NEW: Accepted White Papers
Click here to see all accepted white papers.
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Renewable and Sustainable Production of Practicable Fuel
J. A. Van Vechten discusses mechanisms for producing chemical fuels using wind energy. Such fuels, he argues, could be easily transported to points of demand, and their production could remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Technology to Reduce Energy Demand in Steel Plants
Saurabh Mehta describes technology that could be deployed in steel plants to redirect waste heat to power boilers or turbines. Mehta argues that, for the largest steel plants, the energy savings could amount to millions of dollars per year.
Potential Applications of Hydrogen Generation from Cheap Forms of Aluminum Reacting With Water
Solomon Zaromb and Joseph R. Stetter describe a process for reacting aluminum and water to produce hydrogen. They describe possible applications, such as providing a backup energy source for homes, hospitals, and other establishments, as well as a fuel for electric boats.
Systems Analysis and Recommendations for R&D and Accelerated Deployment of Solar Energy
Kevin DeGroat and colleagues present a systems analysis of the solar energy industry. They conclude that research and improvement in integrating solar power into the grid, and lowering the cost of photovoltaics, could accelerate adoption of solar technology.
Combined Thin Film Photovoltaic and Reflective 3D Parabolic Panels for Utility-Scale Solar Dishes
James Townsend and Francis Fung present an emerging method for capturing the sun’s energy by combining photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies in the same parabolic solar dish.
Fuels from Municipal Waste
David Emerson and colleagues describe a system for autoclaving and sorting municipal waste, fractions of which are then treated to produce fuels. A prototype of the system exists, but its economic feasibility on a large scale is unknown. The authors advocate a trial run in Nevada.
Cradle to Cradle: Turning Nuclear “Waste” Into Nuclear Fuel
Marilyn Waite discusses the process of nuclear waste recycling, and argues that it should be one part of the approach to building a low-carbon economy.
Where is the Concern for Ecology in the Energy Debate?
Norman Meadow, William Biggley and Ajax Eastman argue in favor of nuclear energy from a biological perspective–beginning with the potential negative ecological impacts of renewable energy sources. They further claim that nuclear energy will impact far less land area, but has been overlooked due to misperceptions of the health risk it poses.
Fungi in Bioremediation of Oil Polluted Environments
Omokaro Obire and Ramesh Putheti review the potential of fungi to clean up remnants of oil spills, particularly in the Niger Delta region.
Renewable Energy: How Much of an Option Is It?
Stan Jakuba assesses the potential contributions of biofuels, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy, and concludes that they cannot meet growing energy demands. Nuclear energy, he argues, is the only source that can provide an adequate supply.
Call for White Papers
(Closed as of the September 18, 2009, deadline.)
Please share your expertise by submitting a white paper that argues for a specific approach or solution to some aspect of the energy crisis. We will help disseminate accepted papers through various channels, including posting them here for discussion and comment. At the end of the year, Sigma Xi members will vote for the top solutions, which we will deliver and promote to relevant policy makers. Papers must be received by September 18, 2009.
About White Papers
The term white paper originally referred to official government reports. Now used in marketing and science as well, white papers are authoritative and well-supported arguments that both inform and persuade. They outline a problem and pose a specific solution to that problem.
Examples of white papers abound on the internet. If this is a new medium for you, you may wish to glance at a few before you compose one. An internet search for the terms [“white paper” solar] or [“white paper” energy] etc. will provide many examples. Note that many of these are longer than what we ask for here, so don’t be put off by the length.
- Limit submissions to 2,500 words (excluding tables, figures and literature cited)
- Include a title, authors’ names and institutional affiliations, and corresponding author email address. Authors need not be Sigma Xi members.
- Prepare your paper as a Microsoft Word file (or Open Office equivalent) to facilitate editing.
- Make the paper accessible to non-scientists (No jargon! Or, if you use technical vocabulary, please do so sparingly and define it for a lay audience)
- Feel free to include tables and figures, including photos. These must be sufficiently high resolution to view on screen and to print.
- Include subheadings in the body of your paper. These might include the following, but you are welcome to use variations or further subdivisions:
- Executive Summary/ Abstract:
Brief overview of the main points you will make. A list of bullet points works well.
Present a specific problem, including evidence of the problem and its importance, historical context, and/ or previously attempted solutions and their shortcomings.
This is the centerpiece of your paper. Elaborate on your proposed solution: how it works; benefits of adopting it; evidence that it is plausible; evidence that it is superior or complementary to other possible solutions; and/or specific examples of how it might be implemented.
Wrap up and emphasize take-home points.
- Literature Cited:
Please cite relevant literature to support your argument. This section does not count against the word limit.
- Executive Summary/ Abstract:
To submit your white paper, email the Word file as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will publish energy white papers on our Website throughout the year, as they are received and edited. White papers must be submitted by September 18, 2009 at the latest.
When we receive your paper, Sigma Xi staff and/ or committee members will review it and may suggest editorial changes. This process is expected to take 2-4 weeks. We will look for, and will work with you to enhance:
- Content and organization (a problem must be described, and a solution must be offered and supported)
- Clear and standard English usage
- Legibility of tables/figures
- Accessibility to a lay audience
- Length ≤ 2,500 words
Dissemination of White Papers
We may publicize accepted white papers in any or all of the following ways:
- Announcement and link to PDF from the Sigma Xi homepage and Year of Energy website, including a forum for discussion and comment
- Announcement of the title and author in Sigma Xi Today, the Sigma Xi news section of American Scientist magazine (circulation 80,000)
- Email notice to Sigma Xi members with link to PDF
- Notice to Sigma Xi’s Facebook and LinkedIn groups
- Presentation to relevant policy makers
- Distribution and/or presentation at Sigma Xi’s 2009 annual meeting
Here are a few ideas we would love to see discussed—on a local, regional or global basis—in your white papers. We welcome additional suggestions and/or papers on additional topics related to the world energy supply.
- Technologies to reduce energy demand
- Which renewables are truly carbon-neutral and/or least polluting?
- Role of renewable energy in poverty eradication
- Role of genetic engineering in renewable energy production: possibilities, benefits and/or drawbacks
- Building capacity for an energy transition: What must happen to set the stage for a renewable economy?
- Funding alternative energy research or implementation
- Basic science underlying energy conservation and energy technology: What are the knowledge gaps and how do we close them?
- Balancing fuel, water and food: How to make renewables sustainable and just
- New or under-appreciated alternative energies
- Overcoming the implementation lag: If existing sustainable energy technologies are “good enough,” what must happen to promote their widespread adoption?
- Managing and modifying the power grid to promote renewables and efficiency
- Ecosystem impacts of renewables: Which have the lowest impacts and/ or which can be improved?
- Managing actual and perceived risk in nuclear energy production