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Invited Talk (Posner Lecture)
Mon Dec 04 05:30 PM -- 06:20 PM (PST) @ Hall A
Powering the next 100 years
John Platt
[ Video

My goal is to let everyone on Earth be able to use the same amount of energy per year as the average U.S. citizen does today. To reach this goal by 2100 will require 0.2 Yottajoules: 0.2 x 10^24 Joules of energy, which is an astounding amount of energy.

How can human civilization obtain this much energy without flooding the atmosphere with carbon dioxide? To answer this question, I'll first dive into the economics of electricity, in order to understand the limits of current zero-carbon technologies. These limits cause us to investigate zero-carbon technologies that are still being developed, such as fusion energy. For fusion, I'll show why it's been a tough problem for almost 70 years, and why there may be a solution in the near future. I'll also explain how we've been using machine learning and optimization to accelerate fusion research.