VIDEO: Balance of Systems: PopTech 2009's Nocera, Kurgan, and Kuepper

“You’ve got to start from the bottom and work up. And if you don’t, I guarantee it will always be too costly.” Dan Nocera, PopTech 2009

With global leaders in discussions about climate change, PopTech releases three talks this week from energy researchers approaching the problem from other angles. MIT chemist Dan Nocera shows how we can move from the grid to personalized energy, spatial designer Laura Kurgan demonstrates there are no neutral maps, and scientist Nicole Kuepper creates photovoltaic cells out of nail polish, inkjet printers, and pizza ovens.

Watch Dan Nocera on personalized energy:

MIT Professor Dan Nocera believes he can solve the world’s energy problems with an Olympic-sized pool of water. Nocera and his research team have identified a simple technique for powering the Earth inexpensively—-by using the sun to split water and store energy—-and thus making the large-scale deployment of personalized solar energy possible.

Go Deeper:

- See Dan’s MIT Nocera Lab group page
- Read Dan’s MIT faculty page where he explains his work
- View the National Geographic solar energy slideshow Dan references in his talk

Watch Laura Kurgan on human geographies:

Architect Laura Kurgan is the Co-Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University. Kurgan visualizes complex political and social data to advocate for social reform. One project, “Million Dollar Blocks,” shows how the government spends more than one million dollars to incarcerate prisoners who live within a single census block.

Go Deeper:

- Learn more about the Spatial Information Design Lab
- See Laura’s Terre Natale, that has been on display during COP15
- Laura was named a United States Artist Rockefeller Fellow on December 14th

Watch Nicole Kuepper on low-cost solar

Ph.D. candidate Nicole Kuepper has been passionate about solar energy since she received a toy solar-powered car for her 8th birthday. Kuepper has recently patented a simple low-temperature process for printing low-cost solar cells that could make solar energy affordable across the developing world.

Go Deeper:

- Watch a video of Nicole working on photovoltaic cells in the lab
- Read the abstract for the UNSW inkjet solar cell scientific paper
- Learn more about the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

For more, follow PopTech photographer Kris Krug’s Flickr photostream for the latest Copenhagen images, find out why activists the Yes Men (who presented at PopTech 2006) helped coordinate and release a fake press release on behalf of the Canadian government Monday.

More climate change links:

6 PopTech Climate Change videos from the archive

Mother Nature Network’s Copenhagen Climate Talks section

Reuters liveblog from Copenhagen

Inhabitat reports Copenhagen has been “Causapalooza”

Kofi Annan in The Guardian on climate change, December 10, 2009

Updates and reporting from Mother Jones, The Uptake. Treehugger, Grist, The Nation, Center for Investigative Reporting/ Frontline/World, and The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Data visualizations of global climate temperatures (follow #climatedata for more)

What do you think about these energy ideas? Where are you following COP15 coverage?

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