Substantially increase government support for research designed to directly replace oil. Up until now most government research grants in the area of energy went to traditional fossil fuels. The significantly smaller grants for alternative energy have been largely directed to global warming issues. Although we strongly recommend increasing the research grants for global warming solutions, it is critical for the survival of the U.S. and world as a free one that we find breakthrough solutions that will replace oil. Replacing oil is critical both for our national security and for global warming, thereby representing the best investment of R&D dollars. The federal government should allocate a special research fund for oil replacement technologies and fund it very generously. It should not come at the expense of other research grants.
In the last decade, federal support of alternative energy research has declined – it is a danger for the future of the nation. There are many important steps we can take using today’s technology, but we need R&D to speed up the process. If the breakthrough comes soon enough, it can save many lives.
What do we need? (In order of priority)
- Battery technology – the U.S. must become the world technology leader in the field (it is more important than landing a man on the moon). The amount of government research grants should be substantial. A winning prize is a good idea. The goal is to make the electric battery car the most economic solution as soon as possible. It is the transportation technology of the 21 century.
- Improving the yield of current ethanol, methanol and bio-diesel production methods. We can easily double the output of the current infrastructure (land, water, energy, processing plants, etc.). Every improvement in this category could be effective immediately and increase our bio-fuel production capacity.
- Biomass to alcohol (e.g., cellulose ethanol). The “holy grail” of bio-fuel. It will develop a new worldwide fuel industry.
- Coal to methanol and/or ethanol and/or to diesel and/or synthetic gasoline, with GHG imprint less or equal to gasoline. A successful development of a cleaner process will probably become one of the cheapest transportation liquid fuels we will have in the foreseeable future.
- Ultra-light body parts (materials), suitable for cheap mass manufacturing. New lighter car designs. Reducing vehicle weight is an easy way to improve MPG and battery range.