Supplies of fossil fuels are running out and their combustion is responsible for global climate change. A transition where fossil fuels are replaced by sustainable resources is thus urgently required. In his Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Marc Fontecave from the Collège de France, Paris, asks how this transition can be quickly achieved.
He presents both political and scientific obstacles. For example, social and economic differences between countries make it difficult to find a global solution, and the capabilities of current technology are often overestimated. Fontcave also points out that the energy transition will take longer than expected and that a large research effort is required, as well as that the right political decisions need to be made.
Chemistry has a central role in systems and materials for sustainable energy, in particular in photovoltaic cells and water-splitting devices that store energy in the form of hydrogen. According to Fontecave, the development of new technology for the energy transformation can be brought to fruition by multidisciplinary collaboration in dedicated institutes.
- Sustainable Chemistry for Energizing the Planet,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015.