Produced by WFYI & Purdue College of Engineering
Other pieces by WFYI
Denis Du Bois
Posted on October 11, 2010 at 01:12 AM
Three years, a new Administration, and the stimulus bill have changed many aspects of the energy conundrum. Still, many of these technologies face the same technical and policy challenges that Barbara Bogaev outlined so clearly in this program in 2007.
"After Oil" is an excellent survey of petroleum substitute technologies, explained in sober and realistic terms. It will warrant an update when Congress passes its next energy legislation. That policy package will answer Barbara's question:
"We have the tools. But do we have the will? Do we have the determination?"
Posted on August 08, 2007 at 11:41 AM
After hearing a promo on the radio, I was looking forward to the program. In the end I found myself deeply disappointed by more or less the entire program. For the most part, it seemed to be cheer leading for technologies of one sort or another, which would tend to minimize the technical challenges that are still unsolved.
For example, they talk about carbon sequestration, and how they can capture all of the CO2. Wrong. If you make liquid fuels and burn it in an internal combustion engine, CO2 still comes out the tailpipe. Secondly, many experts now believe that sequestration simply isn't feasible on the scale that would be required to address global warming.
They talk about ethanol as if it is some sort of solution. They don't talk about the huge energy inputs and limited amounts of feedstock that are available, which lead many to conclude that this is really a diversion. Good discussion here:
They talk about hydrogen as if it is some sort of solution, neglecting the fact that it is currently made from natural gas, a non-renewable fossil fuel, and the making of the hydrogen causes CO2 to be emitted. Yes, in theory it can be made by splitting water, but in reality there are large losses in converting electricity to compressed hydrogen. You would be far better off with a simple battery powered car. Many experts say that this is 30-50 years in the future. If ever.
In the end, this type of program tends to plant the idea in people's minds that whatever problems exist, people are working on them, and that the general public can blissfully continue on with life as usual.
Want a sober and in my opinion far more realistic assessment of where humanity finds itself today? Rent the documentary "A Crude Awakening".
Posted on July 31, 2007 at 04:47 PM
This is a slick, entertaining and informative production about one of our nation's and the world's greatest challenges. I personally learned a lot about the history, the issues and the options regarding our dependence on fossil fuels. Although the piece lays out the not-so-easy-to-hear facts, it provides cause for hope in the numerous options available.
This program is well-researched, written and produced in an engaging, sometimes entertaining style, that helps to clarify the issues and keep the content from becoming too dry and technical.
Barbara Bogaev, known to many as a fill-in host on "Fresh Air" and as one of the original hosts of American Public Media's "Weekend America," does an excellent job of delivering the script in a comfortable and personable style. The production is nicely mixed and edited using a variety of techniques to keep up the pace and maintain listener interest, including: original interview clips, archival film clip audio and appropriate music.
As a one-hour program, this show is "Program Director friendly," offering a newscast cutaway and two :60 station breaks following a standard NPR-style clock. Easy to work into a news/talk format as a weekend special or a holiday replacement.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR PROGRAM DIRECTORS: This is a production of Purdue University's Engineering Department and it includes Purdue experts. This Purdue involvement is clearly stated throughout the show, solving my own personal concerns about "disclosure" issues. In addition, the producers did a good job of including other experts from MIT, Harvard and from the oil and energy industries. The "Purdue connection" is obvious to me as a listener and I hope also to most of our public radio listeners. PDs will have to judge for yourselves whether this is a problem.
Posted on June 22, 2007 at 08:05 AM
Really good piece. It covered the issue widely and even presented options that I hadn't heard anywhere else. Highly rec!