We must focus on well-defined numerical
goals: minimize the expectation value of the amount of gasoline and natural gas
we NEED to use in the
2. Critical needs are about equally in the hands of Congress (law, regulation) and in the hands of
technology funding agencies. We also need a mandate to put more time into discussions about international deals and linkups between other players, to facilitate their contributions.
New standards needed for “GEM” and “plug-in GEM” highway vehicles. The GEM standard must include ability to use gasoline, E85, M85, “P-series fuels” (see google!), DME and all mixes thereof – as well as compliance with strong clean air standards when using gasoline. (Misfire diagnostics, idle control, cold start – previous standards later weakened.) GEM-plus requires GEM plus 10kwh battery in a plug-in hybrid car. Like “Energy Star” these should come with visible strong logos to assist marketing
By hook or by crook, we need to get GEM cars on the road, to the mass market, as fast as we can.
For 100% flexibility by 2025, new cars must be 100% flexible by 2010 – which is technically feasible, according to every expert I talk to (including very key engineers in the industry). We don’t have time to waste. Logic suggests we need an “open standards” rule; the word “mandates” blurs the fact that GEM is cheaper and easier to comply with than HDTV open standards, and that it opens up competition and value to the nation far more than the HDTV standards. However, given the huge stress on Ford and GM today, it
be just as good to give them cash back, in effect, at a huge amount -- $300 per
car for GEM, rising to $600 for GEM to bona fide rental fleets, to drop to $200
when 50% of the cars meet this, and so on. A one-time boost, still less
expensive than that last energy bill. And $3000 for GEM-plus, to cover the
$2000 cost of big batteries from
We also need fuel flexibility in gas stations, soon, though not quite so urgent. If gas tanks in gas stations met the same hydrocarbon standards that cars are required to meet, the rest wouldn’t cost so much. Maybe even MBTE mixes should be allowed in gas stations that comply with a tough version of GEM standards for gas stations.
national GEM, plug-in GEM and GE standards for highway vehicles are
well-defined, the Federal government should give the States the clear power to
create their own open standards, incemtives or procurement based on those
In effect, this gives them a menu of four types of cars to decide on –
conventional, GE, GEM and plug-in GEM. For example, if
Needs For New R&D Funding Activities
1. Urgent Topics Requiring a Broad Net and New Arrangements
There are actually many unmet critical needs, even as some areas are overfunded. As I look at what is most urgent, on the “critical path” of energy security in 2025, I would highlight five specific topics, where
where more aggressive, more agile funding at a relatively low level – focused on universities and small businesses --could make a huge difference:
See www.werbos.com/energy_strategy.htm for more detailed technical discussion of these and other important options.
Congress is currently discussing an idea called
“ARPA-E” to fill in some of these possibilities. In my personal opinion,
they are right to conclude that there is no existing
and e-commerce tools, overseen by technically deep people committed to the larger goal. Even DARPA proper makes heavy use of “agents.”
Congress also points out rightly that there are very important capabilities and brilliant people in the DOE National Labs (and the NASA Labs) – though they aren’t always the ones who get the most attention and support. Thus it might be possible to insert special rules allowing them to compete here too, in addition to whatever happens along more conventional channels.
There are several crucial unmet opportunities that could be met through venues such as nanotechnology or cyberinfrastructure. Most urgently, as Dowling has proposed, we may need to develop new tools for quantum mechanical computer modeling that tries to fully reflect the integrated predictions of quantum field theory, coherence and statistical effects, and thermodynamics, to allow us to simulate systems built up from nanopatterned materials. This would make it possible to do credible design and evaluation work at a relatively low cost – in an open competitive way – for key enabling technologies such as new lasers and energy scavenging chips, and others, within the scope of nanotechnology.
DARPA and the Air Force have crucial and highly urgent roles to play in
developing the dual-use space vehicle, based on near-term technology, which
would make space solar power a very serious near-term option for cheap 24-hour
electricity if the laser design effort works out. (Again, see www.werbos.com/energy_strategy.htm
for the big picture, and www.werbos.com/space.htm
for technical details.) Indeed, DARPA itself – working with ONR – could perhaps
“plug the most urgent hole” regarding