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1. M. Bier la "Future Space Programs - 1975", p. 3, Committee on Science

and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Government Printing Office No. 052-070-02891-2, 1975.


R. S. Sayder, M. Bier, R. N. Griffin, A. J. Johnson, H. Leidheiser, Jr., F. J. Micale, S. Ross and C. J. van Oss: Separation and Purification Methods, 2:259, 1973.

3. M. Bier, J. 0. N. Hinckley and A. J. K. Smolka: XXII Colloquium Protides

Biological Fluids, H. Peeters, ed., p. 673, Pergoman Press, N. Y., 1975.

4. R. S. Soyder and R. E. Allen in "Materials Sciences in Space with Appli

cation to Space Processing", L. Steg, ed., p. 399, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1977.

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J. Giannovario and R. N. Griffin, submitted to J. Chromatography.

9. M. Bier, A.J.K. Smolka, A. Kopwillem and S. Ostrach, J. Colloid Interface

Sci. 55:197, 1976.


A. Strickler, ALAA Paper No. 77-233, 15th Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, January 24-26, 1977.

11. D. R. Morrison: "Bioprocessing in Space", NASA TM X-58191, Houston,

Texas, 1977.




January 20, 1978

Dear Congressman Teague:

I am pleased to respond to your request for my viewpoints relative to the issues and opportunities associated with our future national space program.

I, of course, feel that increasing emphasis must be placed on the utilization of space for the benefits of mankind, including services such as earth Observation and communications. However, the issue of energy has become so critical to the economic survival of our country that I have chosen to limit our response to a paper on how space systems can contribute in this area.

Let me know if there is any other way I can help.


Ollie Beila


The Honorable Olin E. Teague
Chairman, Committee on Science

and Technology
U. S. House of Representatives
Suite 2321, Rayburn Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20515



D. L. Gregory, The Boeing Aerospace Company


Today's newspaper headlines make it evident that our nation is plunging ever deeper into an economic crisis brought about by global energy depletion and our dependence on energy supplies in the hands of an international cartel. Increasing energy costs are reflected by increasing prices for food and industrial products; these price rises are evident as inflation.

Although energy conservation is a necessary expedient to buy time, what is required in addition is a national energy solution to reestablish a sound economy. Desirable characteristics of such a solution include non-depletability, domestic availability, abundance, environmental acceptability, low cost and a short development/implementation program.

There is abundant energy in the universe; it streams past our planet from that giant, existing, fusion reactor, the Sun. Solar power satellites can tap this energy. These power plants in space would beam energy to earth and provide baseload electric power from ground receivers.

Solar power satellites meet all the requirements for a national energy solution. Their implementation would promote the economic stability of the United States. They can be installed on a scale to provide electrical capacity as large as may be foreseeably required. Their environmental impact may be the lowest of any currently envisionable energy source.

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Solar power satellite electrical energy may relatively quickly achieve a price of only kilowatt hour; with additional development the price from new satellites might be only 2 cents per kilowatt hour by the early 21st century. This is well below the eventual costs of energy from fossil fuels. Solar power satellites require no fuel. Their useful lifetime, with appropriate maintenance, is indefinite. Thus, after amortization of the original capital cost the energy price can be extremely low, perhaps 1 cent per kilowatt hour.

The United States should move forward with a technical verification program, including in-space tests using the space shuttle. The cost of this program is modest in comparison with expenditures on other energy alternatives and with the economic potential of solar power satellites.

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D. L. Gregory, The Boeing Aerospace Company

Figure 1 summarizes our current problem. We obtain energy primarily from fossil fuels and import approximately half of the oil we use. To do so we now pay approximately $45 billion per year. The result is a severe impact on our national balance of payments. The price to us of this energy is constantly increasing, partly due to growing fuel scarcity and partly due to the actions of the international oil cartel. Energy is fundamental in the production of almost every product we use. For example, food production is dependent upon tractors and fertilizers, which both require energy. When the price of this energy increases, it is natural that the price of food will increase. Manufactured goods require energy for the factories that produce them. When the price of energy increases, so must the price of the goods, etc., with the result that increasing energy cost drives national inflation.

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Figure 2 shows the historical price for three primary fossil fuels: natural gas, crude oil, and bituminous coal. Inflation is not included in this fuel price trend (all of the figures have been adjusted by appropriate deflator values). The impact on a commodity (electricity) is shown on the right. Costs of investment, operation and maintenance, etc., are shown as constant, but the increasing cost of fuel directly impacts the retail U.S. electric price as shown. Of course this simple chart cannot show the feedback effect as increasing energy cost raises the cost for new equipment in the electrical power plants.

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What will halt this cost trend? Historically, cartels have been broken in two ways: war or technological innovation (new or better products are produced by corporations outside of the cartel and break the cartel by competition). With this in mind, is there a solution on the horizon? It would appear that the price to us of these imported fossil fuels can continue to climb almost indefinitely, until at some future point either the fuels are consumed, we undergo an economic breakdown, or some other undesirable event (such as war) occurs.

Ours is not the first energy crisis; they have occurred before. In England in the 16th century wood had been used to such an extent that it could no longer provide the energy basis for the operation of the economy. Coal was the replacement. When coal first began to be used in that time period it was considered a very unsatisfactory solution and was adopted reluctantly. However, within 100 years, the use of coal provided the basis for the industrial revolution that helped England achieve a dominant position in the World. Coal remained king until early in the 20th century when, with the lead of the United States, oil and natural gas (rather convenient energy forms) took over and the United States established a superior economic position. Now, as all fossil fuels become less abundant, what should be the course not only for the United States but for the world? Today's crisis may become similar to war in its impact. Decisions made now could affect the economic health of our nation almost as major strategy decisions impact the future of a nation during war. Conservation has been proposed as a solution. However, it is probably no more than a stop-gap. Conservation can do no more than extend the life of depletable energy sources.

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