Sunday, January 6, 2008

Energy Victory: A review

Energy Victory

Winning the War on Terror

by Robert Zubrin

Review by Ralph Buttigieg

Every time we fill a car's tank with petrol we are helping someone who wants to kill us. That's the central issue of the war on terror. Even if not a drop of Australia's oil comes from OPEC countries our demand keeps prices up and help fills the treasury of Islamist terrorists.

Rocket scientist Robert Zubrin has the guts to clearly expose the problem and propose a radical but simple solution. He outlines the rise of the Saudi royal family and shows how oil rich Saudis have corrupted Western governments. How their influence in Washington effect American foreign policy and allowed criminal Yasar Arafat to prosper . Zubrin explains how Saudi money has been used to spread their Whahhabi ideology through schools and control of media outlets. He describes how oil billions directly fund terrorist and support nuclear Iran.

However Energy Victory is more then a book on Islamist threats, he has a solution. Zubrin proposes we replace our oil dependence with alcohol. He tells how two alcohols, ethanol and methanol, can free the world from the OPEC cartel. Methanol, not just ethanol is essential because methanol unlike ethanol, can be made from any biomass including garbage. As well it can cheaply be manufactured from hydrocarbons like coal and gas.

An alcohol economy would have other advantages. Alcohol would be a cleaner fuel giving us less polluted air. As well, fuels made from agricultural products would help reduce CO2 making the global warming mob happy. Perhaps the best secondary benefit would be that by lowering their fuel cost and boasting their agricultural industries poor countries can trade themselves out of poverty.

To break free from oil he has simple plan. The United States would mandate that all new cars sold be flex-fueled, they would be able to run on whatever mixture of petrol and alcohol available. The technology is well proven and such cars are already available . In this way there would soon be millions of flex-fuel cars on the road and service stations would have the incentive to offer alcohol fuel mixtures. Motorists would have fuel choice and could purchase what ever was the best deal on the day. The OPEC countries would have no option but to drop oil prices to match the cheaper alcohol fuels. The USA would effectively take the rest of the world down the alcohol path and the oil cartel would be broken.

Zubrin is aware of the critics of alcohol fuels, he analyses those criticisms and answers them. He also attacks the proponents of Hydrogen fuels claiming its a hoax.

I don't normally read a book in a couple of days anymore, but for Energy Victory I made the time and finished it over a weekend. As an Australian I found the chapter on how Brazil moved to alcohol very relevant. We couldn't really mandate flex-fuel cars in Australia as our market is to small but I think there may be ways we can achieve energy independence. I'll write about that some other time.

Anyway I highly recommend the book.

Heres the book's website.

1 comment:

  1. Hydrogen is more than likely not a viable alternative. On energy density alone it struggles, not to mention difficulty with storage and handling. The only role I could see it being used in is in fuel cells powering some sort of ultra-efficient electric engine in a small city car or scooter. As for using it for internal combustion, I don't see it happening.

    Mick Sutcliffe.