Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions
New Fuels Part 2
Photo courtesy of:
J. Pinkston and L. Stern / US Geological Survey
Did You Know?
- Natural gas is odorless but suppliers add a chemical compound called mercaptan to give it an odor so that people can detect leaks.
- The sun is a gigantic nuclear fusion reactor that by some estimates produces enough energy in barely a minute to supply the world for one year.
- We measure energy with British thermal units BTUs. One BTU is about equal to the energy released as a wooden match burns.
- Energy conservation by turning a room thermostat down just 1 degree Fahrenheit this winter will save about 3 percent of the energy needed to heat the room.
|Ice that burns? Yes, indeed. Gas hydrates are icy cages filled with methane, the main ingredient in natural gas. They are among a suite of new fuels and energy sources that may help to power society in the years ahead. Scientists are developing these new energy sources to supplement the coal and conventional natural gas we now use to produce electricity for heating, cooling, and lighting. New fuels hold special promise as sustainable energy sources that minimize the release of carbon dioxide and combat global warming.
Experience this podcast:
Science for Kids
Fuel Cell Car Kit: Electrolyzes water into hydrogen and oxygen and generates electricity.
A magazine for high school students
Careers in Chemistry
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS®)
SciFinder®, a research tool produced by CAS (a division of the American Chemical Society), found 384 references published this year on the topic of using biomass for producing biofuels. Further analysis of the references demonstrates the current research interest in developing pathways to sustainable biofuels from non food sources such as forest and crop residues, municipal waste, algae, etc. and the increasing focus on biotechnology solutions for optimizing processes such as conversion of biomass to sugars.
The CAS databases cover references from more than 10,000 major scientific journals and 57 patent authorities worldwide.
ACS Policy Statements and Briefings
In the News
- Sunny Forecast For Fuel Cells
C&EN, August 4, 2008
- Renewable energy spurs “green gold rush”
ES&T, July 23, 2008
- Top paper: A low-emissions future
ES&T, April 1, 2008
- Students catch EPA's "green wave"
ES&T, February 13, 2008
- Who will pay for a global climate-technology revolution?
ES&T, February 6, 2008
- Shale-oil development on the fast track
ES&T, February 6, 2008
- Promises of plug-in hybrid
ES&T, January 16, 2008
- Turning Water Into Fuel
C&EN, October 4, 2007
- Long legacy of fossil fuels
ES&T, September 19, 2007
- Tapping The Sun
C&EN, August 27, 2007
- Wind energy’s footprint
ES&T, May 16, 2007
- Sharing sustainable solutions
ES&T, April 4, 2007
- Hundreds of books have been written in the past few years about alternative fuels. These books offer an amazing variety of opinions and viewpoints. Information on many of these books is available from the Library of Congress, http://catalog.loc.gov/
Sources for this podcast
- “Next-Generation Nuclear Energy,”
U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy
- “From Booze to Garbage to Fusion: The Future of Energy,”
Discover magazine (cover story), October 2008
- American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund
- “Methane Hydrates – Energy Source of the Future?”
by Barbara Maynard, Popular Mechanics, April 2006 issue
- “Solar-Power Breakthrough,”
by Kevin Bullis, MIT Technology Review, July 31, 2008
- “Latest Honda Runs on Hydrogen, Not Petroleum,”
by Martin Fackler, New York Times, June 17, 2008
Meet the Scientists