The Need for a "Bridge" to our future transportation "fuel"

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The Need for a "Bridge" to our future transportation "fuel"

Postby Sol Shapiro » Sat May 16, 2009 5:44 pm

The U.S. is currently placing heavy emphasis on "invention" of transportation battery technology which will be technically viable, cost effective and reliable. We truly cannot know how fast this process will proceed. And if we did have the technology today, build-up of production and fleet turnover would probably take 2 to 3 decades. Similarly, we are pushing ahead with biofuels and this will help, but without new "invention" the U.S. will be limited to no more than 2 million barrels per day - if we are very lucky with the cellulosic approach; a good contribution but not a silver bullet; and this will take 2 to 3 decades. Algae is deservedly getting a lot of play; but any realistic development today will require the output of CO2 from a power plant today a good domestic fuel - and "two bites of the CO2 apple" but with a very uncertain time frame.
I've also done a simple analysis of efficiency benefits with parameters of 7% turnover of the fleet per year, 5% increase in new vehicle efficiency per year (this would include hybrid and phev as a small part of sales initially and growing) and 1% growth in fleet size per year. In one decade, little is accomplished in reduced consumption, with fleet growth offsetting much of the benefit. How much longer efficiency increase of 5% per year will continue after a decade (62% efficiency increase) is uncertain. So this does little help in the short term.
And so, we need to drill responsibly - say one to two million barrels per day in a decade and 3 million bbl/day in 2 decades; we need the biofuels - say one million barrels per day in a decade, possibly double in 2 decades. AND we need to use proven coal-to-liquid for one million barrels per day in a decade and 3 million barrels per day in two decades as goals.
With this plan in place, we watch the development of batteries, algae and other far out efforts every 2 years and modify the program when new "invention" is truly ready for demonstration and deployment.
As to the issue of CO2 from coal-to-liquid: 2 comments; one million barrels per day, without sequestration of CO2 increases the world CO2 emissions by about 0.4% (and we should try to sequester); and my engineering assessment of what's going on in the world tells me that we will need to use geoengineering to put climate change on hold; thus making the trade-off of national interest viable. We should not be taken in by IPCC and environmental group hysteria - when there are approaches for geoengineering; and in fact the National Academy of Sciences is currently looking at this (along with adaptation, mitigation, etc) under a congressionally mandated program "America's Climte Choices."
Sol Shapiro
 
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