Purdue University President Comments at Energy Security Summit
ATTENTION: Business, National editors
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Aug. 29 (AScribe Newswire) -- The comments below
were made today (Tuesday, Aug. 29) at the Sen. Richard G. Lugar -
Purdue University Summit on Energy Security. The summit drew more than
600 leaders to the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind. to discuss
national energy issues and policy. A goal of the summit is to discuss
ways to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and to develop new
strategies for alternative fuels. Among those joining Sen. Lugar,
R-Ind. for the daylong event include Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Purdue
President Martin C. Jischke and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind. The
summit also includes a panel discussion, "Implementing Strategies to
Reduce Foreign Oil Dependence." Panelists include Sue Cischke, Ford
Motor Co. vice president; Carol Battershell, vice president for
alternative energy for BP Inc.; and Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson
Fellow in Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public
Policy of Rice University. Brian Lamb, president and CEO of C-SPAN,
will serve as panel moderator.
SPEECH BY PURDUE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT MARTIN C. JISCHKE, Richard G.
Lugar - Purdue University Summit on Energy Security
A very famous man was quoted in a New York Times news story as saying
"The fuel of the future is ethanol."
That man was Henry Ford. The year was 1925. That future Henry Ford
referred to is today.
A goal of this summit is to find ways to reduce America's dependence on
foreign oil and to develop new strategies for alternative fuels.
It is a noble goal and an aggressive one. It is a goal that will
challenge us. That is as it should be. All truly worthwhile goals are
noble, aggressive and challenging.
Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, who helped create that city's
beautiful lakefront and parks, said: "Make no little plans. They have
no magic to stir men's (or women's) blood. Make big plans; aim high in
hope and work."
We are making big plans today. Our hopes are very high. We have a great
deal of work ahead.
I believe we are at a crossroads, not only in this nation, but in our
world. I believe the time has come when we will either begin to find
alternatives to our national and worldwide dependence on fossil fuels
or fossil fuels might well become the end of us.
Going back to the early days of the 20th century, Henry Ford had
planned to use ethanol as the primary fuel for his Model T, but
gasoline, which was less expensive, emerged as the dominant fuel of the
In 1925, when Ford predicted ethanol would fuel the future, gasoline
cost 22 cents a gallon in the United Sates. Adjusted for inflation to
2005 dollars, that was $.48 a gallon.
In 1926, the price rose to 23 cents a gallon and it would not be that
high again until after World War II in 1947.
Today, Americans are paying roughly $ a gallon. And we are getting a
deal. Europeans and many people throughout the world pay twice that and
While we are standing at the gas pump watching our pennies, dimes and
dollars spinning away, two other meters are running up charges as well.
We can't see them, but they are there.
The first meter is measuring the cost of imported oil on our national
economy and national security. You will hear much more about that from
other speakers today. That bill is becoming very large and it grows
The second meter is measuring the cost of fossil fuel dependence on our
environment, the air we breathe and the world in which we live.
These costs are coming due. Some researchers say they are already past
Whatever the environmental impact of fossil fuels, this could become
the inheritance we are leaving to our children and to our
The 20th century was dominated by relatively inexpensive oil. There are
unquestionably enormous benefits and progress that emerged from this.
There are enormous problems that emerged as well.
This is a new century. The question for us at the dawn of the 21st
century is how can we conserve oil and how can we supplement it through
the development of clean alternative energy sources.
Many people say we are living in an Information Age where knowledge is
available to everyone - if not at the speed of light, then at least at
the speed of Google.
If you go to your computer and Google "fossil fuels," you will get 45.6
million sites in one-tenth of a second. It's a full evening of reading.
But perhaps even more than an age of information, this is the "Age of
Misinformation," because much "information" on the World Wide Web is
incorrect, incomplete and misleading.
At the same time, we have radio, television, newspapers and magazines
coming at us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, filled with people
spinning facts and spinning truth for their own agenda.
Indeed, the real requirement for survival in this century is our
ability to separate fact from fiction, truth from spin. A great deal of
misinformation and spin that is dominating our information systems
centers on oil and the cost of gasoline at the pump, but I believe that
through all the noisy misinformation of our times, if we can get the
facts about U.S. oil dependence and imported oil to people, they will
understand and they will make the right choices, even at the expense of
What are the facts? There are many. I will list five.
First, using 2003 numbers, the United States is the biggest consumer of
energy in the world, and Americans are the biggest consumers per
capita. Our per capita consumption is more than twice that of all of
With 4.6 percent of the world's population, we produce 17.5 percent of
the world's energy. We consume nearly a quarter of the world's energy.
Not all of our energy use is for the benefit of this nation alone. For
example, some of our energy use goes into the production of food that
benefits people around the world.
Second, according to the International Energy Agency, world production
of oil will peak between the years 2010 and 2020. That is less than
four to 14 years from now, and that is not very far away.
Although this does not mean the world will run out of oil in four to 14
years, it surely means that as production peaks and demand increases -
from developing nations, as well as the United States - the cost is
going to go up.
