Gallogly imparts China experience
Dr. Elton Gallogly just returned from a sabbatical at Sichuan University researching the technology behind fuel cells. On Thursday, Nov. 4, Gallogly spoke to a group of students and teachers about his time in China, and the work that was being done there.
But the lecture wasn't merely a look into the growing research being put into fuel cell technology, but rather an objective look into the planet's resources and the alternatives researchers are studying to keep sustainable energy alive.
Gallogly started the lecture by stating that he believes that the issue of CO2 is an issue that is currently not discussed enough, and gave the audience a thorough overview of the amount of energy that the world is currently using, discussing both the positive and negative impacts of each alternative.
Among the things that were mentioned by Gallogly was the fact that the United States is one of the biggest energy spenders in the world, while making up about five percent of the total population.
This last year, China topped the U.S. in energy consumption, and they are working to get to U.S. levels.
According to Gallogly, the average U.S. citizen uses about 100 hundred watt-bulbs/person, compared to China's 25 watt per person, a number that he says is only growing.
The heart of the lecture focused on Gallogly's research into fuel cell technology. The basic science behind fuel cell technology is a way to power society electronically without using energy since it is a limited resource that is running out fast.
According to Gallogly, the U.S. will run out of energy supplies by 2020, with 70 percent of our oil imported from foreign countries. If left to our own accord they will run out of oil supplies in just three years. This, Gallogly pointed out, makes the study for alternative resources imperative.
What a fuel cell is able to do is extract the fuel source needed to fuel an electronic item straight from the source. He explained that pouring alcohol into the fuel cell, and it being able to extract ethanol from the source, one would then be able to use that ethanol to power the item.
With fuel cells, a person would be able to reuse the fuel source that they put into the fuel cell membrane so resources would be constantly renewable. NASA used fuel cells to provide electric power from hydrogen on Apollo and other space shuttle missions.
He pointed out that this isn't a perfected technology, and like many of the other alternatives being researched right now, it is a give and take solution. It is not necessarily a perfect solution he pointed out, but it's something that is important to consider and study so that the technology can be perfected.
Which led to a larger point made my Gallogly. Many alternatives being researched and advertised right now, such as hydrogen power, clean coal, solar power, and nuclear power are all give and take solutions, and it's a decision that society needs to make. Whether it's the impact on the environment or the cost, not one solution is necessarily "perfect."
Gallogly warned that the U.S. should be aware of how the rest of the world is changing. He said, "we don't realize how much the world is changing, and that needs to change." He said that the world is rapidly growing and trying to reach the standard of the U.S., and he says that as a country, the U.S. needs to be more aware of how much the world is growing around them.