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Energy production is at the core of our society's future. New methods are developed to answer our future needs, from solar power to shale gas. They hold much promise for green and efficient power but also the threat of earthquakes and more.
Moving ground: On the relations between earthquakes and fracking
Dr Stephen Hicks (Research Associate in the Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College London)
Hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') is a gas extraction method. It involves injecting fluid to create fractures at depth. The fracturing causes small scale earthquakes, in a similar process to how natural earthquakes occur. These 'microquakes' may be small but have the potential of causing damage if not monitored and treated correctly. In this talk Dr. Hicks will examine the microquakes and will try to envision what to expect in the future. Is 'fracking' as safe as promoted by advocates? Does it hold the potential for catastrophe as claimed by opponents? Or is the risk more nuanced?
Can we print solar energy?
Dr. Piers Barnes (Lecturer in Experimental Solid State Physics, Department of Physics, Imperial College London)
Virtually all energy consumed on Earth originates from the sun, but there are many possible routes to get at it. Photovoltaic panels allow us to directly convert the sun’s photons to excited electrons whose energy we can harvest. In this presentation, Dr Piers Barnes (Imperial College physicst and Ig Nobel prize winner) will explore some of the principles underlying photovoltaic materials as well as where current research is taking the possible solar technologies of the future such as photovoltaic inks.