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Energy Research at DOE was it Worth it?: Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000
Direct and indirect liquefaction for fuels, and
Coal preparation for cleaner coal production.
Since the fluidized-bed combustion and IGCC technologies are electricity production technologies, they could also fit in that category. However, the committee decided that much of the atmospheric fluidized-bed combustion (AFBC) program was devoted to industrial applications and that much of the early gasification program was centered on producing gas from coal for fuel supply, as well as industrial and other applications.
Environmental characterization and control include the following four technologies:
Flue gas desulfurization,
NOx emissions controls,
Coal combustion waste management and utilization, and
Emissions of mercury and other air toxics.
Electricity production includes the following three technologies:
Fuel cells, and
Magnetohydrodynamic electricity production.
Finally, oil and gas production and upgrading includes the following nine technologies:
Well drilling, completion and stimulation,
Enhanced gas production (from coal-bed methane, Eastern gas shales, and Western tight gas sands),
Enhanced oil recovery,
Field demonstrations of extraction technologies,
Fuel production from oil shale, and
Downstream technology development.
Figure 4–1 shows the Office of Fossil Energy funding by year (OFE, 2000). The line represents funds as appropriated by Congress for the entire fossil energy (FE) program, including programs not evaluated by the committee, such as program direction, policy and management, plant and capital equipment, and cooperative R&D.
As Figure 4–1 depicts, very large budgets from 1978 through 1981 were provided in response to the energy crises of the 1970s and early 1980s. During this period, over 73 percent of the money was provided for technologies to produce liquid and gas fuel options from U.S. energy resources—coal and oil shale. In 1982, with the change of administrations, of energy philosophies, and of policies and as a result of the beginning of the decline in oil prices, fossil energy budgets declined very rapidly and have remained
FIGURE 4–1 Funding for DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy, FY 1978 to FY 2000. SOURCE: OFE, 2000.