Task Force Forms for Solar Energy in Europe

Participants at an international meeting in Regensburg, Germany, sponsored by the European Science Foundation (ESF), recently identified a sustainable long-term solution for global energy needs. The most promising route, they found, is by eventual full-scale commercial solar energy conversion directly into fuels.

Thus an interdisciplinary task force composed of leading scientists will propose to the European Union — and its member states and national government decision makers– a multi-million Euro commitment to solar-driven production of environmentally clean electricity, hydrogen and other fuels. Total annual global energy consumption is set to at least double from its current level of 14 terawatts (TW) by 2050, while fossil fuels will start to run out, the release states. The use of fossil fuels also produces unacceptable levels of carbon dioxide, causing global warming and adversely affecting food production. Apart from solar energy, participants found, the shortfall can only be made up by renewable sources such as wind. Solar energy is plentiful but he problem lies in harnessing it. Nature has perfected, in photosynthesis, a highly efficient and flexible means of doing this across a wide variety of scales, from isolated bacterial colonies to large forests, the release states. The European research program will seek to develop systems for converting solar energy directly into such chemicals with greater efficiency, offering the prospect of producing unlimited energy as well as fixing atmospheric carbon dioxide to bring concentrations back down to pre-industrial levels as part of the overall thrust for clean renewable energy.
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