The day is approaching when U.S. gasoline at $ a gallon might seem
very inexpensive, indeed.
Third, worldwide dependence on oil might be impacting our planet,
according to many researchers. Global warming is a concern that must be
considered, and the long-term costs of ignoring it could be huge.
We are studying this here at our Purdue Climate Change Research Center.
Even slight changes in the weather can be trigger points, setting off
events over which we have no control.
We have heard about this all our lives. We have put this off as
something to be dealt with at a later date. We can't put this off any
longer. The time is upon us.
Fourth, as Sen. Richard Lugar has stated time and again, oil is a
magnet for conflict.
The President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, of
which I am a member, has concluded that inadequacies in U.S. energy
options might be as perilous to our national security as any
inadequacies in our weapon systems.
Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist and author of the book "The
World is Flat," writes in Foreign Policy magazine about
Friedman says, "The price of oil and the pace of freedom always move in
opposite directions in oil-rich, petrolist states."
The higher the price of crude oil, Friedman says, the less petrolist
leaders care what the rest of the world thinks of them and what they
are doing to their people and to their nation. The lower the price of
crude, the more these leaders must cooperate with the rest of the
Friedman concludes: "Any American democracy-promotion strategy that
does not also include a credible and sustainable strategy for finding
alternatives to oil and bringing down the price of crude oil is utterly
meaningless and doomed to fail."
We might complain about the cost of gasoline at the pump, but the real
cost of oil for many parts of the world is freedom and democracy.
Fifth, well over two-thirds of the remaining oil fields in the world
are in the Middle East.
Sen. Lugar, in an article co-authored by R. James Woolsey, former
director of the CIA, states: "New demand for oil will be filled largely
by the Middle East, meaning a transfer of more than $ trillion over
the next 15 years to the ... states of the Persian Gulf alone."
Using 2003 numbers, 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption is oil. Where
does that oil come from?
Over 60 percent of our oil is imported. Thirty-six percent of our
imported oil comes from Mexico, Canada and the North Sea, but 47
percent of it comes from three other areas: the Persian Gulf, Nigeria
To summarize all of this: If we had a color-coded threat advisory for
oil dependency, it would be blaring bright red. Severe, imminent risk.
At Purdue and at universities and research labs throughout the nation
and world today, energy alternatives, policy and conservation are being
Last year, a $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment enabled us to
launch four new centers in our Discovery Park, a Center for the
Environment, an Oncological Sciences Center, a Cyber Center and an
Our Center for the Environment has been created as a focal point for
both those who wish to harness the planet's resources and those who
wish to preserve them. Our Energy Center is focused on developing
economical and environmentally sound energy sources and finding ways to
use energy more efficiently.
Our researchers are interested in how to make existing energy sources
cleaner and more efficient, as well as developing alternative energy
sources that will make the nation less dependent upon foreign oil.
We also are committed to focusing on the development of national energy
policies that will position America to be strong and secure in the 21st
Purdue is taking an interdisciplinary approach to finding solutions to
the nation's energy challenges. Our Energy Center brings together more
than 100 Purdue experts. These researchers are focusing on alternative
energy sources such as iofuels, solar, electrochemical, hydrogen energy
storage, clean coal, safe nuclear and wind turbines, as well as energy
The sun is the ultimate source of all energy on Earth. The Purdue
Energy Center is studying solar energy efficiency improvements with
low-cost production of solar cells that collect sunlight and generate
Purdue researchers are looking at how a fuel based on hydrogen can help
cure this nation's energy problems. In April, we sponsored a Hydrogen
Initiative Symposium on our campus. Engineers at Purdue are focusing on
a new way to produce hydrogen for fuel cells to recharge batteries
automatically in portable electronics, such as notebook computers,
eliminating the need to use a wall outlet.
In high-efficiency wind turbines, current technologies for wind power
are based on conventional propeller technology designed for steady
spinning. Our Energy Center is exploring the development of innovative
wind-turbine technology. This technology offers significant advantages
over conventional designs by using the inherent unsteadiness of wind to
The Purdue Energy Center's power electronics team is focusing on
creating technologies to reduce significantly the cost of power
electronics and electric machines. At the same time, Purdue researchers
are contributing to research on a breakthrough design concept for
nuclear power plants known as Modular Boiling Water Reactor. Nuclear
reactors built using this technology are inherently safe and include
built-in proliferation-resistant characteristics.
As you can see, there is a great deal of research taking place, here
and elsewhere. All of this is important. These and other alternatives
plus increased energy conservation will ultimately play a significant
role in making this nation more energy- independent and in slowing
potential damage to our environment.
The answer to our energy needs in the 21st century most likely will be
the development and use of many alternatives, not just one.
All of these alternatives deserve attention, and we could have focused
today's program on any of them. But we decided to focus on near-term
liquid fuel alternatives from bio-mass and coal, and on the energy
policies that could help us make progress in these areas. So our
program today will NOT attempt to deal with all of the possibilities.
