Saturday, May 13, 2006

Nuclear Electricity, Coal into Fuel, Bye-Bye Oil Imports

Just for fun, I suggest people spend a few minutes reading about coal-to-fuel conversion. The technology has been known for decades, but unti now it's been too expensive.

The key fact is, we could stop importing foreign oil any time. It's absolutely feasible. The steps would be:

1. Convert the US electrical grid to 60% Nuclear. Absolutely possible...the French did it for their system in 25 years.

2. Convert existing coal plants to conversion facilities that make diesel.

Bingo. Economic security, reduced military problems, and good for the ecosystem too (This would cut CO2 emissions by 20% or so)

Of course, it's not that easy. The two simple steps outlined above involve billions of dollars and wrenching economic changes. It's probably not feasible from a political and social perspective. But there's no technological barrier.

There is plenty of energy sources around. We just have to take steps to get them in place.


At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

That was a very interesting article. I think a coal-to-gas step might be very useful as we try to transition off hydrocarbons. Eventually I hope we get to electrically-powered (or at least mostly-electrically-powered) cars, like plug-in hybrids, and electricity produced from thorium.

But we will still have a long time where there will be hydrocarbon-burning cars. The way things seem to be going, we may look back wistfully on $3 a gallon gas a few years from now.


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