Outlining his positions on energy last week, Secretary -designate Steven Chu listed three technologies that "would be nice to have, but are not ready for use, either because they are too expensive to be practical, or not demonstrated to be safe."
They were: 1) sequestering the carbon dioxide from power plants; 2) making ethanol from cellulose; and 3) recycling nuclear fuel to reduce its volume and recover unused fuel.
Well, he's right about the carbon sequestering and cellulose. And two out of three ain't bad.
Carbon sequestering may never be ready for prime time. Robert Socolow, head of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative at Princeton, has calculated that it would take "an oil field six times the size of the smallest of what the industry calls 'giant fields,' of which some 500 exist," to accommodate the average coal plant.