it was decided that they would not pursue that or auction. And so, the decision was made by the owners to shut down the power plant. My guess is that that decision was probably made primarily on economic concerns. They look at the cost that would, what the cost to repair the problem. How long it would take and what the total cost of that would be, and they said they determined that was not economically viable. I'm sure that the politics of it and the opposition from some in the community to restarting the reactor had played a role in the decision because after all, that plays into how long does it take to get to the process and that has an effect on economic cross. So, my guess is probably a mixture of both economics and politics. It's a, in my amuse, a very, just atrocious engineering that led to this outcome. But now, we have to find a way to move forward without that verge of essential power source. So, we are. >> Okay, well, look, we're reached the end of our time for today. I want to thank everybody for participating. The discussion boards, I think, have been fantastic on the class. I want to give it a shout out to Peter Pomeran. Peter, good post. Keep up the good work. Some good comments in there. Some nice discussion going. Look, there are some controversial, energy is 70% of our economy. It's 70% of dollars in the world. It is food, it's everything. There are going to be some controversial topics. We want to keep the discussion going. We know these things are controversial. We're not going to shy away from them. They are going to impact my life, your life, and everybody else's. So, please keep up the good work. And please keep sending in comments. And I will see you all next Thursday. Thanks very much.