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February 10, 1980 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-10
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Page 8-Sunday; February 10, 1980-The Michigan Daily




(Continued from Page 7)
And even if by some miracle we find
more oil in the country than expected,
the rate at which it could be made
available would depend upon
exploration rates, production rates and
refinery capacity.
However, America will contihue to
have a need for "mobility fuels" such
as gasoline and aviation fuels, and
although domestic reserves of coal,
nuclear and hydropower are sufficient
to meet growing electricity needs, in
their present form they are insufficient
to meet our needs for transportation.
Coal is an abundant resource and our
ultimate reserves of it contain about 25
times the energy of our ultimate reser-
ves of oil. The United States has about
one-third of the world's proven reser-
ves, and future discoveries are expec-
ted to add to that amount. Coal could
satisfy our total energy needs from 80 to
1000 years, depending upon our con-
sumption rates.
There are many problems in
developing this resource, however.
Most reserves exist on public lands in
the Western United States, and no one
really enjoys digging a mountain apart.
Also, the problem of transporting coal
to consuming areas cannot be solved
The nation's richest supplies of oil

shale are located in Colorado, Utah and
Wyoming. Our proven resources of high
grade shale, which when processed is
nearly identical to crude oil products,
are half as great as our proven coal
reserves. There are very large deposits
of low grade oil shale distributed across
the country, but developing these
resources would mean tearing apart
vast stretches of virgin lands.
Coal and oil shale represent very
large energy potentials compared to
oil. Nuclear energy is seriously limited
unless breeder technology is developed.
Using breeders, ultimate reserves of
uranium and coal are about the same.
Solar radiation is practically an
inexhaustable source of energy.
THE PICTURE painted above is
much more reassuring than
what actually exists. Current
automobiles and trucks cannot use
coal, nuclear or solar energy directly.
Present heat engines have been
designed to use liquid fuels produced
from petroleum. The problem remains
of how to best use these resources for
transportation uses.
A recent summary of the 1975 resear-
ch and development expenditures of the
22 largest United States oil companies
provides- a good indication of their
alternative fuels efforts. Their total

research and development budget was
applied to about:
" 60 per cent to oil and natural gas;
" almost 10 per cent to coal;
" about 4 per cent each to oil shale
and nuclear energy, and;
" almost 20 per cent devoted to con-
servation and pollution control. Further
assurances that the big oil companies
are delving into the alternative fuels
market can be obtained by noting the
number of oil companies with massive
domestic coal holdings. Conoco alone
has coal holdings twice as large as the
total United States proven oil reserves.
Coal, oil shale, uranium, biomass and
solar radiation can be utilized and
altered to provide a myriad of fuels that
could be used for transportation pur-
poses. Of these, the gas hydrogen has
the highest energy content per unit
mass of any other fuel. It can be
produced by chemical reaction using
energy from either coal or nuclear
sources. Hydrogen does not appear to be
a likely alternative. It is difficult to cart
around enough of the gas for extended
Use of the alcohols ethanol and
methanol for transportation purposes
has been frequently proposed due to
motivations to find new uses for farm
products. The alcohols are the
"hamburger helpers" of the alternative


(Continued from Page 9)
she has gained in 11 years of
competition, "but by no means am I a
shoe-in," she claims. "Everything
rides on one meet to make the Olympic
There are, of course, many other
University and local athletes who have
qualified for the trials. Most, however,
have very little chance at the real thing,
according to coaches and track and
field publications. With all the time and

effort they've donated to their Olympic
training, however, it's no surprise that
the athletes would be disappointed if
they didn't make the team.
"I would be disappointed, sure, but I
would also have the satisfaction of
knowing that one time or another I was
among the best high jumpers in the
nation. But a part of me would be
disappointed. I have a competitive
edge," Lattany says.
While some of the athletes may
continue to train vigorously for 1984

Olympics if they fail at this year's
trials, some are definitely ready to give
up on the intense competition. "I think
it would take some type of impetus,
something new, to get me back into it, a
different direction. I'd like to run the
four-minute mile, which I haven't done
yet, but I know it is within my grasp ...
maybe marathoning," says runner
So- even while they're training,and
even though they'd be genuinely
regretful if they failed to make the
team, most of the University athletes
acknowledge that the competition and
political situation set the odds against
them. Their plans for post-college lives,
sans Olympics fever, are still tentative,
Diver Machemer, sitting at poolside
with his hair still damp from a workout,
predicts, "There are going to be trips
to Europe and other international
meets. I'm just in it to dive and have
fun." While the Olympics has been a
focus in Bachman's life, she says she
also concentrates on more tangible
goals such as college diving and the
national competitions. She graduates in
three semesters but plans to keep
diving. "I can really see myself diving
for four more years... If I can support
myself and do that, I will." When she
will retire and what she plans to do
after graduation are also undecided .
questions for Weinstein. "I don't have'
to make a four year commitment now,"
she says.

fuels groups, Most suggested ap-
plications revolve around using either
ethanol or methanol as a gasoline ad-
ditive. Production capacity for
widespread automotive use of either
fuel could not be available for several
years. Additionally, the costs of
producing these fuels is much higher
than the cost of producing gasoline.
Testing of gasoline-alcohol mixtures
indicates that extensive changes will
have to be made to future automobiles
to make them compatible to the new
fuel. In California, mechanics were
puzzled, by a carburetor part that
bloated when exposed to methanol and
a "gooey coffee colored mess" that took
over the engine after they were filled
with a gasoline-ethanol blend.
Despite these drawbacks, the poten-
tial from producing alcohols from
either coal or biomass, combined with a
high octane number and low poisonous
emmissions, makes them very attrac-
Synthetic gasoline and' diesel fuel
practically identical to products
derived from crude oil can be made
from either oil shale or coal. During the
final days of Nazi Germany, that coun-
try's automotive fuel needs were met
by coal derivatives. Today, South
Africa employes a similar process in
order to avoid the need for large
petroleum imports.
Occidental Oil Company maintains
one of the most advanced oil shale plan-
ts in the nation. In ten years of
operation, this plant has produced
60,000 barrels of oil. To meet current oil
needs in the country, that same amount
would have to be produced every day.
At any rate, don't expect to see many
of these products on the market for at
least seven to ten years from now.
There is a long time lag between the
initial decision to construct a plant and
producing the final product.
"If we decided yesterday for some
reason that we would switch our
automotive energy needs from gasoline
to electricity by 1990," explains
Chrysler's Heinen, "we're already too
late. If we decided to use a multiplicity
of fuels, then perhaps we could make
the necessary changes - to the vehicles
on time."
According to Ford researcher Grat-
ch, if the oil companies began produc-
tion of synfuels today, mass consum-
ption wouldn't begin until 1988 or 1990.
Just how soon will the Detroit
automakers begin producing ears and
trucks compatible to the new
generation of fuels? "The industry
needs five to six years lead time to get
into production," Gratch continues,
"the oil industries need even more time
than that. We'll play a waiting game for
a while. Whether we take the plunge or
not . . . we will first have to be convin-
ced that the oil companies will be able
to deliver the fuels they are talking
about now in mass quantities. We'll
produce the new generation of cars just
as soon as they are needed."





Elisa Isaacson

RJ Smith

The perils of a
frustrated writer

The synfuels Singer (

question examined

love after 3


Cover photograph by Paul Engstrom

Supplement to The'Michigan Doily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, February 10, 1980

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