Sustainable energy generation is seen as one of the largest challenges of our generation. All scenarios point to a significant increase in energy consumption, and a key question is how to ensure that this growth has a minimal impact on the environment. The scale of energy production and use is enormous and has a large socio-economic impact. It is therefore very unlikely that a solution will rely on a single technology, but rather on a portfolio of different approaches. In the Berkeley Energy Lectures, we focus on those solutions in which Berkeley is a world leader in research. The first of the series is focused on carbon capture and sequestration. The second set of lectures focuses on bioenergy from biomass. The third set of lectures is on electrochemical energy storage and generation, and the final set is on “sunlight to fuel” approaches for sustainable energy production. 

The Berkeley research programs aim to integrate fundamental science with the constraints posed by the scale and impact of energy use. A key aspect of this integration is ensuring that our researchers are aware of these issues and know how to incorporate these constraints into their research. We have observed that this requires a change of mindset of how to conduct research. In addition to achieving major scientific breakthroughs, we must expect our researchers to consider their work in the wider context and think about the potential consequences if their systems, molecules, or experiments have to be used at a scale commensurate with energy global energy production. Clearly, this requires researchers to have an understanding of the energy challenges at large and, more importantly, of how to integrate this information into their current research. The interdisciplinary nature and composition of the teaching team for each set of lectures is aimed at achieving this integration.  

The Berkeley Lectures on Energy are supported by iBook, eBook, and flat pdf files that provide students with further resources for study. Also included in these electronic media are projects created by previous UC Berkeley students that demonstrate engineering design and analysis in the context of energy generations and consumption.