University of Kentucky CAER Home

CAER Seminars

Myths of Alternative Energies

Speaker:
Robert W. Thompson
WPI
Worcester, MA

Date:
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 3:00 pm
Ben Bandy Conference Center
UK Center for Applied Energy Research

Abstract:
Issues regarding the US and worldwide energy problems are in the news every day. Projected shortages of some energy forms, as well as carbon emissions and the associated global climate change, appear to be in conflict, and are debated fiercely in some quarters. The growing human population demands increasing amounts of various forms of energy, and increasing standards of living worldwide require increased energy to satisfy those improvements to the human condition. Projections of “peak oil” have caused concern about the longevity of our way of life, and have prompted research into numerous alternatives to burning fossil fuels, including increased emphasis on conservation.

In this presentation, we’ll explore the nature of the “energy crisis,” and review several proposed alternative energies that are being promoted. The concept of the energy balance in evaluating some of these alternatives will be explained. Land utilization will be discussed in the context of bio-fuels as alternatives to petro-fuels. And, lastly, the wisdom of personal investments in some of these alternative energy technologies will be considered.