Future Energy eNews June 3, 2003 Integrity Research Institute

1) Biofuel cell uses enzymes and electrode to produce electricity - Back to ethanol for fuel cells.

2) Republicans Plan a Hydrogen Economy-at Your Expense: It's "Nucular" - US nukes for hydrogen.

3) Keeping it Clean: Renewably Derived Hydrogen - Use renewable energy to make hydrogen.

4) Total World Oil Production Decreases - A complete assessment of 2002 by country.

5) US Natural Gas Production Headed for Energy Crisis - "Innovation in new technology and renewable energy sources are needed in the long term to improve the environment and meet rising demand." Very strong call for action by a conservative business journal, Investor's Business Daily.

6) Dr. Ilya Prigogine (1917- 2003) - Nobel Prize winner for proving order exists far from equilibrium.

1) Alcohol Powers Fuel Cell: Biofuel cell uses enzymes and electrode to produce electricity

MIT Technology Review Apr 04, 2003


Researchers from Saint Louis University have developed a fuel cell that uses enzymes rather than metal and can be recharged by adding a few milliliters of alcohol. Enzymes commonly speed up chemical reactions in living cells.

In the biofuel cell, the enzymes convert ethanol to acetaldehyde, removing a proton in the process. The proton is then added to nicotinimide adenine dinucleotide. The fuel cell's electrode strips the proton back off to produce electricity.

Biofuel cells could eventually be used as a replacement for any rechargeable power source, including laptop and PDA batteries, according to the researchers. Key to the method is a polymer membrane modified with ammonium salts to increase the size of the membrane's pores and reduce its acidity. When enzymes are added to the membrane, they become trapped in the pores, which provide them with a stable environment.

Enzymes in the researchers' prototypes remained active for several weeks. Given the proper environment, enzymes theoretically last forever, according to the researchers.

Biofuel cells could be applied practically in five to ten years, according to the researchers. The work was presented at the 225th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans on March 27, 2003.

2) Republicans Plan a Hydrogen Economy -

at Your Expense: It's Nucular
by Mark Baard May 28 - June 3, 2003

On a sunny Saturday morning 30 years from now, you may decide to take
your family for a ride to the country. You'll still be driving a car,
and you may still get stuck in traffic. But that's OK, because the only
thing you'll be breathing in is water vapor from the car in front of

Welcome to the seemingly benign "hydrogen economy" President Bush has
touted over the past year. Pollution-free cars. Abundant fuel. A cleaner
environment. But there's one factor the president isn't talking much about: the
hundreds, perhaps thousands, of new nuclear power plants his
administration imagines making all of that hydrogen.

The Bush administration and Senate Republicans want to give billions of
taxpayer dollars to the nuclear industry to make high-temperature,
gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs), which-theoretically-can co-generate
electricity and hydrogen, side by side, inside cheap modular reactors.
Advocates of the plants say they wouldn't need the expensive protections
required for traditional models.

This summer, the Senate is expected to vote on the Energy Policy Act of
2003, which includes funding for new HTGR plants and the construction of
a pilot co-generation facility to be run by the U.S. Department of
Energy in Idaho. The bill was sent to the full chamber by the Senate
Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month.

Spokespeople for the committee and the DOE say the aim is to cut
greenhouse emissions, since energy companies continue to use coal and
natural gas in making hydrogen. But small, modular HTGR plants may do it
more efficiently and cleanly, they said.

That all depends, of course, on how you define "cleanly." To extract
hydrogen from water-to get the H out of the H2O-you first have to make
steam. The modular nuclear plants would do that without polluting the
air, but would also leave behind radioactive waste.

Scientists have not yet designed a nuclear facility whose safety and
efficiency trumps that of gas or coal. One proposal, from MIT, has a
nuclear reactor sitting under the same roof as a chemical plant bubbling
with sulfuric acid and hydrogen iodide.

Each modular plant would produce as little as one-tenth of the energy of
a single light-water reactor. And since by some estimates the United
States would need the equivalent of 500 light-water reactors to produce
enough hydrogen, it may take thousands of modular plants to get the same
job done.

The nuke industry, not surprisingly, says it's interested in joining the
hydrogen economy. Entergy, the second-largest nuclear energy producer in
the U.S., hopes to break ground on its co-generation Freedom Reactor
within five years.

