Monthly Archive for August, 2008

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OTA on Energy, Part 3

As part of our feature on OTA documents related to energy policy (click here for part 1 and here for part 2) we highlight four more reports that discuss emerging technologies.

Enhanced Oil Recovery Potential in the United States, January 1978
“It is estimated that about 300 billion barrels of discovered oil remain in the United States. However, conventional techniques of extraction can deliver only 10 percent of that oil economically, or about 30 billion barrels. What about the remaining 270 billion barrels? This report assesses the potential of enhanced recovery techniques for freeing more of this oil from the sandstone and limestone formations in which it is trapped.”

Application of Solar Technology to Today’s Energy Needs—Vol. I, June 1978
Application of Solar Technology to Today’s Energy Needs—Vol. II, September 1978
“This report reviews a range of solar energy systems designed to produce thermal and electrical energy directly from sunlight with units small enough to be located on or near the buildings they are designed to serve.”

Energy From Biological Processes, July 1980
“Energy from the conversion of wood and other plant matter represents an important underexploited resource in the United States. As renewable, abundant, and domestic energy resources, these and other sources of biomass can help the United States reduce its dependence on imported oil. The amount of energy supplied by biomass, now relatively small, could expand rapidly in the next two decades— a period when the Nation’s energy problems will be particularly acute.”

OTA on Energy, Part 2

We’re continuing our feature of OTA reports related to energy policy (for yesterday’s post click here). Here are four reports that mainly focus on energy efficiency and conservation.

Residential Energy Conservation, July 1979
“This report is the result of a request from the Technology Assessment Board that the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) analyze the potential for conserving energy in homes in terms of energy and costs. The report reviews existing and promising technologies, and a broad set of issues affecting why these technologies are or are not used, how their level of use and effectiveness can be improved, and related Federal programs and policies.”

Building Energy Efficiency, May 1992
“Energy issues are of continuing policy concern, due to the crucial role played by energy in environmental quality, economic vitality, and national security. In recent reports OTA has suggested that energy efficiency is a critical component of a comprehensive policy framework to further these issues. This report addresses energy use and efficiency in U.S. buildings, which account for over one-third of U.S. energy consumption.”

Saving Energy in U.S. Transportation, July 1994
“This report assesses an array of transportation policies designed to reduce energy use and describes the intersection of these policies with general transportation problems such as congestion and air pollution.”

Renewing Our Energy Future, September 1995
“This study evaluates the potential for cost-effective renewable energy in the coming decades and the actions that have to be taken to achieve the potential.”

Is the Evolution of Teaching with Technology Hindered by NCLB?

By Stephanie Farrell | Science, Photography, Education and More blog | August 5, 2008

The author discusses technology use in the classroom. One of the references cited is this 1995 OTA Report, Education and Technology: Future Visions.

Open Up

By Molly E. Morgan | Science Progress | August 5, 2008

Ms. Morgan explains a new appraisal methodology called Multicriteria Mapping and discusses how it could be used to create greater transparency in science policy decision making. She suggests that this approach could improve the policy making abilities of the Office of Science and Technology Policy or a revived OTA.

From the Archive – Energy, Part 1

It seems like everyone is talking about energy policy these days. In fact, both John McCain and Barack Obama are talking about their energy plans for the U.S. this week. What better time to highlight some of the OTA reports that discussed energy technologies, energy security, and alternative fuels? Of course the details in many of these reports are obsolete, but the issues are still relevant. Check back throughout the week as we highlight additional reports.

Energy, the Economy, and Mass Transit, October 1975
“OTA examined: (1) the probable effects of changes in energy supplies and prices on transit patronage and the transit industry; (2) the potential role of public mass transit programs in stimulating a depressed economy; and (3) the effect on the economy and urban transit if transit funds were sharply reduced. In addition, the study evaluates alternative transportation policies for responding to various economic and energy conditions and examines within this framework the effect of transit incentives and automobile disincentives on transit patronage and automobile use.”

Gasohol, September 1979
“The Office of Technology Assessment is currently preparing an assessment of energy from biological processes. In the course of this study we have carried out an extensive analysis of alcohol fuels from agricultural products. This technical memorandum presents these findings in response to congressional interest in synthetic fuels. The purpose of the memorandum is to illuminate the technical and non-technical issues surrounding the development of gasohol.”

Synthetic Fuels for Transportation: The Future Potential of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, March 1982
“This report presents a comprehensive review of the future of electric and hybrid vehicles through the year 2010 in the United States. It discusses the technology, performance, and limitations of probable future electric and hybrid vehicles; the infrastructure necessary to produce and support them; marketability; and finally, effects on the nation if used in large numbers.”

Increased Automobile Fuel Efficiency and Synthetic Fuels: Alternatives for Reducing Oil Imports, September 1982
“The study assesses and compares increased automobile fuel efficiency and synthetic fuels production with respect to their potential to reduce conventional oil consumption, and their costs and impacts.”

“Congress faces several decisions on how to reduce the U.S. dependence on imported petroleum. Two options, increased automobile efficiency and synthetic fuels, are particularly likely to be subjects of congressional debates.”

Replacing Gasoline: Alternative Fuels for Light-Duty Vehicles, September 1990
“Recent interest in alternative fuels for light-duty highway vehicles (automobiles and light trucks) is based on their potential to address three important societal problems: unhealthy levels of ozone in major urban areas; growing U.S. dependence on imported petroleum; and rising emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This assessment examines the following alternative fuels: methanol, ethanol, natural gas (in either compressed (CNG) or liquid (LNG) form), electricity (to drive electric vehicles (EVs)), hydrogen, and reformulated gasoline.”

Coverage from Denialism Blog

Posted Aug. 1, 2008

The folks over at denialism blog have a new write-up about the Office of Technology Assessment that mentions the OTA Archive project. The full post is available here.