When 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Apr 08, 2022
Where 1013 HH Dow
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Robert D. Pehlke Lectureship in Materials Processing: "Towards profitable sustainability via Liquid-Metal Molten-Salt Electrochemistry"

Donald R. Sadoway

A sustainable future is axiomatically a carbon-free electric future. Emerging technologies that will usher in this new economy necessarily include electrochemical innovations in energy storage and in steelmaking. Electricity storage is critical to widespread deployment of carbon-free but intermittent renewables, solar and wind, while offering huge benefits to today’s grid: improving security and reducing price volatility. Invented at MIT, the liquid metal battery provides colossal power capability on demand and long service lifetime at very low cost. In 2019 worldwide steel production generated 10% of total CO2 emissions. Invented at MIT, molten oxide electrolysis represents an environmentally sound alternative to today’s carbon-intensive thermochemical process. Instead of CO2 as the by-product of steel, molten oxide electrolysis makes tonnage oxygen while offering better metal at lower cost without many of the negative environmental impacts of current technology. In the narratives of both of these emerging technologies, liquid metal battery and molten oxide electrolysis, there are lessons more broadly applicable to innovation: how to pose the right question, how to engage young minds (not experts), establishing a creative culture, and inventing inventors in parallel with inventing technology.