Mike Huckabee and Energy Independence

The United States is a very long way from being independent on foreign oil. But we cannot establish independence without taking the first step. There are many options available to us. But, we cannot take a single option approach. To borrow an investing term – diversify.

The obvious first option is the one that makes people cringe – nuclear power. But the fact is that nuclear power is very safe. And, it provides a huge return. The same people who tell you that organic fuel consumption is causing global warming are the same people that are against it (and many of the other options). Do your homework and find more about it. Here’s a link with simplified explanations of the science, the safety, and the value.

Next, is ethanol. We’ve all heard about it – corn to fuel. Being new to living in a place that actually has winter, I’ve heard the complaining about the price of corn (which is used for heating here) going up. Corn converts very nicely to ethanol. But, there are other ways to make fuel from crops. Sugar (beets) can be converted to 2,5-dimethyl furan – a liquid fuel which has a lot more energy value than ethanol. Read about it here.

Making oil from coal is an option that should excite many of us – especially in Michigan. Coal is successfully being converted to an oil that can be refined to produce gasoline and diesel fuel. I’ve read about it many places. You can read it here.

Some technologies are a little different like Concentrating Solar Power. Solar panels are used to transfer energy from the sun into a liquid. The liquid expands and turns a turbine – generating electricity. Obviously, this requires a lot of sunlight (think Mojave Desert). Investing in this technology probably means investing in infrastructure too (not necessarily a bad thing).

Be realistic, we will still need petroleum to make the parts for our cars, the freon for our air conditioning, the materials for our homes. Some of the alternate energy options aren’t drop in solutions. But, investing in research for these technologies (akin to the value we get from space exploration) will reduce our need on foreign oil.

I’ve watched all the major Republican debates. And, Mike Huckabee is the only one to promise independence. Another reason to make him Forty Four.

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3 Responses to Mike Huckabee and Energy Independence

  1. Mike Dyer says:

    Methanol is a good replacement to gasoline. The following link is a rather detailed report that would indicate methanol could be a big answer to replacing petroleum. I copied the conclusions from this report below. Also I added a second link that gives a general discussion of methanol used as a transportation fuel.

    fuelcellbus.georgetown.edu/files/MethanolFromCoalFinalReport04-2004.pdf

    http://www.methanol.org/pdfFrame.cfm?pdf=MIPaperforISAF.pdf

    Conclusions
    1. The amount of petroleum imported into the United States is greater than during the
    energy crisis of the 1970s and is increasing.
    2. Of the alternatives for primary chemical energy, only natural gas and coal are
    available in energy quantities comparable to petroleum.
    3. Recoverable reserves of coal will last at least five times as long as technically
    recoverable natural gas or petroleum in the U.S.
    4. Because of the possibility that the time scale for a substantial hydrogen infrastructure
    might be significantly longer than the time scale for the continued availability of
    inexpensive petroleum, an intermediate liquid transportation fuel might be
    appropriate.
    5. Methanol is the most desirable liquid hydrocarbon fuel for fuel cells and can be
    effectively utilized in internal combustion engines using existing technologies.
    6. Methanol and hydrogen are both being produced primarily from natural gas
    feedstocks, but both can be and have been produced in quantity from coal.
    7. It is likely that there will be significant increases in both prices and quantities of
    imported natural gas, if demand continues to increase as expected.
    8. If demand continues to increase as expected, natural gas might not be an appropriate
    feedstock for future alternative fuels due to availability and cost.
    9. The recent historical trends have indicated a decrease in the price of coal with
    increasing demand and production. It is likely that coal prices will be relatively
    stable, possibly decreasing somewhat, even with large increases in production.
    10. From the standpoints of projected costs and attributes as a fuel for both fuel cells and
    internal l combustion engines, methanol could be an effective alternative fuel.
    11. If environmental and other relevant issues can be satisfactorily resolved, coal-based
    methanol could provide relatively stable fuel prices and increased energy
    independence for many decades.
    12. There are environmental and other issues to be considered if there is to be large-scale
    utilization of methanol as a transportation fuel.
    13. There are environmental issues to be considered if there is to be a significant increase
    in the utilization of coal as a primary energy resource.
    14. Projections indicate that fuel taxes must be imposed on any significant
    distribution of alternative fuels in order to maintain adequate tax revenues.
    15. Since there is such disparity among energy content per volume of alternative fuels, it
    is likely that taxes will be modified to reflect energy rather than volume fuel
    purchases.
    16. It is projected that hydrogen produced on-board a fuel cell vehicle from coal-based
    methanol will cost less than off-board produced hydrogen.
    17. While all alternative fuels are expected to be more expensive to the consumer than
    present-day gasoline, methanol produced from coal is likely to be the least expensive
    of the fuels considered, if natural gas prices increase as projected.

  2. fortyfour says:

    Wow! Thanks for the detailed post. It is important to remember that energy isn’t the only use of petroleum. We are dependent on it for plastics, insulation, synthetic fabrics, etc. We won’t totally eliminate the need for importing oil. But, we can optimize our consumption.

  3. Mike Dyer says:

    Fourtyfour,
    Good observation. I am a chemist and it is been said in the future men will marval that this generation was foolish to burn oil for fuel. Oil is a rich resouce of chemicals that is all most impossible to make with other raw materials. I don’t want to take my eye off the ball on the use of methanol in the near future, but it is possible to use nuclear power to convert carbon dioxide to methanol.

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