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Energy Transitions: Slow Transformations and Difficult Substitutions

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact David Leal-Ayala.

The first half would be about the inertial nature of transitions in general, in the second part I would concentrate on the two big processes that (unappreciated and forgotten) underpin our civilization: primary iron production and Haber-Bosch synthesis of ammonia that makes it possible to feed some 3 billion people.

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba and the author of many books, including Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems; Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties; The Earth’s Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change; and Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization, all of which are published by The MIT Press. He was awarded the 2007 Olivia Schieffelin Nordberg Award for excellence in writing and editing in the population sciences.

His interdisciplinary research encompasses a broad area of environmental, energy, food, population, economic and public policy studies, ranging from quantifications and modeling of global biogeochemical cycles to long-range appraisals of energy and environmental options. He has been also applying these approaches to energy, food and environmental affairs of China.

This talk is part of the ELCF - Engineering for a Low Carbon Future (seminar series) series.

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