Can engineering solutions really provide a sustainable future?

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    Abstract

    Sustainability is a word which is very often (mis)used in various public debates. In engineering, however, it is perhaps easier to define the term, then in other academic fields. We advocate the principle that only those activities, which can be sustained for at least a few centuries using known technology and resources, should be called sustainable. Using this definition of sustainability one particularly big challenge field is energy supply, but the importance of the issue - “The energy problem” - is clear.
    To illustrate one central aspect of the energy problem we introduce the “1 TW benchmark”. On this backdrop we proceed to discuss the practical availability of chemical elements for energy technologies and the implications this has for industrial scalability. The issue will be exemplified by how some, otherwise promising, emerging technologies are limited in ultimate scale by scarcity of key elements. 1 Finally, we discuss a few specific recent research highlights from DTU-Physics within the field of energy harvesting and conversion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAbstract Book - DTU Sustain Conference 2014
    Number of pages1
    Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
    PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
    Publication date2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventDTU Sustain Conference 2014 - Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
    Duration: 17 Dec 201417 Dec 2014
    http://www.sustain.dtu.dk/

    Conference

    ConferenceDTU Sustain Conference 2014
    LocationTechnical University of Denmark
    CountryDenmark
    CityLyngby
    Period17/12/201417/12/2014
    Internet address

    Cite this

    Boisen, A. (2014). Can engineering solutions really provide a sustainable future? In Abstract Book - DTU Sustain Conference 2014 Technical University of Denmark.