Nicola Armaroli

Nicola Armaroli (chemist) is a CNR Research Director. His research is concerned with the photochemistry and photophysics of coordination compounds, carbon nanostructures and supramolecular arrays and materials, with focus on luminescence, light harvesting, energy transfer and electron transfer. These studies aim at developing new materials for lighting technologies and solar energy conversion. He has published over 180 papers in international journals and 5 books. He is a member of the Editorial Board of several journals and chairman of the Working Party on Chemistry & Energy of the European Association of Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS). Since 2014, he serves as director of Sapere, the first Italian science periodical, established in 1935.

Lecture: The Transition to a Sun-Powered World: Status, Perspectives, Bottlenecks

The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables is already ongoing, but it will be a long, complex and difficult process. Energy production data will be presented, discussing in particular the perspectives of the main solar technologies for the production of electricity and fuels. The overall discussion will take into account key bottlenecks which are often neglected in the energy debate: the EROI (Energy Return On Investment) and the fact that the energy transition will not be limited by the availability of photons, but by the availability of natural resources – particularly minerals – which are needed to manufacture energy converters and storage devices on a multi-TW scale. Ultimately, these constraints might reveal the physical limits of economic growth.