Fusion Power Associates
2 Professional Drive, Suite 248
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
phone: (301) 258-0545
fax: (301) 975-9869
e-mail: FusionPwrAssoc@aol.com
web: http://fusionpower.org

| FPA Home | FPN's | Directory | Calendar | Join FPA! |

FPN ARCHIVES: | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | budget history |


Energy Options for the Future Discussed

April 28, 2004

A meeting was held March 11-12, 2004 at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory to discuss Energy Options for the Future. The meeting was coordinated by Steve Obenschain (Head, Laser Fusion Program, US Naval Research Laboratory) and John Sheffield (Director Emeritus, Joint Institute for Energy and Environment, University of Tennessee). The talks, presented by experts from many fields, have been posted at http://other.nrl.navy.mil/EnergyOptions/

In addition to opening remarks by Obenschain and a talk on Energy Projections by Sheffield, papers were presented by David Conover (Director, Climate Change Technology Program, U.S. Department of Energy), Rita Bajura (Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory), David Greene (Corporate Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Marilyn Brown (Director, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Eldon Bos (Director, Energy Analysis Office, National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Kathryn McCarthy (Director, Nuclear Science and Engineering, Idaho National Energy and Environment Laboratory), David Christian (Senior VP, Dominion Resources, Inc.), Gerald Kulcinski (Director, Fusion Technology Institute, University of Wisconsin), and Stephen Dean (President, Fusion Power Associates).

A major theme of the meeting was the international character of all the issues, including the relationships between energy sources, social stability, and economic security. Climate change issues were also a common theme of the discussions of the various energy supply options.

One major concern expressed was that, though there is not currently a lack of energy resources globally, these resources are unevenly distributed and, as used today, cause too much pollution. Another concern is the estimated trillions of dollars of new capital investment that will be required in the relatively near future, where this capital will come from, and how it will be made available in those geographical areas most in need.

Sheffield noted that world population is expected to grow from around 6 billion today to around 8-14 billion by the end of the century and that an increase in per capita energy use will be needed to raise the standard of living in the countries of the developing and transitional parts of the world. He noted that a shift has already begun, from a situation wherein the majority of Mid-East oil used to go to Europe and the U.S., to a situation where today 60% of that oil is going to Asia. "The requirement to reduce carbon emissions to prevent undesirable changes in the global climate will have a major impact on the deployment of energy sources and technologies," Sheffield said.

Technological progress was noted on many fronts, including reductions in pollution from fossil sources, improved economics of unconventional oil recovery, enhancements in energy efficiency, improved economics of renewable energy sources, improved designs of nuclear power plants, and the potential for fusion power.

David Conover noted a U. S. Climate Change Technology Program document, "Research and Current Activities," which he said discussed the $3 billion being spent in the U.S. on all areas relevant to climate change. He said this was distributed approximately as follows: Energy Efficiency (34%), Deployment (17%), Hydrogen (11%), Fission (10%), Fusion (9%), Renewables (8%), Future Generation (8%), and Carbon Sequestration (3%). He said that power production today is dominated by fossil fuels: 51% coal, 16% natural gas, and 3% petroleum.