President of Washington University in St. Louis Visited NTU and
Delivered a Speech on Energy Issues
Dr. Mark S. Wrighton, President of Washington University in St. Louis, was invited to visit NTU where he gave a speech on "America’s Energy Future: The Options before Us" on September 10th in the Lecture Hall of the Chemistry Building. Dr. Wrighton was noted for his outstanding contributions to opto-chemistry and surface chemistry. He had been involved with energy policy making for a long time, as he was the Vice Chairman of the committee on "the future of American energy" of the American Academy of Sciences. According to reports published by the committee, 85% of America’s energy comes from fossil fuels, and the carbon dioxide emission of which accounts for one fourth of the global total. The report also noted that, improving energy efficiency is the most feasible energy strategy for the United States for the next ten years, particularly in terms of buildings, as buildings consume 40% of U.S. energy and 73% of its electricity. As for power sources, about 50% of electricity is generated from conventional coal-fired power plants, and 19% from nuclear power plants. In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the next decade, the United States will have to build five more nuclear power plants, while installing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) equipments on all coal-fired power plants before 2035. With regard to renewable energy, hydropower currently accounts for only 6% of the energy of the United States, but, taking into consideration its environmental impact, the room for future expansion is limited. As for non-hydro renewable energy, currently it only
accounts for 2.5%, but has the potential to reach 20% by 2035. In addition, energy derived from the combination of liquid biofuels and liquid coal fuel will provide the required 20% of transportation fuel in the next 20 to 30 years. Moreover, the U.S. expects to complete the deployment of modern networks which will improve the efficiency of power transmission within
the next twenty years. In his speech, President Wrighton provided insightful discourse on energy issues in the U.S. for participants to discuss.
Over the long haul, the United States has the highest per capita energy consumption in the world. The spread of new energy resources still faces various obstacles, including techniques, cost , efficiency and environmental impact issues. Energy issues will inevitably impact national
security, economic development and environmental quality. While the global trend of reducing carbon emission is surging, energy shortage is what mankind must face in the near future. The development of American energy policy is not only the focus of the world, but has high reference value for Taiwan as well.