Fuels and Energy

Our civilization has increasingly come to rely on energy.   Everything from transportation to commerce to food supply is heavily dependent on the availability of cheap and plentiful energy supplies.  In the past few years, however, many have realized that energy is a finite resource and that the traditional sources of energy - specifically oil and natural gas - are in limited supply and that we need to prepare for the approaching production maxima.  Indeed, in the United States both the proven oil reserves and the annual oil production peaked a couple of decades ago and we now importing more than half our oil.

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Data derived from Energy Information Agency tables at tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/mcrfpus1a.htm and tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/ rcrr01nus_1a.htm

It is obviously in the interest of national economic security to investigate alternative sources of energy before the extraction of existing supplies becomes prohibitively expensive.  This applies to automotive fuels and general domestic energy use in buildings.  This web site investigates a number of potential fuels and their sources, including agricultural solutions (ethanol and biodiesel fuel from crops) and unconventional refining techniques such as coal-to-liquid, oil shale retorting, and tar sand processing.  It also attempts to dispel some of the common but erroneous beliefs and reports related to energy use and consumption. 

The following presentations provide some information on alternative automotive fuels, emissions, and life-cycle analysis of the American car fleet.

Selected presentations from the September 2008 Sustainability Mobility Conference, Portland, Oregon

Selected presentations from the July 2009 ASME Energy Sustainability Conference in San Francisco

Selected presentations from the August 2011 ASME Energy Sustainability Conference in Washington, DC

This section provides links to various web sites


General automotive

Ethanol from municipal solid waste

Oil shales and tar sands


papers are in PDF and will open in a separate window

reprints are in PDF and will open in a separate window

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