Alternative Transportation Fuels: The New Technology Menu
Rising oil demand and import dependence are the main driving forces behind the consideration of alternative energy sources. Increasingly, environmental, national security and foreign policy concerns are drawing attention to nonconventional transportation fuels. The much-mentioned hydrogen economy will not make sufficient inroads in the United States to cause a significant reduction in the liquid fuels demand in the near- to mid-term. Therefore, we expect that the number of alternative fuels for transportation will grow substantially in the coming years to meet growing demand and to replace petroleum-based gasoline.
This increased demand may be met by expanding the fuel choices available for cars and trucks and also by applying new technologies to passenger vehicle design. Alternative fuels may include ethanol (including those from non-corn sources), biodiesel, synfuels, gas-to-liquids, coal-to-liquids, other biomass options or some combination thereof. Car and truck design will expand to utlize existing technologies to create hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid, natural gas, fuel cell, battery and flexible-fuel engines. We anticipate that while the fuel mix and the associated vehicles will become more diverse, and perhaps complicated, they will be based on the existing infrastructure used for gasoline today.
The event featured presentations by leading MIT faculty and energy researchers on some of the most promising new energy technologies emerging from MIT labs.
- Dr. John Hamre, president, CSIS
- Dr. Susan Hockfield, president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Dr. Ernest J. Moniz, Cecil and Ida Green professor of physics and
engineering systems; co-director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment
Transportation Technologies: Drive Train, Batteries, and Fuel Cells:
- John Heywood, director, Sloan Automotive Laboratory; Sun Jae professor of mechanical engineering
- Gerbrand Ceder, R.P. Simmons professor of materials science and engineering
- Yang Shao Horn, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Electricity: Coal and Carbon Sequestration, the Future of Nuclear Power, and Solar Technology:
- Howard Herzog, principal research engineer, Laboratory for Energy and the Environment
- Mujid Kazimi, professor of nuclear and mechanical engineering
- Vladimir Bulovic, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science
- Dr. Douglas Arent, director, Strategic Analysis, NREL