Energy research at Stanford is motivated in large part by the need to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels, the leading cause of climate change and air pollution. But clean energy technologies, such as wind and biofuels, can have unintended effects on climate, air quality, land use and water. Stanford scientists are investigating the environmental impacts of existing energy systems and new technologies implemented on a large scale. Research areas include the climate impacts of methane leaks from North America's natural gas system, the effects of solar farms on desert resources and the consequences of planting biofuel crops on agricultural land formerly used to grow food. Several research efforts are focused on developing models that integrate the major environmental costs and benefits of energy systems around the world.
For more information, explore the Environmental Impacts research areas: