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Bizpafoof

One of the greatest problems facing the current American society is that of energy and pollution. All of the developed countries on this planet have become absolutely reliant on electricity as a basic need and automobiles for transportation, but what many fail to realize is that the means with which we produce electricity are slowly destroying this planetís habitability. Coal and natural gas burning to produce electricity leads to massive amounts of emissions, nuclear fission creates large amounts of hazardous materials, and currently wind, solar, and hydro-electric power is not a feasible option. The other major problem is the gasoline driven internal combustion engine. The burning off of massive amounts of hydrocarbons results in a massive amount of exhaust being pumped into the atmosphere. There is a solution to the energy problem, however, and that solution is nuclear fusion and a redesigned water driven internal combustion engine.
The primary method of transportation right now is the automobile powered by the internal combustion engine. This engine was designed over a century ago with no major changes done to the mechanics of it, short of a few changes to make it slightly more efficient. The internal combustion engine, running on gasoline, has turned into quite a problem for the environment emissions-wise. An average automobile churns out just about half a pound of carbon dioxide per mile it drives. Now, for example, my car has around 47,000 miles on it. That means that in my carís lifetime, it has pumped out 11.75 tons of carbon dioxide, or about 2.35 tons per year. Now, assuming around 100 million cars driven at the same rate per year (a modest assumption) means 235 million tons of carbon dioxide is pumped into the air by the United States automobiles alone. The majority of airplanes, boats, and trains run off the same basic engine, but produce a larger amount of emissions. It is apparent that the internal combustion engine is flawed because of the waste it produces. A new power plant is absolutely essential for the environment, the economy, and the general wellbeing of the people.
One promising lead is the hydrogen fueled engine. This powerplant utilizes the elements hydrogen and oxygen to power an internal combustion engine. The only by products of this engine is water. One of the most promising concepts is the hydrolysis Ė combustion engine. The engine starts with water and via an electrolysis reaction; it splits the water into pure oxygen and hydrogen. After being injected into the engine and detonated, the water is whisked away and put back into the original water supply to be reconverted into hydrogen and oxygen. The only requirement for this powerplant is an extremely powerful alternator to maintain the electrolysis reaction and a large battery to get the engine started. Such an engine requires a lot more research before it can become a feasible powerplant that is safe to use. Oxygen and hydrogen combusting together is the same reaction that powers the space shuttle into space: this is not a fuel to be taken lightly. However, before this becomes a consumer item, research is needed to make the engine cheaper to manufacture than an internal combustion engine, to protect the system from leaks, and to make it as powerful as a gasoline driven engine.
Funding for the development of such an engine can be easily accomplished by a small tax. I use twelve gallons of gasoline per week. By adding a constant 20 cents onto the price of a gallon of gasoline, a massive amount of money could be raised per year. The main problem with the development of a new engine is that this country is still completely reliant on oil. All of the fuel stations currently supply gasoline. One of the major concerns with alternative fuel is that it will remove the need for a lot of the jobs in our society. With a water powered engine, gas stations would no longer be needed as all that would be needed would be distilled water. The entire oil industry would more or less dry up due to lack of demand, which would mean that all gasoline powered cars would become statues. This would mean everybody would need to purchase a new automobile to accommodate the high gasoline prices. Essentially, if the country plans to switch over to a new type of fuel, it needs to be a complete switch, which would require everybody to get new cars. This could be accomplished via insurance breaks for the new type of cars, tax breaks, and enough variations of the cars so that everybody can afford them.
More than half of the power plants in this country are coal burning plants and account for a large portion of the greenhouse gasses being expelled into the atmosphere. The plants heat up the coal or oil to a very high temperature and use the heat to boil water and spin a turbine, producing electricity. The products of the combustion are then released out into the atmosphere. One of the largest coal burning plants is just North of Atlanta, and it accounts for a lot of the haze that appears every once in a while. Since the whole method of producing power revolves around spinning a turbine, there must be an easier way to do it.
Some alternative power sources include wind power, hydro-electric power, and solar power. Wind power would be useful if it didnít take up so much space. The impellors have to be raised above the ground so that they encounter wind, and they cannot be lined up because of the turbulence they create. This makes them nearly useless because of the amount of space that is required to operate them. Solar panels are much the same way, requiring vast amounts of space to set them up effectively. And hydro-electric power is limited to being built along a river, making it not feasible for many locations. This leaves us with another concept for power generation: fusion.
Nuclear fusion is the process of taking more than one atom and then fusing it with another to create a brand new atom. This reaction produces a massive amount of heat which can be use to heat water to move a turbine. Scientists have successfully created sustained fusion in a laboratory, but the problem is it does not currently generate enough power to sustain itself efficiently. The key to efficient fusion is not in the method, but in the materials used. Currently hydrogen isotopes are combined together which generates quite a bit of power, but also gives off a lot of radiation. There is another reaction between hydrogen isotopes and an isotope call helium-3. This creates a nuclear fusion reaction of considerably more power than the other reactions, but the key is that it produces no radiation at all. In the event of a meltdown, there would be no radioactive disaster. The only thing that would happen is that the power plant would burn. Helium-3 is an element that is in very trace quantities on the earth because it is created on the sun and is deflected away from earth by the atmosphere. However, it is prevalent on the moon. This element has been quoted to be worth almost 250 million dollars per pound. The problem is getting to it. Money would need to be pumped into the space program to gain access to the moon and harvest the gas, which would later be sold on Earth. This would pay off the debt generated by the space program budget increase and would fund the research necessary to make a reactor to use the materials. Continual harvesting would generate an industry and would keep a constant flow of Helium-3 coming to the nuclear reactors, eliminating all need for coal and oil burning power plants due to the safety and efficiency of nuclear fusion.
This country is far too reliant on other countries for the liquid that keeps this country moving. Without oil, this country would fall apart at an incredible rate. People wouldnít be able to get to work, air travel would end, and shipping would grind to a halt. We need to become independent for the protection of our countryís interest and to curb the deterioration of the environment.

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The Final Paper: PolicyPaper_Bizpafoof.doc

Thanks for all the comments, they were helpful

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