Special Issue "Challenges in Alternative Energy"

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A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 August 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Daniel M. Kammen

Energy and Resources Group (ERG), 310 Barrows Hall, University of California Berkeley, CA 94720-3050, USA
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +1 510 642 1085
Interests: renewable energy; innovation; energy policy climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Alternate, or renewable energy science, engineering, deployment and policy are both dramatically changing globally, and in many regions scaling up significantly. At the same time, equally dramatic changes in other energy sectors -- including conventional and unconventional natural gas, the coal sector, nuclear energy -- are resetting the baseline energy cost and supply landscape. Questions of distributed versus centralized energy systems, evolving requirements for low-carbon energy, and the interactions of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and fossil energy systems, as well as the future of transmission and distribution, energy storage all impact the costs, benefits, and opportunities for alternate energy in the coming years and decades. Further, changes in hydropower availability due to other demands for water and due to climate change all impact the environment for alternate energy deployment. This special issue will provide a forum for the exploration of all of these issues, as well as the emerging systems science of the integration of both alternative, nuclear, and fossil-fuel energy systems.

Prof. Dr. Daniel M. Kammen
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Challenges is an international peer-reviewed Open Access biannual journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • alternate and renewable energy
  • energy science
  • innovation
  • climate change

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Benefits and Challenges Associated with the Development of Forest-Based Bioenergy Projects in India: Results from an Expert Survey
Challenges 2014, 5(1), 100-111; doi:10.3390/challe5010100
Received: 25 July 2013 / Revised: 14 February 2014 / Accepted: 17 February 2014 / Published: 7 March 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Development of energy systems, based on forest biomass, is a challenging issue in India. The study investigated perceptions of fifty-five Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers in relation to the potential benefits and challenges associated with the development of forest-based bioenergy (FBE) projects in
[...] Read more.
Development of energy systems, based on forest biomass, is a challenging issue in India. The study investigated perceptions of fifty-five Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers in relation to the potential benefits and challenges associated with the development of forest-based bioenergy (FBE) projects in India when they participated in two training programs in Finland during 2010. They generally agreed that development of FBE projects could have beneficial impacts on job creation, income generation, rural development, and restoring ecological degradation. They perceived lack of public acceptance and political support, impacts on biodiversity, and lack of technologies and infrastructure as the considerable challenges to the development of FBE projects in India. The study could provide some policy directions towards developing the FBE sector in India. It recommends conducting further studies to include a larger group of experts and other stakeholders to investigate the broader societal perceptions of FBE projects in India. In addition, the study also recommends building the capacity of the IFS officers so that they can play a key role from the government side for developing the FBE sector in the country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Alternative Energy)
Open AccessArticle How China’s Options Will Determine Global Warming
Challenges 2014, 5(1), 1-25; doi:10.3390/challe5010001
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5045 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Carbon dioxide emissions, global average temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and surface ocean mixed layer acidity are extrapolated using analyses calibrated against extensive time series data for nine global regions. Extrapolation of historical trends without policy-driven limitations has China responsible for about half of
[...] Read more.
Carbon dioxide emissions, global average temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and surface ocean mixed layer acidity are extrapolated using analyses calibrated against extensive time series data for nine global regions. Extrapolation of historical trends without policy-driven limitations has China responsible for about half of global CO2 emissions by the middle of the twenty-first century. Results are presented for three possible actions taken by China to limit global average temperature increase to levels it considers to be to its advantage: (1) Help develop low-carbon energy technology broadly competitive with unbridled carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels; (2) Entice other countries to join in limiting use of what would otherwise be economically competitive fossil fuels; (3) Apply geo-engineering techniques such as stratospheric sulfur injection to limit global average temperature increase, without a major global reduction in carbon emissions. Taking into account China’s expected influence and approach to limiting the impact of anthropogenic climate change allows for a narrower range of possible outcomes than for a set of scenarios that are not constrained by analysis of likely policy-driven limitations. While China could hold back on implementing geoengineering given a remarkable amount of international cooperation on limiting fossil carbon burning, an outcome where geoengineering is used to delay the perceived need to limit the atmospheric CO2 concentration may be difficult to avoid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Alternative Energy)
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Open AccessArticle A Smarter Grid for Renewable Energy: Different States of Action
Challenges 2013, 4(2), 217-233; doi:10.3390/challe4020217
Received: 2 August 2013 / Revised: 28 October 2013 / Accepted: 31 October 2013 / Published: 15 November 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Smart grid has strong potential to advance and encourage renewable energy deployment, but given the multiple motivations for smart grid, renewables are not always central in smart grid policy discussions. The term “smart grid” represents a set of technologies, including advanced meters, sensors
[...] Read more.
