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Bigger Picture Talk with Dr Saied Dardour

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Our departmental seminar series, Bigger Picture Talks, runs throughout the academic year, inviting thought-leaders from across the world driving significant advances in our impact areas of energy, health and sustainability to share and discuss their work with us. For this Bigger Picture Talk we are joined by Dr Saied Dardour, energy economist at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Abstract According to the United Nations, more than 70 countries have set a ‘net zero’ target, covering more than 75% of global emissions. For all these countries, the transition to a low-carbon economy is a major challenge that requires nothing less than a complete transformation of the energy sector, which is responsible for about three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. This transformation involves replacing polluting coal, oil and gas-fired electricity-generating plants with low-carbon alternatives such as wind, solar and nuclear power. It also entails transitioning high-emitting and hard-to-abate sectors to ‘net zero’, decarbonising energy-intensive industries such as steel, cement, petrochemicals and fertilisers — they represent about a fifth of global CO2 emissions — through increased electrification and use of hydrogen and other energy carriers (ammonia and synthetic liquid fuels, for instance). To meet the ‘net zero’ target, electricity networks are expected to evolve towards a system with high shares of variable renewables, extensive use of storage and flexibility means (thermal storage systems, batteries, Power-to-X-to-Power, Demand-Side Management, and others), and increasingly strong coupling between the various components of an energy system. These developments pose new challenges to policymakers, who need to consider the multiple implications of their choices, not only on energy systems and their ability to deliver electricity reliably and cost-effectively but also the associated social-economic and environmental impacts. This interactive lecture is designed to provide insights into what it takes to decarbonise electricity grids while introducing the audience to approaches and conceptual frameworks informing decision-making in the power sector such as, energy systems modelling, life-cycle assessment (LCA) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). During this event, participants§ will be challenged to set a fictitious country’s electricity-generating mix (choosing between nuclear, coal, gas, solar, wind, and batteries) and visualise the impacts of their decisions on the reliability of electricity supply (frequency of power interruptions), power generation economics (as captured by the system LCOE metric), greenhouse gas emissions, land occupation, water consumption and critical material use.

§ Up to 20 seats will be available to attendees on a first come first served basis.

Bio Dr Saied Dardour is an energy economist, currently working for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with extensive experience in energy systems and their economics. Before joining the IAEA , he spent almost a decade in the French Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) leading and contributing to the design and development of innovative concepts of nuclear power reactors.

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This talk is part of the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Departmental Seminars series.

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