Oil shortage, alternative fuels, energy policies topics for fuel symposium, Aug. 24

08/17/04

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 24 -- Gas prices are up. The threat of global warming grows. Now, a noted scientist predicts that world oil production will peak on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, and warns that the current energy crisis may be the leading edge of a global economic crisis. As concerns over energy issues escalate, many critical questions emerge: What are our options for fuels of the future? How long will it take to develop these options? What role will chemistry play? A daylong special Presidential Symposium: "Fuels for the Future: Leading the Way with Chemistry," will feature more than a dozen experts from industry, academia and government who will address these and other timely issues related to our energy challenges, including questions of supply and demand, technological challenges and energy policies.

The symposium begins at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 24, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 114. Highlights from the symposium are described below:

Current energy crisis may signal bigger problems around the corner, warns scientist -- Geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, predicts that world oil production will peak on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, and production rates will subsequently fall. As he argues in his book, "Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage," this decline could spur a global economic crisis, the likes of which the world has never seen. Deffeyes now claims that the current spike in energy prices may just be the leading edge of this crisis. His presentation is part of a daylong Presidential symposium, "Fuels for the Future: Leading the Way with Chemistry." (FUEL 112, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 9:05 a.m.)

Nobel laureate says energy may be single most critical challenge facing humanity -- While researchers have known for some time that new energy sources will be required within the next few decades in order to achieve and sustain a modern lifestyle increasingly dependent on declining energy resources, daunting challenges remain. Where will the new power come from? How will we transport, store and transform it? Who will make the necessary scientific and engineering breakthroughs? Can it be done cheaply? These and other questions will be addressed by chemist Richard E. Smalley, Ph.D., a professor at Rice University in Texas and winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry, who calls energy the single most critical challenge facing humanity this century. (FUEL 113, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 9:40 a.m.)

Fuels for the future: Chemistry leads the way -- What role will chemistry play in meeting the world's energy challenges? Let us count the ways: Cleaner transportation fuels from biomass; new ways to produce electricity from the sun, wind and heat of the earth; using hydrogen to provide fuel for transportation, electricity and heat; and more. Stanley R. Bull, Ph.D., Associate Director for Science and Technology for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will discuss the critical and changing role of chemistry in meeting the growing energy needs of the future. (FUEL 114, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 10:15 a.m.)

Fuels for the future: Global perspective -- How will other nations and regions of the world handle issues such as balancing fuel resource development with environmental stewardship? What role will America play in the world context? Shirley Neff, senior advisor for Goldwyn International Strategies and Vice President of the U.S. Association of Energy Economics, will address these and other questions related to the global perspective on fuels for the future. (FUEL 115, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 10:50 a.m.)

Fuel and energy policy: Meeting the challenge -- The National Commission on Energy Policy intends to propose a series of measures that are needed to improve the nation's long-range energy position, with recommendations available in a final report of the Commission scheduled for release in late 2004 or early 2005. Drew Kodjak, Program Director of the National Commission on Energy Policy, will address issues being considered by the Commission, such as what key energy technologies deserve greater public and private investment and how to ensure adequate future supplies of clean energy. (FUEL 116, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 11:25 a.m.)

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multidisciplinary membership of more than 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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