A major societal challenge is to generate electricity with minimal environmental impact. One way to do this is by using the power of the sun. ASU is working to provide efficient, low-cost, and scalable solar electric systems.
Photosynthetic microorganisms are outstanding candidates for producing biofuels because they are more efficient at capturing sunlight energy than terrestrial plants, can achieve very high concentrations of oily components within their cells, and can operate without large consumptions of water and nutrients.
Many people see energy as a technical challenge, but it is not–it is a social, policy, and business opportunity with significant technical dimensions. ASU already envisions energy in these larger terms. We are defining ourselves as a global leader in this critical field.
U.S. educational institutions have helped our country be a world leader for well over 100 years. Yet, now, as ASU President Michael Crow has consistently argued in his vision for ASU as a New American University, our educational institutions must change if the U.S. is to meet the energy challenges of the 21st century.
Energy policy outcomes develop explicit links between advanced technologies; conservation and sustainable buildings; and underlying economic, social, and cultural behavior. ASU is using system dynamics and agent-based approaches to develop both micro- and macro-scale energy outcome models.