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Princeton University Study Claims Synfuels Could Eliminate US Petroleum Needs


Filling Up at a BioDiesel StationOne of the goals of some synfuel programs is, not only to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, but to reduce our dependency on foreign petroleum imports. This is also the main reason that vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient than ever, especially since the 1970s OPEC Oil Embargo, when US consumers and the government realized how vulnerable they were to limitations set by powers outside the country.

If there’s anything that most Americans can agree on, is they don’t like their freedom being interfered with, even if it’s how much it takes to full up the tank.

There have been a number of advancements in the synfuels department, including biodiesel, which can be found in some areas up to 20% blended with petrodiesel, and ethanol, which is found everywhere in the country between 10% and 15% blends up to 85% blends with gasoline, also a petroleum derivative.

Still, looking at the percentages, there is still a significant demand for petroleum-based fuels. What if the demand could be eliminated altogether, both on and off US territories?

In a recent study, completed by researchers at Princeton University, it was determined that, given the proper equipment and infrastructure upgrades, synfuels could actually completely replace petroleum-based fuels in the US. Biofuels, including biodiesel, biogas, and ethanol additives are just the start, really, and Princeton researchers believe that the addition of coal and natural gas derivatives would make it possible.

“The goal is to produce sufficient fuel and also to cut CO2 emissions, or the equivalent, by 50 percent,” said Floudas, the Stephen C. Macaleer ’63 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science. “The question was not only can it be done, but also can it be done in an economically attractive way. The answer is affirmative in both cases.”

Full adoption of synfuels might take thirty years and a trillion dollars in changes, but would eliminate US dependence on petroleum, both imported and domestic. Additionally, switching to synfuels could result in eliminating 50% of carbon-dioxide emissions, but is the US ready to make the leap?

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