But only the feds seem willing to pay for the research and development
that would make the futuristic plants a reality. "We generate
electricity," said a spokesperson for Exelon, the country's largest
producer. "We're not heavily involved in funding research and

Taxpayers may soon be. The Senate's energy bill affords the DOE $1.1
billion to build an HTGR co-generation nuclear plant at its Idaho
National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory within 10 years.

The bill also proposes to kick-start a nuke renaissance by subsidizing
half the cost of six to 10 new HTGR power plants in the United States.

"We need to move toward clean-air energy sources that are more reliable
than wind and solar," said Marnie Funk, a spokesperson for New Mexico
Republican senator Pete Domenici, chair of the energy and resources

Renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, are emissions-free. But
the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow. Many
people also see wind turbines as an eyesore: Cape Codders are fighting
plans for an offshore wind farm that would obstruct their views. "And
then you've got the bird issue," said Funk. Wind turbines earned some
notoriety by killing as many as 50 golden eagles along California's
Altamont Pass during the 1990s.

Today, wind and solar proponents are appalled that Senator Domenici and
the nuke industry are pushing nuclear energy as a greener choice. "It's
disingenuous to suggest that the nuclear provisions in the energy bill
come out of a commitment to the environment," said Lisa Gue, a senior
policy analyst with Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and
Environment program. Gue said the energy bill is a thank-you to nuclear
companies, who have contributed some $1 million to energy committee
members' campaigns over the past three election cycles.

The Senate energy committee wants to lessen greenhouse gases at the cost
of increasing nuclear risks, said Gue. "Hydrogen does offer great
potential," she said, "but to use one of the most expensive and lethal
sources of energy is a travesty."

Gue bases her criticisms on the risks many people associate with the 103
so-called "Generation III" reactors currently operating in the United
States. These are the aging, leaking, water-cooled reactors built before
Three Mile Island nearly melted down in 1979. The new plants will
supposedly be safer. "But even with their new designs," said Gue, "I'm
still not satisfied they've dealt with the waste issue."

Nuclear waste has never been a serious problem, if you ask the industry.
"People automatically picture vast quantities of drums, oozing green
slime and ruining our lives," said John Ritch, director general of the
World Nuclear Association. "But the truth is that all of the waste
produced by all of the world's nuclear reactors could fit in a two-story
building, on an area the size of a basketball court."

And unlike today's light-water reactors, HTGR reactors-which would be
cooled by helium gas-should burn up their radioactive materials more
efficiently. The new facilities would then retain their waste for up to
40 years before carting it off to Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Proponents of HTGR also boast that the reactors require none of the
concrete and steel containment walls that keep radioactive material
locked inside light-water reactors. The uranium and graphite pellets
inside HTGR reactors-even if all of the coolant is lost-would heat up so
slowly they're unlikely to melt down.

Officials at the Idaho lab hinted at a dramatic exhibit of its pilot
reactor's safety. "We could even do a demonstration in which we dump the
helium coolant," said James Lake, associate laboratory director. "That
would be a way to show the public in a visible way how safe the
technology is."

Lake may have trouble selling tickets to that event, but opponents of
HTGRs are less concerned about accidents than another scenario: "In a
word, it's terrorism," said Charles Sheehan-Miles, a spokesperson for
the Nuclear Policy Research Institute.

Existing plants have already been targeted by terrorists, suggest
warnings from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Presented with the prospect of a plane
slamming into an HTGR reactor, Lake starts adding layers of concrete and
steel (and significant cost) to what was once a spiffy little module.
"We could put the reactor underground, inside a robust, concrete
citadel," he said.

MIT professor Andrew Kadak, who worked on the U.S. government's
"Generation IV" Roadmap for new reactors, said his nuclear research
lab's own plan for an HTGR reactor does not include robust containment
walls. "Most of the reactor, however, is protected by concrete," he
said. "And the reactor is mostly underground. If necessary, we could
move it completely underground. But we have not done the [damage]
analysis yet."

Still, Dave Lochbaum, a nuclear safety engineer for the Union of
Concerned Scientists, questions why nuclear energy companies and HTGR
proponents are seeking free insurance from U.S. taxpayers. The Senate
energy bill also calls for the extension of the 1957 Price-Anderson Act,
a U.S.-funded disaster insurance policy, to cover HTGR reactors.

"Why would a safe reactor require Price-Anderson liability protection
but not containment protection?" Lochbaum asked.

