Edgerton LectureGAMBIER, Ohio (January 29, 2007) Nathan S. Lewis, a professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and leading researcher on energy issues, comes to Kenyon to speak on renewable energy technologies. He will discuss "Scientific Challenges in Sustainable Energy Technology" on Thursday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m., in Higley Hall Auditorium. Lewis is the second speaker in the inaugural season of the Edgerton Lectureship on Energy and the Environment. The event is free and open to the public.
Lewis will address the many challenges-technical, political, and economic-involved in implementing major changes in energy usage and technologies. Assessing available fossil fuel resources as well as projected global power-production rates, he will estimate the remaining years of supply of oil, gas, and coal for use in primary power production. He will compare these traditional energy sources, in terms of price per unit, to renewable-energy technologies such as wind, solar thermal, solar electric, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal.
Lewis will also examine the continuing buildup of greenhouse gases, and how that buildup will affect the demand for carbon-free power sources. Among the questions he will address are: How long will it take to develop sustainable, cost-effective alternative energy sources and to create the necessary energy-supply infrastructure? How much carbon-free power will the world's economies need in the next fifty years? How might that power be delivered? How will these changes affect consumers?
The recipient of many awards for research and teaching, Lewis is the George L. Argyros Professor at Caltech, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1988. He has served as chair of the U.S. Department of Energy's Workshop on Solar Energy Utilization. Caltech recently announced a five-year research partnership with BP, the global energy company, to improve the efficiency of solar cells through the use of silicon nanorods. "Nanotechnology can offer new and unique ways to make solar-cell materials that are cheaper, yet could perform nearly as well as conventional materials," explained Lewis, who will lead the research along with a physics colleague.
The Edgerton lecture series was created through an endowment from the Edgerton Foundation. Based in Beverly Hills, California, the foundation contributes to a select group of organizations in keeping with the longstanding interest of its officers, past Kenyon parents Bradford and Louise Edgerton, in reassessing the world's dependence on fossil fuels and finding sustainable sources of energy.