Materials: A Key Enabling Technology for Secure Energy and Sustainable Development
We are a world in transition from fossil fuel dependence toward renewable resources. But there is not yet a way to store power from wind or solar sources; the world will still need hydrocarbon-based fuels for the two billion cars expected by 2050; industry will still need hydrocarbons as a feedstock for manufacture. We urge decision makers, funding agencies, and research institutions to evaluate and aggressively pursue new research and development opportunities focused on finding practical solutions to the challenges of our energy and environmental future. One such path in particular deserves greater near-term emphasis. That is research into carbon dioxide as a power storage medium, a raw material for synthetic fuel, and a resource that could be turned into new products. Reuse of carbon dioxide addresses all three goals. As a step toward increased energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, captured, sequestered, and reutilized carbon dioxide could accelerate a transition to sustainability. Only a long-term international collaboration, supported by developed countries with strong R&D infrastructures and with the cooperation of developing nations worldwide, will be sufficient to address and implement the technologies underlying such a paradigm shift in our environmentally sensitive energy landscape.
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