In other words, we are focusing on those domestic alternatives and
policy changes that could have the greatest near- term impact on
substituting domestic liquid fuels for some imported oil.
For example, Purdue's Coal Transformation Laboratory focuses on
technologies for converting coal into combustible gases and liquids
that can be cleanly burned.
Sen. Lugar, along with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, is at the forefront
of drafting national policy to use coal for production of liquid fuel.
Management of carbon emissions is a critical part of any strategy
relying on coal-derived liquid fuels. These fuels were developed and
used in Germany many decades ago. They use a process called Fischer-
Tropsch that involves conversion of coal to carbon monoxide and
hydrogen using catalysis.
Purdue chemists and chemical engineers are focusing on the potential of
modern and efficient processes that could make use of different types
of coal reserves around the country, including the Illinois basin mined
in the southwestern part of our own state of Indiana.
A key source for future energy needs is bio-energy, transforming
renewable plant materials into transportation fuels.
The ethanol fuel industry is an ongoing success story for production of
renewable fuels, and demand for fuel ethanol is expected to increase. A
number of issues arise regarding ethanol, such as the impact on corn
and soybean prices and the impact of all this on food production and
food costs. An alternative is cellulosic ethanol, which we are
researching here at Purdue.
Through bio-engineering, Purdue's Laboratory for Renewable Resources
Engineering within the Energy Center is working to turn agricultural
residue into transportation fuels.
Researchers in this laboratory and their partners in Agriculture and
Engineering have learned to change cornstalks and corn fiber into
sugars that ferment to ethanol.
The laboratory has demonstrated that a combination of cellulose
pretreatment, enzymes, and a special yeast increases yields of ethanol
by 50 percent. One hundred forty chemicals and chemical feedstocks have
been identified as potential fuel products from renewable plant
Our plant scientists are also using genomic techniques to improve crops
that maximize productivity per acre while reducing inputs. Engineering
and engagement with industry is translating discoveries in plant
science, microbial genetics, and bioprocess engineering into practice.
The upside potential is huge - in terms of jobs, sustainable renewable
energy, and a new mission for the land-grant university system:
discovery focused on transforming agriculture into an enterprise that
will produce fuel, as well as food, feed and fiber.
Purdue's Energy Center also features research on efficient and
environmentally friendly use of coal and bio-based liquid fuels in gas
turbines and even rockets in addition to internal combustion engines.
This research, centered at our Energy Center-affiliated Maurice J.
Zucrow and the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories is in collaboration with
major companies working with gas turbines, internal combustion engines
Today, we have possibilities that did not exist in days when Henry Ford
predicted a future powered by ethanol. There are obstacles to overcome
in all of this as well.
Some of these obstacles are in developing appropriate and cost-
effective energy policies to stimulate private investment in risky
alternative energy sources.
We are working on developing and evaluating new energy policies here at
Purdue. We are getting close. And through programs such as this one, we
can bring the issues and the opportunities to the forefront of a
national energy debate.
Solving the energy challenges before us will not be easy. Some have
called for a Manhattan Project approach similar to the World War II
effort that brought together the best university and private-sector
scientists and engineers of the day to research nuclear weapons.
I prefer another analogy.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy called on all the resources of this
nation to land an American on the moon and return him safely to Earth
within that decade. President Kennedy never said this would be easy.
In fact, he said, "This decision demands a major national commitment of
scientific and technical manpower, material and facilities, and the
possibility of their diversion from other important activities where
they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication,
organization and discipline which have not always characterized our
research and development efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work
stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, wasteful interagency
rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel."
It meant the nation had to come together and work as one toward the
In July of 1969, Purdue graduate Neil Armstrong announced to the world
"The Eagle has landed." Do you remember? How could anyone forget?
He took that giant leap for mankind only eight years after the
President's challenge. Today, we are calling on all the resources of
this nation to take the next giant leap. This amounts to nothing short
of a great leap forward toward more energy independence.
We need to commit ourselves to safe, clean energy from domestic
sources. We need to do this for the sake of our nation; for the sake
our prosperity, our posterity and our planet.
Like the effort to reach the moon within a decade, it will take all of
us working together. It will take commitment, courage, leadership and
sacrifice from all of us.
It will take commitment, courage, investment and sacrifice from
business and industry. It will take commitment, courage and sacrifice
from people and our pocketbooks.
Can we do it?
Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you
can't, you are right!"
I believe we can. And I firmly believe we must begin today echoing
words that acknowledge the responsibility and the urgency of this
calling: "If not us, who? If not now, when?"
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Broadcast-quality audio clips from this speech can be downloaded later
rgy.html . A satellite uplink from the summit will be available later
today; additional information is available at
Sen. Richard G. Lugar's summit comments:
Richard G. Lugar-Purdue University Summit on Energy Security: http://
30- Media Contact: Purdue University News Service,
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08/29/06 11:43 EDT