The Pie
The Pie
Dec 17, 2020
A Vaccine for Billions
Play • 27 min
The economic benefits of ending the COVID-19 pandemic even one day earlier are enormous. Michael Kremer and Canice Prendergast describe the urgency of vaccine delivery, the promise of production incentives, and why it pays to fail when developing a vaccine.
The POWER Podcast
The POWER Podcast
79. Hydrogen and the Energy Transition
Hydrogen and the Energy Transition Power systems around the world are changing. Renewable energy, mainly in the form of wind and solar generation, is being added everywhere, while more traditional forms of power, such as coal-fired and nuclear generation, are being retired from the grid. Meanwhile, natural gas-fired generation has taken the lead role in facilitating the transition by providing relatively quick ramping capability and stable baseload power to backup intermittent renewables. However, there is a lot of research and development work underway that could eventually push natural gas out of the mix. The reason is that gas, like other fossil fuels, releases CO2 and other emissions to the atmosphere, albeit at lower quantities than coal, fuel oil, and diesel on a per-kWh-generated basis. One of the potential supplements or replacements for natural gas could be hydrogen. The concept of a hydrogen economy is not new. It was first contemplated at least as far back as the 1970s, but the economics associated with producing hydrogen at the time made it impractical. That is changing as countries around the world implement decarbonization goals and the share of renewable energy in the power mix increases. Going forward, there are likely to be situations in which the supply of solar and wind power is high, but demand for the electricity is low. Rather than curtailing production, the surplus energy could be used to produce “green hydrogen” through electrolysis at a very reasonable cost. “There’s no CO2 emissions associated with [green hydrogen],” Megan Reusser, hydrogen development lead at Burns & McDonnell, said as a guest on The POWER Podcast. “So, bringing hydrogen to the forefront as a potential way to meet decarbonization goals, coupled with other types of renewable energy such as solar or wind, that’s what’s really giving [hydrogen] kind of a new life and a really big interest currently in the market.” Seeing the writing on the wall, the major gas turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have jumped aboard the hydrogen bandwagon. Siemens, GE, and Mitsubishi Power all have programs underway to make their combustion turbines 100% hydrogen capable. Their intentions are really designed to “future proof” investments in new power plants. “All the major OEMs have advanced-class gas turbines that are available and can blend up to 30% hydrogen. Where it gets interesting is you see and hear about the concept of hydrogen-ready for the future, and 100% hydrogen capable for the future,” Joey Mashek, business development manager at Burns & McDonnell, said on the podcast. “The plan to develop those technologies to get near 100%, or 100%, is still about 10 years. And I think all the OEMs will say they can do that and will do that, but it’ll be market driven.” Reusser said Burns & McDonnell has seen a lot of interest in hydrogen pilot projects. “By that I mean small-scale applications where people are just trying to understand how all this is going to come together,” she said. One example that she mentioned was a system installed by the Orlando Utilities Commission. “They are developing a pilot facility that has a little bit of everything. It’s got [an] electrolyzer, some storage, and a fuel cell. So, they’re kind of doing the whole spectrum of generating their hydrogen, storing their hydrogen, and then converting it back to power,” said Reusser. “Only thing I can say is, it’s exciting, really exciting time in the energy industry,” Mashek said.
24 min
LSE: Public lectures and events
LSE: Public lectures and events
London School of Economics and Political Science
Scroungers versus Strivers: the myth of the welfare state
Contributor(s): Professor John Hills | This episode is dedicated to social policy giant Professor Sir John Hills, who died in December 2020. In this episode, John tackles the myth that the welfare state supports a feckless underclass who cost society huge amounts of money. Instead, he sets out a system where most of what we pay in, comes back to us. He describes a generational contract which we all benefit from, varying on our stage of life. His words remain timely after a year of pandemic which has devastated many people’s livelihoods. Many of us have had to rely on state support in ways that we could not have anticipated, perhaps challenging our ideas about what type of person receives benefits in the UK. This episode is based on an interview that John did with James Rattee for the LSE iQ podcast in 2017. It coincided with the LSE Festival which celebrated the anniversary of the publication of the ‘Beveridge Report’ in 1947 - a blueprint for a British universal care system by former LSE Director William Beveridge. Professor Sir John Hills CBE, was Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE and Chair of CASE. His influential work didn’t just critique government policy on poverty and inequality, it changed it. He advised on a wide range of issues including pensions reform, fuel poverty, council housing, income and wealth distribution.   Contributors Professor John Hills   Research Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us. Bristol: Policy Press by John Hills (2015)
20 min
The Munk Debates Podcast
The Munk Debates Podcast
Munk Foundation / Antica Productions / iHeartRadio
Be it resolved: Go Green! Go Nuclear!
Zero emissions by 2050 and at the latest 2060. That has been the rallying cry for many of the world’s largest economies, including the US, UK, Japan, Canada, and most notably, China. But with almost 80% of carbon emissions coming from energy, demand for electricity continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, and storage batteries still in their infancy, it’s not clear how these countries will live up to their promises. The answer, say an increasing number of environmentalists and energy experts, lies with nuclear energy. They say this much vilified generator of power requires fewer materials and produces the least amount of carbon of any energy source - all with a physical footprint 50 times smaller than solar. Nuclear energy has also proven itself for almost 70 years, and currently supplies 10% of the world’s energy mix. Critics say that this seemingly simple solution to the climate change challenge comes with potentially catastrophic costs that far outweigh the benefits. As the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan demonstrated ten years ago, the radioactive energy released by fission can wreak havoc on the surrounding environment, threatening the long term health and lives of surrounding populations, and contaminating vast areas of land so that they are no longer habitable. The cost to build but also decommission nuclear plants makes them a far more expensive source of energy than green alternatives. Far better to address the climate change crisis and the world’s energy needs with solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy.  Arguing for the motion is Todd Allen, the Department Chair of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan. Arguing against the motion is Gregory Jaczko, Former Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Lecturer at Princeton University, and author of Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator. Sources: Joe Biden, Global News, Billionaires Note, Linda Gunter, Nuscale Power, Tomo News US, Fox 5, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto,The Nuclear Institute UK, Washington Post The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths - @rudyardg. Tweet your comments about this episode to @munkdebate or comment on our Facebook page To sign up for a weekly email reminder for this podcast, send an email to To support civil and substantive debate on the big questions of the day, consider becoming a Munk Member at Members receive access to our 10+ year library of great debates in HD video, a free Munk Debates book, newsletter and ticketing privileges at our live events. This podcast is a project of the Munk Debates, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to fostering civil and substantive public dialogue - The Munk Debates podcast is produced by Antica, Canada’s largest private audio production company -   Executive Producer: Stuart Coxe, CEO Antica Productions Senior Producer: Christina Campbell Editor: Kieran Lynch Producer: Nicole Edwards Associate Producer: Abhi Raheja
46 min
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu