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Energy research is a vast and diverse field that encompasses multiple scientific and engineering disciplines. The critical goals across the different sectors of energy research can be broadly categorized as follows:

  1. Energy Efficiency: This involves improving the energy efficiency of devices, buildings, and processes, to get more usable output for a given input of energy, thus reducing the overall demand for energy.
  2. Sustainable Energy Sources: Researching renewable, clean, and sustainable energy sources like solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, tidal, and bioenergy is crucial. The goal is to minimize dependency on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Energy Storage: Given the intermittent nature of many renewable energy sources (like solar and wind), a significant amount of research is focused on improving energy storage technologies, such as batteries, pumped hydro storage, and thermal energy storage.
  4. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): This involves the development of methods to capture carbon dioxide produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes, preventing the CO2 from entering the atmosphere, and subsequently storing it underground.
  5. Energy System Integration: As the grid evolves to accommodate a greater share of renewable energy and decentralized power generation, research is needed to improve grid stability, resilience, and flexibility, and to allow for the effective integration of different energy sources and storage systems.
  6. Advanced Nuclear Technologies: This includes research into safer, more efficient nuclear technologies, such as Generation IV fission reactors, small modular reactors (SMRs), and nuclear fusion.
  7. Hydrogen Energy: Given the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier, research is focused on efficient and sustainable hydrogen production, storage, transportation, and usage, including fuel cells.
  8. Socio-economic and Environmental Impact: It's crucial to understand the socio-economic implications of energy technologies, including job creation and effects on energy prices, as well as their environmental and health impacts.
  9. Policy, Regulatory, and Market Structures: Research in this area aims to guide policymakers and regulators in creating frameworks that promote the development and deployment of sustainable energy technologies and practices.

These goals are interconnected and often overlap. The ultimate aim is to transition to an energy system that is sustainable, reliable, affordable, and has minimal negative impact on the environment and climate.