Crude oil imported to the United States costs more than $100 billion per year. As these reserves become depleted, synthetic alternatives may provide the best opportunities to displace these imports with indigenous products, including ethanol from corn, bio-diesel from vegetable oils, and oil from coal. However, it has been difficult to bring this new alternative fuel technology to the United States. A new study by a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher found that by changing existing roadblocks, such as the U.S. tax structure, it would be possible for the United States to reduce the need for imported crude oil.
“In modern society, a nation must be able to commercialize new technology to maintain high worker productivity and an industrial base that is critical for national security,” said Galen Suppes, MU associate professor of chemical engineering. “When national policies inhibit this commercialization, the future of a country is inevitably compromised.”
In the study, Suppes and MU professor emeritus Truman Storvick examined a synthetic fuel sales price and four potential non-technical barriers: the number of years of petroleum crude oil reserves held by a corporation considering an investment into an alternative fuel facility, the intangible costs associated with investing into a new technology, the U.S. tax structure, and the return on investment. Suppes used an analysis that is similar to analyses used to make investment decisions in the chemical industry.
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