Which alternative energy source is the best?

Question: Which alternative-energy source is the best?

Michael Klare: We, have to face a short term problems of liquids, because especially in this country we are so dependent on motorize vehicles that is the short-term crisis. We are running out of oil for cars and trucks and buses and planes and everything else. We need a liquid alternative. So people tell me, well lets have more wind power and more solar power, which is very appealing. Some people say nuclear power too, but none of those are going to solve our short-term crisis of liquids, and so for liquids I think the most promising is second generation Ethanol. Not Ethanol derived from food crops like corn, but Ethanol derived from the corn stocks and woodchips and other biomass using enzymes what’s calls cellulosic ethanol. This was very promising to me, but we do not have a single functioning cellulosic ethanol plant in commercial scale, cellulosic ethanol plant in this country at this time.

Question: What would it take to get us there?

Michael Klare: A lot of money, a lot of investment too. I mean the technology is ready, no, I shouldn’t even say that, its on a laboratory scale we have this technology, but we have to move it to commercial scale production and a lot of investment money has to be put into this. This I think is the priority, so that’s the short term crisis of liquid the transportation fuels I think is bio - developing nonfood crop bio fuels. Looking into the future the most promising strikes me is solar power, because I think that’s where the most progress is being made to harness the power of the sun, but there is a mismatch between where the sun is strongest in the American Southwest and where they need is greatest which is in Northern California, in the Midwest and in the Northeast and we don’t have the transmission lines and the infrastructure and so on, so there too, you need a lot of investment and so forth.

Recorded: 3/14/07


Klare is intrigued by solar energy but says that we are still far from making it an economically feasible alternative.

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less