The Global Energy Challenge: Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry

Thursday, September 28, 2023
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Allendale Campus
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students

Daniel G. Nocera

Daniel G. Nocera, Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University, will discuss living healthily on a dying planet. Relying on science to improve the health of the individual with the design of new drugs and therapies, we are neglectful of the health of our humanity at a global level. Disease indeed does compromise humankind’s very existence—but it is not disease inflicted on humans—rather it is the disease inflicted by humans on our planet and the response of her immunological system on us. In addressing the global energy challenge, research discovery confronts two worlds: a world with a large energy infrastructure already in place (the legacy world) and a world with little to no energy infrastructure (the nonlegacy world). Consequently, in addressing the energy challenge, research must be cognizant of these two different energy worlds as they give rise to different targets. In the legacy world, the fastest path to implementing renewable energy is to integrate discovery with the established infrastructure. This talk will touch on the creation of the coordination chemistry flow battery, which allows for massive grid storage, and the path from bench to commercialization will be presented. On the other end of the spectrum is the non-legacy world. As will be shown, it is the non-legacy world that will drive future global energy need. Thus, this is the most important target for renewable energy to mitigate global carbon emissions. Two inventions will be presented: the Artificial Leaf and the Bionic Leaf, which produce food and fuel in a distributed and sustainable way using only sunlight, air and water. These discoveries are particularly useful to the poor of the world, where large infrastructures are not tenable.

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Location Information

Grand River Room, Kirkhof Center

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Contact Information

[email protected]


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This event was added to the calendar by Kristen Krueger-Corrado ( on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 10:33 a.m.