Low-cost solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity for 145 countries

publised in Royal Society of Chemistry (journal) Jun 9, 2022.

Written by Mark Z. Jacobson, * Anna-Katharina von Krauland, Stephen J. Coughlin,
Emily Dukas, Alexander J. H. Nelson, Frances C. Palmer and Kylie R. Rasmussen.
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford,
California 94305-4020, USA

Extracts and personal comments to a highly optimistic study.

For example, air and water heat from fossil fuel burning, wood burning, and waste heat are converted to heat from air-and ground-source heat pumps running on WWS electricity. How do you get high temperatures for production of steel, silicon etc?

Some hydrogen fuel-cell-electric (HFC) vehicles, where the hydrogen is produced by electrolysis with WWS electricity (green, or electrolytic, hydrogen). Hydrogen fuel-cell-electric vehicles power all long-distance transport by road, rail, water, and air. They also power long-distance air, water, and land military transport. You cannot build hydrogen planes and it is equally unsuited for most of the other applications.

The main technologies that are not commercialized are long-distance aircraft and ships powered by hydrogen fuel cells and some industrial processes. However, technical feasibility studies of long-distance transport with fuel cells have been performed. Yes, but are the credible?

Flexible loads include electricity and heat loads that can be used to fill cold and low-temperature heat storage, all electricity used to produce hydrogen since all hydrogen can be stored (but not very easily), and remaining electricity and heat loads subject to demand response. Demand response can be used to shift flexible loads forward in time one time step at a time, but by no more than eight hours, until the loads are met. Very difficult to see exactly what loads can be postponed eight hours.

To reduce climate damage further and to reduce the enormous loss of life from air pollution and the dangers due to energy insecurity, a 2035 timeline for a complete transition is also proposed. Optimistic, considering GHG emissions has increased in the last 30 years.

Transitioning from BusinessAsUsual to 100% WWS reduces 2050 annual average end-use power demand by an average of 56.4%. Of this,

  • 20.5% are due to the efficiency advantage of WWS transportation,
  • 4.3% are due to the efficiency advantage of using WWS electricity for industrial heat,
  • 13.6% are due to the efficiency advantage of using heat pumps instead of combustion heaters.
  • 11.3% are due to eliminating energy in the mining, transporting, and refining of fossil fuels; and
  • 6.64% are due to end-use energy efficiency improvement.


  • On-shore wind                  32,1%   2,86 TW                               Nameplate:  8,43TW
  • Off-shore wind                  12,9%   1,15 TW                               Nameplate: 4,43 TW
  • Utility PV-CSP-Solar heat 33,2% 2,95TW                                Nameplate: 17,12 TW
  • Rooftop PV                         15,6%   1,39 TW                               Nameplate: 9,33 TW
  • Geothermal                       1,22%   0,11TW                                Nameplate: 0,097 TW
  • Hydro                                   4,93%   0,44 TW                               Nameplate: 1,16 TW

Total nameplate capacity, including tidal, wave and geothermal: 41 742 TW

The total battery storage capacity among all 145 countries is 84.51 TWh per cycle (10 hours, but designed with capacity to deliver total load in 4 hrs), compared to the total production of 84,5 TW solar & wind. For comparison, the total hydropower storage capacity in reservoirs is 4567 TWh per year (10 000 hours), which is close to the 2020 world hydropower output.

The following percentages of final nameplate capacities needed in 2050, had already been installed as of 2020:

  • onshore wind-7.56%; thirteen fold increase
  • offshore wind-0.8%
  • residential rooftop PV-4.13%; twentyfive fold increase
  • commercial/government rooftop PV-2.39%; Forty fold increase
  • utility PV-2.61%;
  • CSP-1.54%;
  • geothermal electricity-14.4%;
  • hydropower-100%;
  • tidal power-0.001%; and
  • wave power-2.76%.

The world also has up to 3200 TWh of low-cost and 23 200 TWh of low and high-cost pumped hydropower storage (PHS) capacity potential. Both capacities are much greater than the 14.7 TWh of Pumped Hydro Storage and 84.51 TWh of batteries proposed here.

Total energy consumption (just power multiplied by 8 760 hr/y) is 77 795 TWh.