Smart grid has strong potential to advance and encourage renewable energy deployment, but given the multiple motivations for smart grid, renewables are not always central in smart grid policy discussions. The term “smart grid” represents a set of technologies, including advanced meters, sensors and energy storage that are crucial for the integration of more renewable and low carbon electricity into the electric power grid. However, developing and building a smart grid is jurisdictionally complex, path dependent and context specific; states and regions are approaching grid modernization in different ways. This paper reports on a comparative analysis of smart grid development in seven U.S. states. We use state-level policy documents to learn what motivates smart grid development and how smart grid is framed in relation to renewable energy. In some states, renewable technologies are presented as an integral part of the smart grid policy discussion, while in others they are largely absent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Alternative Energy)
Open AccessArticle Getting Smart? Climate Change and the Electric Grid
Challenges 2013, 4(2), 201-216; doi:10.3390/challe4020201
Received: 7 July 2013 / Revised: 23 August 2013 / Accepted: 23 August 2013 / Published: 5 September 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (311 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Interest in the potential of smart grid to transform the way societies generate, distribute, and use electricity has increased dramatically over the past decade. A smarter grid could contribute to both climate change mitigation and adaptation by increasing low-carbon electricity production and enhancing
[...] Read more.
Interest in the potential of smart grid to transform the way societies generate, distribute, and use electricity has increased dramatically over the past decade. A smarter grid could contribute to both climate change mitigation and adaptation by increasing low-carbon electricity production and enhancing system reliability and resilience. However, climate goals are not necessarily essential for smart grid. Climate change is only one of many considerations motivating innovation in electricity systems, and depending on the path of grid modernization, a future smart grid might do little to reduce, or could even exacerbate, risks associated with climate change. This paper identifies tensions within a shared smart grid vision and illustrates how competing societal priorities are influencing electricity system innovation. Co-existing but divergent priorities among key actors’ are mapped across two critical dimensions: centralized versus decentralized energy systems and radical versus incremental change. Understanding these tensions provides insights on how climate change objectives can be integrated to shape smart grid development. Electricity system change is context-specific and path-dependent, so specific strategies linking smart grid and climate change need to be developed at local, regional, and national levels. And while incremental improvements may bring short term gains, a radical transformation is needed to realize climate objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Alternative Energy)
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Open AccessArticle Bridging the Fields of Solar Cell and Battery Research to Develop High-Performance Anodes for Photoelectrochemical Cells and Metal Ion Batteries
Challenges 2013, 4(1), 116-135; doi:10.3390/challe4010116
Received: 27 March 2013 / Revised: 5 June 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (753 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Solar-to-electricity energy conversion and large scale electricity storage technologies are key to achieve a sustainable development of society. For energy conversion, photoelectrochemical solar cells were proposed as an economic alternative to the conventional Si-based technology. For energy storage, metal-ion batteries are a very
[...] Read more.
Solar-to-electricity energy conversion and large scale electricity storage technologies are key to achieve a sustainable development of society. For energy conversion, photoelectrochemical solar cells were proposed as an economic alternative to the conventional Si-based technology. For energy storage, metal-ion batteries are a very promising technology. Titania (TiO2) based anodes are widely used in photoelectrochemical cells and have recently emerged as safe, high-rate anodes for metal-ion batteries. In both applications, titania interacts with electrolyte species: molecules and metal ions. Details of this interaction determine the performance of the electrode in both technologies, but no unified theoretical description exists, e.g., there is no systematic description of the effects of Li, Na insertion into TiO2 on solar cell performance (while it is widely studied in battery research) and no description of effects of surface adsorbents on the performance of battery anodes (while they are widely studied in solar cell research). In fact, there is no systematic description of interactions of electrolyte species with TiO2 of different phases and morphologies. We propose a computation-focused study that will bridge the two fields that have heretofore largely been developing in parallel and will identify improved anode materials for both photoelectrochemical solar cells and metal-ion batteries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Alternative Energy)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Biomass Incineration: Dirty, Expensive, and Not Sustainable
Author: Kristin Shrader-Frechette 1,2
Affiliation: 1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, 100 Galvin Life Sciences Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA; E-Mail: Kristin.Shrader-Frechette.1@nd.edu
2. Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, 100 Malloy Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
Abstract: Those who claim biomass incineration is a clean, inexpensive, or sustainable energy technology are wrong, at least in the case of biofuels like Miscanthus. This paper argues for 5 main claims. (1) Burning biofuel crops like Miscanthus is far more hazardous to health than burning coal because of ultrafine-particulate pollution. (2) It is uneconomical partly because it is much cheaper for farmers to grow crops like soybeans. Also, (3) given climate-change-induced drought conditions, such crops often require irrigation, making biomass even less cost-effective. (4) Given the preceding problems, current biomass subsidies for crops like Miscanthus is neither economical nor ethical. (5) Wind and solar-photovoltaic are preferable to biomass energy both because they are cheaper and because they require no incineration and its dirty by-products.

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