3) Keeping it Clean: Renewably Derived Hydrogen

Tuesday, June 3, 2003, 2:30 – 4:00 pm, HC-8, US Capitol Building

The House and Senate Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses, the Sustainable Energy Coalition, and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a Congressional briefing on the exciting technologies available to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources. The President has committed the United States to the development of a hydrogen-based transportation infrastructure, and Congress is vigorously promoting extensive research and development on emerging hydrogen technologies. Hydrogen, however, is only as clean as the feedstock from which it is produced. The use of hydrogen that is extracted from fossil fuels does little to eliminate the emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, without carbon sequestration and other controls, instead shifting the emission point from the tailpipe to the smokestack. Deriving hydrogen from clean, renewable energy sources, however, is a viable and appealing alternative that is being developed today. Showcasing these technologies and discussing their related environmental and health benefits were the following panelists:

Briefing Panel:

Ø Jeff Serfass, President, National Hydrogen Association
Ø Tony Delucia, Chairman, Board of Directors, American Lung Association
Ø Mike Nicklas, Chair, Board of Directors, American Solar Energy Association
Ø Krishna Sapru, Director, Thermal Hydride Products, Energy Conversion Devices

Hydrogen technologies used in transportation and distributed generation applications produce little to no harmful emissions, and in the case of fuel cells, emit only water. These technologies can help the United States improve its energy efficiency, decrease its dependence on foreign oil, and enhance its environment. However, hydrogen is not an energy source, but rather, a highly-efficient energy storage medium that must be produced. A variety of feedstocks can be used to produce hydrogen, including fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable energy sources, yet each comes with its own related environmental costs and/or benefits.

Any method that relies on fossil fuel feedstocks to produce hydrogen, such as steam methane reformation and coal gasification, also emits carbon dioxide and other pollutants as a byproduct of the production process. ‘Clean’ hydrogen, however, can be produced from renewable energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide or other harmful pollutants. Wind energy, for example, can be used to produce hydrogen through the chemical reaction that occurs when electricity is combined with water, a process known as electrolysis. This technology is currently under development and has continued to become less expensive over time. Furthermore, clean hydrogen can be produced from any of the renewable energy technologies, and does not require the development of controversial and expensive sequestration technologies. Realizing the multiple benefits of clean hydrogen is not a dream waiting to be realized, but rather, is a goal many are working towards today.

For more information about the briefing, please contact JR Drabick at EESI at 202-662-1886 or jrdrabick@eesi.org. Also, see www.eesi.org .

4) Total World Oil Production Decreases

Hal Fox, New Energy News, May, 2003 (Source: Global Energy Outlook, March 2003)

Total World Oil Production Declined 653,000 Barrels per Day in 2002 over 2001 Levels

Here is a list of the World's Crude Oil Production by Countries for the year 2002:

Middle East 19,409,000 bbls per day

Western Hemisphere 16,991,000

East. Europe & FSU 9,109,000

Asia Pacific 7,408,000

Africa 6,900,000

Western Europe 6,128,000


2002 Total 65,946,000 bbls per day

2001 Total 66,599,000


CHANGE - 653,000 bbls per day. [ - MINUS! - ]

There may be some effect on these figures as we move into 2003.

With the results of the war in Iraq, it is conceivable that the oild fields of Iraq can be improved and increase production without the oil revenues being used to support a dedicated terrorist.

Crude Oil Production and Capacity

The following figures are for the current production of oil from various countries. The first six (from Saudia Arabia to Norway) are considered to be pumping and marketing oil at maximum capacity. The second figure for the following five oil-producing nations is an estimate of the additional productive capacity.

Nation Current Spare

Production Capacity

(All figures in thousands of barrels per day.)

Saudi Arabia 9,400

U.S. 8,500

Russia 7,750

Iran 3,600

Mexico 3,290

Norway 3,200

Iraq 2,400 400

U.A.E. 2,200 150

Nigeria 2,200 50

Kuwait 1,950 150

Venezuela 1,550 800

====== =====

TOTAL 46,040 1,550

It is to be noted that the world's maximum oil production is not much greater than the current rate of consumption. It is also important that some of the world's oil supply be saved for future use as chemical feedstocks for the hundreds of thousands of chemical products that are made from oil.

