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Dr. BRAHAMA D. SHARMA, Ph.D.,C.Chem.,FRSC(life)

To NineShift
Honored to have been posted by you.
My letter to NY Times is not motivated by political considerations rather by science.
To give further scientific support to the energy considerations the following is of interest.
To the Editor:

By BRAHAMA D. SHARMA, Ph.D.,C.Chem.,FRSC(life)
P O BOX 1626, PISMO BEACH, CA 93448-1626

The following provides sober reflections of the issues.

Energy alternatives are dozen a dime in the rhetoric of politicians, above all in the presidential politics. In recent years we have been subjected to the promise of "Hydrogen Cars",
and most recently to the use of "ethanol" as the solution to the "addiction to oil".

It is also of interest how editorials appear to commend the courage of senators who are
willing to buck the presidential position of global warming and sponsor resolutions in favor of alternative energy sources.

As a retired professor of chemistry, having divested all personal needs to get
federal grants for research, it is imperative to set the record straight as to the available energy alternatives for automobiles, electrical power, heating, the three main users of fossil fuels.

The issue of global warming related to the automobile use in the U S is of paramount
importance. The one-person-one car is the main cause of the same. Any talk of using
any carbon containing alternative fuel as a part of internal combustion engine to reduce
global warming is just talk devoid of all science. Any carbon containing fuel is necessarily
the source of green house gas as a part of internal combustion engine. The bio-fuels, such as Soya Bean based fuels are no different from any of the carbon containing fuels.

Yes, ethanol has less number of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms compared with the conventional "gas" but the heat generated, to be converted to work to propel the car, per molecule is also less. Keeping in mind the laws of thermodynamics, it is never possible
to convert all the heat to work on a one to one basis, losing approximately 75 % of heat
in the process, the efficiency of ethanol as a fuel is worse than the fossil fuel derived
"gas". Thus, not only we do not get the distance equivalency but in addition we do not
significantly reduce the green house gas emissions.

Now the most crucial point, lost in the rhetoric of ethanol as an alternative,
a great political sound bite but devoid of substance. To grow any plant material to get
ethanol in the quantities unheard of to replace fossil fuel "gas" for cars, one will need
unheard of quantities of ammonia based fertilizer, requiring unheard of amounts of
"elemental hydrogen" obtained by electrolyzing water by the use of electrical power that
must be generated by the cheapest fossil fuel. This is also true for just the use of
so called "Hydrogen" alternative. Our planet does not have "Elemental Hydrogen"
in native form as we do for "Gold".

Simply stated we use more and more of fossil fuel away from the public eye as
automobile "gas", creating behind the scene windfall for oil barons and adding more to the
addiction of oil, in complete contradiction to the rhetoric advanced in the 2006
State of the Union Address. More importantly devastating the environment not only by
adding unheard of quantities of "greenhouse gas" but generating highly toxic chemicals like chlorine, and caustic soda, the lye.

As to the heating of our homes, there is no likely hood to use any alternative without greater
hazards. The only solution is to get away from the luxury of central heating. Use limited
spaces of any building for keeping away from extreme conditions. Use layers of layers of

The electrical power to be generated from nuclear reactors, is another knee jerk reaction
lacking the long range scope of the safety considerations not only of the present world
population but places our progeny in jeopardy for posterity. The argument that no one has died from the nuclear plants, is not a germane argument though it is very pleasing to the ears for the immediate favored reaction.

It is time to rethink our energy policies not in terms of new technologies to continue to
use more and more of fossil fuel directly or indirectly, rather to develop long range plans
to have mass transit for transportation by shedding the one-person-one-car syndrome.
In addition to develop programs to educate the masses to conserve on all fronts.

This is not asking to sacrifice rather get away from our attitudes of opulence
and indulgence on all fronts.

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