Public Release: 

Energy in the 21st century: government policy and alternative sources

American Chemical Society

The California energy crisis reawakened public concerns about energy, mostly dormant since the energy crisis of the 1970s. After more than 20 years of research into alternative energy sources, the United States still relies on fossil fuels for 85 percent of its energy and imports the majority of its oil, according to the Department of Energy.

Underlying the political statements and public worries about the possibility of an energy crisis are real questions about our energy supply and policies, such as: How much energy do we use? How much will we need in the future? And, how can we create energy in a way that doesn't damage the environment? Studies addressing these and other questions will be presented at the 222nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

  • Antonia Herzog, Ph.D., and Daniel Kammen, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkeley, have found a strong relationship between energy R&D spending and energy-related patents, leading them to suggest that a history of underinvestment detracts from our ability to respond to emerging energy problems. (The paper on this research, CHED 38, will be presented at 4:25 p.m., Sunday, August 26, in McCormick Place South, Room S401.)

  • John Turner, Ph.D., of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory discusses how hydrogen, potentially the best storage system for energy produced from renewable sources, could be used and incorporated into the energy infrastructure. (The paper on this research, CHED 36, will be presented at 3:35 p.m., Sunday, August 26, in McCormick Place South, Room S401.)

Extra-strength batteries for your car or home -- Fuel cells are a promising source of alternative energy because they can potentially produce a large and steady stream of energy with little pollution, even when they are powered by fossil fuels. The Department of Energy estimates that fuel cells could be powering some cars, homes, and businesses by 2015.

  • Mohammad Farooque, Ph.D., of Fuel Cell Energy will discuss the possibilities of commercializing carbonate fuel cells. Powered by either fossil fuels or renewable energy, carbonate fuel cells efficiently produce clean electricity. Even better, they can be made using established manufacturing processes. (The paper on this research, FUEL 20, will be presented at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, August 26, in McCormick Place Lakeside Center, Room E258.)

  • Serguei Lvov, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University discusses the history, design, and possible applications of alkaline fuel cells, which were first used to power a vehicle in 1958 and have been used by NASA on manned missions since 1965. (The paper on this research, FUEL 18, will be presented at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, August 26, in McCormick Place Lakeside Center, Room E258.)

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