[Reviewed by Hal Fox, Ed. J. New Energy. Information courtesy of Gordon B. Moody, Editor/Publisher, Global Energy Outlook.] halfox@uswest.net

5) The Nation's Next Energy Crisis Won't be at the Corner Gas Station

David Isaac, Investors Business Daily, June 2, 2003 p. A14 (excerpts)

In the 1990's natural gas was hailed as the growth fuel for the future. It was relatively cheap, burned cleanly and polluted less. Power plants that used the fuel were easy to build with reliable construction schedules. But it's become apparent that the early hosannas extolling the wonders of natural gas were overblown. Prices are now about 46 per million Btu up from an average price of $2 in the 1990's...The basic problem is overreliance on natural gas for electricity. "Policies that were established for the last five to seven years have resulted in almost all new power capacity being based on natural gas," said R.W. Jewell, business vice president of energy for Dow Chemical Co.

Even if the US were to open up all known natural gas reservoirs to drilling, it would only help temporarily. Most industry watchers agree that the key issue is the need to diversify supply. "The answer is for the country to move to a more diversified electricity mix," Jewell said, including "some nuclear, some clean coal, some conservation and some based on natural gas."

5a) Natural Gas Woes Won't Disappear Unless Gov't Acts

William Stavropoulos, Investors Business Daily, Perspective, June 2, 2003 (excerpts)

World oil prices have fallen as the Iraqi conflict has subsided, but a similar drop in natural gas prices has not occurred...Millions of manufacturing jobs have already been lost in recent years, and history shows that high and voltile energy costs typically lead to recession.

What's the economic toll of sustained high natural gas prices?...One out of every two homes are heated by natural gas...Further, the amount of natural gas used to generate electricity has risen 33% in the past five years and will likely grow an additional 60% by 2015...The current US supply of natural gas hasn't kept pace with increasing demand. Indeed, annual US output has been stagnant at 19 trillion cubic feet since 1995, even though demand has continued to climb.

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan recently and correctly highlighted the "contradictory federal policy" of simultaneously driving up demand while restricting new supply. Try as it might, Congress can't repeal the law of supply and demand. Congress must act now to ensure a diverse and flexible supply of energy, encourage conservation by all energy users, and create incentives to develop renewable energy sources that are economically competitive...

But with suply problems looming as early as this winter, Congress and the administration must do even more if we are to avoid another spike in natural gas prices -- and the choking off of the economic recovery. A sound energy policy will place the US on the path to a reliable and affordable supply of domestic energy...An immediate return to a diversified and robust energy mix -- not a single fuel for growth -- is essential, including the full range of traditional and alternative energy sources. Innovation in new technology and renewable energy sources are needed in the long term to improve the environment and meet rising demand. Better energy efficiency and reduction in the energy intensity of processes and equipment will help balance supply and demand...

Today's natural gas crisis was largely created by government policy and now must be solved by government policy. It requires immediate action by our elected leaders -- for our nation's sake.

6) Viscount Ilya Prigogine 1917-2003
Belle Dumé, Science Writer at PhysicsWeb, 30 May 2003 http://physicsweb.org/article/news/7/5/17

Ilya Prigogine, the winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on non-equilibrium thermodynamics, has died aged 86 in Brussels. At the time of his death, Prigogine was director of the International Solvay Institute for Physics and Chemistry in Brussels - a post he has held since 1959. He was also professor of physics and chemical engineering at the University of Texas where he founded the Centre for Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. This centre was later named after him.

Ilya Prigogine was born in Moscow in 1917. He moved to Germany with his family in 1921, and then to Belgium eight years later. He graduated with a PhD in chemistry from the Université Libre in Brussels in 1941 and remained there to continue with his research in thermodynamics.

Prigogine is best known for extending the second law of thermodynamics to systems that are far from equilibrium, and demonstrating that new forms of ordered structures could exist under such conditions. Prigogine called these 'dissipative structures' because they cannot exist independently of their environment. According to the second law of thermodynamics, ordered systems disintegrate into disordered ones. However, Prigogine showed that the formation of dissipative structures allows order to be created from disorder in non-equilibrium systems. These structures have since been used to describe phenomena such as the growth of cities and the physics of car traffic.

Prigogine received many awards and prizes during his life, including the Medaille d'Or (France) and the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun (Japan). He wrote almost a thousand research articles and many books, which include "Order out of Chaos" (1989) and "The End of Certainty" (1997).

Forwarded from a nonprofit organization specializing in innovation in new energy technology: