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Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability

Department of Physics

Symposium on the Fundamental Physical Limits of Energy Efficiency

The Inaugural Winton Symposium was held on October 1, 2012 at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. This one-day meeting on "Energy Efficiency" brought together some of the leading scientists from around the world to explore the fundamental limits set by science and engineering to the efficiency with which we can generate, store and use energy. This was the first of an annual series of topical meetings as part of the Winton Programme.

To set the scene for the symposium, Malcolm Keay from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies talked on the connection between energy efficiency and demand.

Link to presentation

Malcolm Keay – Energy Efficiency and Sustainability.  What’s the Connection?

Man versus Machine

Energy consumption for computing is growing rapidly, Professor Eli Yablonovitch, Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science at University of California Berkeley and Professor Stuart Parkin from IBM's Almaden Research Center explored the trends and efficiency limits for computation and data storage respectively. Professor Simon Laughlin Professor of Neurobiology at the department of Zoology in Cambridge explained why the brain in contrast is so efficient at computation.

Link to presentation

Eli Yablonovitch – Searching for the Milli-Volt Switch

Energy Generation from the Sun

The sun is our primary source of energy, Professor Jenny Nelson from Imperial College explained the limits for solar cell technologies and Professor Richard Cogdell, Director of the Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre explored what we can learn from light harvesting in nature.

Links to presenatations

Jenny Nelson - Solar Cells

Richard Cogdell - Learning from Purple Bacteria how to Harvest Solar Energy

Energy Usage

Energy usage was discussed in the context of two major consumers of power, transportation and lighting. Dr Donald Hillebrand, Director of the Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory covered conventional and electric vehicle technologies and their relative efficiencies. Professor James Speck from University of California Santa Barbara reviewed advances and fundamental efficiency limits for solid-state lighting.

Links to presentations

Donald Hillebrand – Advanced Vehicle Technologies: Outlook for Electrics, Internal Combustion, and Alternative Fuels

James Speck – Advanced Nitride Materials for Ultimate Efficiency Solid State Lighting

The symposium was organised by Professor Sir Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics and Director of the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability and Dr Nalin Patel the Winton Programme Manager.

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