This Author has been reviewing the elements of the Bush energy plan, if One can call it that! The overwhelming aspect of all proposals consists of innate failure without alteration of current technologies. Ethanol and nuclear energy cannot meet the total Demand generated by the American economy under current technological practice.
This Author has been thinking of a new vehicle motor, utilizing a solid fuel. It could be remarkedly similar to the current usage engines, simply needing the addition of a centralized combustion chamber, then using the traditional Value-Piston-Crankshift system of present motors. The fuel would be a variation of Plastic explosive, but one which will only burn in the presense of oxygen and a electrical current spark. The speed of operation would be controlled by oxygen flow, the burn pattern only occurring upon one side of the fuel block. The Fuel blocks themselves could be produced in mass quantities with only a fraction of the content consisting of Natural Gas (hopefully about 11% of total mass).
I have said for years that nuclear fuel elements has to be designed for safe usage--on the order of Computer chips. They must be designed to perclude Meltdown even under exposed to Air conditions, a simple method of introducing Damper rods, and low radiation levels for easy transport and operation of reactors. The primary Mindset which must be altered is the Concept of huge nuclear plants. These Plants require huge Cooling facilities and huge Pressures in energy generation. Designed Fuel Cells could allow for marginal radiation levels, low Steam pressures for generation, and normal levels of electric generation. The End-Goal (probably never realizable) would be a entire nuclear power generator which could be transported on a large Truck bed, and simply plugged in; One which could even endure Traffic accident without adverse leakage or threat.
The Concepts related here may seem unrealizable, but they are not far from what We can attain technologically; We needing only the impetus to develop rational Power strategies. Americans are addicted to large-scale Projects in everything on which the Economy and Society focuses. This will be Our downfall, at least in the arena of Energy. We need simple, small, self-regulating systems if We desire to win the Energy War. It can be done! lgl