Featuring speakers Christopher Chidsey, Associate Professor of Chemistry & of Chemical Engineering, Stanford and Cyrus Wadia, Faculty & Co-Director, Clean Tech to Market, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.
Wonderfest, the Bay Area Festival of Science, is held each year in the beginning of November. Enjoy fascinating discussions between world-class scientists on cutting edge topics, as well as other fun exhibitions. Visit Wonderfest.org and join.
Christopher E. D. Chidsey (b. 1957) is Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University. He earned his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1978, and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1983.
He has been named Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina, 1983-84; Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1993; and 2007 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Cyrus Wadia holds a dual appointment as: Co-Director of Clean Tech to Market at the Haas School of Business and Guest Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL). He has spent the last six years at U.C. Berkeley and LBNL in pursuit of new low cost photovoltaic technology using earth abundant metal sulfides. Leveraging his knowledge in both the natural and social sciences, Wadia's research covers both exhaustible resource economics and the aqueous chemistry of nanoparticles. His work has resulted in two provisional patents and four peer reviewed journal articles. Wadia was recently honored for this groundbreaking work in renewable energy as a recipient of the MIT Technology Review Young Innovator award.
Prior to his doctoral studies, Wadia spent over 7 years in Silicon Valley launching new technology to market. First as an engagement manager with R.B. Webber & Co where he worked with over 15 different venture backed startups; and next as a Senior Product Manager with AvantGo, where he completed several successful new product introductions. More recently, Wadia founded a boutique Internet services startup specializing in complex data analysis for which he now serves as Chairman of the Board.
Wadia earned his PhD in Energy & Resources from U.C. Berkeley and holds both an M.S. and S.B. in Chemical Engineering from MIT.
Why would Moore's Law apply? In order to apply, the pre-requisites of Moore's Law would have to apply. And they clearly don't. So what's the pre-requisite of Moore's Law? It's the requirement that the efficiency of the initial implementation of a solution to a problem is many, many orders of magnitudes away from the physical limits of the best possible such implementation. In case of computing, that ratio between the efficiency of the first and the ultimate implementations is some 30 orders of magnitude!
In case of solar energy, we are talking about a factor (not orders of magnitude!) of 20... between 5% efficiency and roughly 95% thermodynamic efficiency.
Clearly, these guys do not understand what Moore's Law really is. The charts they show are drawn on linear scales... not logarithmic ones.
One can say a lot of things about the scaling of solar technology (and they do), but to chose Moore's Law for the starting point of their talk clearly is a poor, poor choice.
You can, by the way, learn the cost limit for solar energy simply by asking your friendly local solar installer. He will tell you that, even if the solar panels were free and hundred percent efficient, you would still have to pay for the guy crawling around on your roof, installing those freebies! Let's make that $1000 for a day's of work. That brings the cost limit to about $1000/4kW for a typical roof. That's about $250 per kW installed power output. We will eventually get to within that number up to a factor of 2 or 3... but that will take a while.