A bountiful and reliable supply of energy is necessary for the very existence of modern societies. However, the sustainability of common energy practices around the world has been increasingly questioned in the recent years, for at least two reasons: First, while the industrial societies have developed and thrive on a high-calorie fossil-fuel diet, the burning of fossil fuels has been releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases, most notably carbon dioxide, the main culprit in the contemporary global climate change. Second, although the timing of fossil fuels’ exhaustion is hotly debated, there is no doubt that their continued use will eventually lead to their drying up. In short, fossil-fuel energy is not sustainable. We need to work on perfecting and implementing sustainable alternatives.
This is neither small nor simple task, and it requires an involvement of many different specialists, who can work out not only technological solutions, but also make sure that they are environmentally sound, economically feasible, socially responsible, and can seamlessly fit into our governance systems. As one of the nation’s and the world’s leading research universities, Penn is presented with an opportunity and responsibility to tap into its talent pool, and be a part of a global community of innovators who work tirelessly towards solving the energy problem. There are a number of Penn units that are already tackling some specific aspects of this problem. We want to bring these units closer together by creating a forum, where many disciplines meet to test ideas, inform one another and collaborate in a united quest for the best and comprehensive energy solutions. We call ourselves EnerFront, because we are explorers of energy frontiers.