Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Geopolitics-free Research Into Energy Alternatives

In a recent article----
Gulf Oil States Seeking a Lead in Clean Energy
Published: January 12, 2009

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — With one of the highest per capita carbon footprints in the world, these oil-rich emirates would seem an unlikely place for a green revolution.

Gasoline sells for 45 cents a gallon. There is little public transportation and no recycling. Residents drive between air-conditioned apartments and air-conditioned malls, which are lighted 24/7.

Still, the region’s leaders know energy and money, having built their wealth on oil. They understand that oil is a finite resource, vulnerable to competition from new energy sources.

So even as President-elect Barack Obama talks about promoting green jobs as America’s route out of recession, gulf states, including the emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are making a concerted push to become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy.

They are aggressively pouring billions of dollars made in the oil fields into new green technologies. They are establishing billion-dollar clean-technology investment funds. And they are putting millions of dollars behind research projects at universities from California to Boston to London, and setting up green research parks at home.

“Abu Dhabi is an oil-exporting country, and we want to become an energy-exporting country, and to do that we need to excel at the newer forms of energy,” said Khaled Awad, a director of Masdar, a futuristic zero-carbon city and a research park that has an affiliation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that is rising from the desert on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. *****

The world is now consuming 80 million barrels of oil a day, and that could continue to rise steeply over the coming decades if population and consumption trends continue. That could mean having to add six Saudi Arabias worth of oil output just to keep up, according to Mr. Barker-Homek, at a time when scientists are warning that carbon levels need to be cut significantly to avoid potentially disastrous global warming.
For the rest of the world, the enormous cash infusion may provide the important boost experts say is needed to get dozens of emerging technologies — like carbon capture, microsolar and low-carbon aluminum — over the development hump to make them cost-effective.
“The impact has been enormous,” said Michael McGehee, the associate professor at Stanford who received the $25 million Saudi grant. “It has greatly accelerated the development process.”

Director of the largest solar cell research group in the world, Professor McGehee had tried and failed to get money from the United States government or American industries to commercialize cheaper solar cells. Research money is tight, he noted.

With the Saudi money he has hired 16 new researchers and expects the new energy cells to dominate the market by 2015. “People are astonished to see how big this grant is and where it came from,” he said, noting that his past grants from the United States government were one-fiftieth that amount.

Experts say the vast investments from the gulf states have already restarted stalled environmental technologies.

Hooray for them!!!! They are trying to solve problems. Why can't we do that here????? But we can, and for how we can, please see for a totally sustainable, totally green energy free of emissions and more cost effective than even the alternatives already available.

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