Frankly speaking, the policies that this letter calls for should not be controversial at all.
Universities have a moral duty to work on the big problems of the world, and a duty to advance approaches that may solve these problems. In fact, can build a campus that is CO2 neutral now. Let me give a few examples.
Let's build, on campus, the state-of-the-art wind mills that use generators developed at the University of Twente. The superconductors developed by Marc Dhallé and colleagues replace the heavy magnets inside a generators of conventional wind mills. As a result, the weight and size of the new generator is significantly reduced while at the same time, it is capable of delivering the same output power. Another advantage is the minimal use of rare earth metals.
Let's put solar panels on every roof and turn everyday objects on campus into solar panels using luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) photovoltaic technologies that Angèle Reinders and colleagues experiment with. The typical material properties of LSCs -- low cost, colorful, bendable, and transparency -- offer a lot of design freedom.
Let's use the additional energy generated on campus to generate solar fuels. This involves the direct conversion of energy from sunlight into a usable fuel (in this case, hydrogen). Using only earth-abundant materials, Han Gardeniers, Jurriaan Huskens and colleagues developed the most efficient conversion method to date.
The high school children that are on strike for the climate now will be our future students. Let's give them the world -- and the campus -- they protested for.
I cannot tell from website photos if Utwente is open campus (i.e anyone from Enschede could walk/ride through whole lot unchallenged, it does look like that) but I can see loads of "quick wins" by using the solar panels to charge accus and power LEDs at night, so students who are working late and walking/riding back to halls feel safer (badly lit areas and fear of crime/attacks are a big problem with some campus universities in UK , but one which may be solved with better lighting)
@vfrmedia Very good point.: Some parts on campus can be dark at night.. BTW, yes, the campus is open for anyone to visit. It would a great show case for others to see.
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