Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil

Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil

by Robert Zubrin

In this compelling argument for a new direction in US energy policy, world-renowned engineer and best-selling author Robert Zubrin lays out a bold plan for breaking the economic stranglehold that the OPEC oil cartel has on our country and the world.

He argues that if Congress passed a law requiring that all new cars sold in the USA be flex-fueledthat is, able to run on any combination of gasoline or alcohol fuelsthis one action would destroy the monopoly that the oil cartel has maintained on the globes transportation fuel supply, opening it up to competition from alcohol fuels produced by farmers worldwide.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science
  • Rating: 3.53
  • Pages: 336
  • Publish Date: October 31st 2007 by Prometheus Books
  • Isbn10: 1591025915
  • Isbn13: 9781591025917

Read the Book "Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil" Online

A federal mandate that all new cars be flex-fuel, able to run off of ethanol and methanol in addition to gasoline. I picked up the book because I share his goal; after reading it I'm convinced in his approach. Zubrin's explanation for flex-fuel footdragging in DC is also inadequate. A flex-fuel mandate would effectively remove this financial fillip, making carmakers more opposed to a mandate than they would be otherwise.

As someone on my friends list who reviewed the book said (and my apologies if I've got the phrasing wrong), the plan seems to be approximately technically correct but really doesn't supply a convincing reason as to why someone would like to travel to Mars, never mind (as Zubrin suggests) colonize it.

While the world will probably never reach a point where fossil fuel resources such as oil become unnecessary, there are so many good reasons to support an agriculturally rooted alcohol industry. Methanol and ethanol can be produced anywhere in the world, helping to bring poor nations out of poverty, providing increased supplies of fuel for growing worldwide demand, and creating price-suppressing competitors to cartel controlled oil producers. While there are numerous cases where Zubrin shows his leanings as far as corruption in Washington and the War on Terror, the basis of his plan has nothing to do with politics. The one thing that Zubrin glosses over a bit is the impractibility of actually converting biomass into methanol or ethanol. Current projections indicate that to make cellulosic ethanol production competitive, biomass needs to be grown within 15 miles of ethanol plants. Microbial and plant genetic engineering, and chemical and industrial engineering will solve these limitations and Zubrin's plan will come to pass.

He suggest using both Ethanol (but admits to replace all USA oil consumption would require all 4x current agricultural output) and methanol. It is about as energy dense as gasoline (and 2/3 as much as ethanol). When this book was written Gas was at $3.00, so Methanol was very competitive. Then oil prices skyrocketed in 1979 and then the market share of ethanol cars went to 30%. Hydrogen creates a lot of energy by mixing with Oxygen, so you need energy to separate it.) The problem of the book is the politics and economics.

This is not a new hypothesis, but what makes Zubrin's choice somewhat unique is his choice of alcohol. The "flex fuel" options would add a few hundred dollars to the price of a new car.

In fact, any high sugar plant can be utilized to produce ethanol.

He then proposes realizable solutions that require zero R&D to implement before addressing broader green topics.