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Energy, Mineral, and Environmental Systems Research in the United States An Overview Executive Summary . Energy, mineral, and environmental resources are critical to the domestic economy, to national security, and to both human welfare and the quality of life in the United States. These resources are fundamental to other technologies as both input (energy and minerals) and output (environmental effects). As such, they form the base on which virtually all other economic activities are built. Environmental quality is determined to a large extent by the way in which energy and mineral resources are recovered and used, and as a result, environmental considerations often play a major role in the development of energy and rn~neral resources. It is thus essential that a sufficient level of fundamental engineering research be maintained in these three resource areas so that the United States will be in a stronger position to cope with crises and needs as they arise. Fundamental engineering research on energy, mineral, and environmental systems is conducted to varying extents by univer- sities, federal and national laboratories,* and industry. This type *A federal laboratory is an in-house laboratory of the federal govern- ment; a national laboratory, although essentially supported by federal funds, 142
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 143 of research has been and should continue to be funded largely by the federal government, with supplemental support from the private sector. The resources at issue here are of such broad sig- nificance that no single industry or economic sector would be the major beneficiary of technological advancements in these fields. This is particularly true of the environment, which is in essence a public good. Thus the federal government has the chief responsi- bility for long-range research in these areas, carried out chiefly by universities and the federal and national laboratories. Federal support for engineering research in energy, mineral, and environmental systems (both fundamental and applied) has tended to be erratic and highly responsive to immediate concerns, public opinion, and changing national priorities. Indeed, insta- bility of funding has characterized this area more than any other examined by the Engineering Research Board. Federal funding for engineering research in the fields covered by this report is, in most areas, substantially lower than it was just a few years ago. When such reductions in funding occur, fundamental research, which already represents only a small percentage of expenditures, is often cut back to very low levels. However, this is exactly the type of research that should be maintained at a high level at all times to build the knowledge base that will be needed in the fu- ture when problems once again become critical. Such periods will surely come. Thus, national interests in these fields will be best served, instead, by a national commitment to a long-term, stable research environment. Because of the critical importance that energy, mineral, and environmental resources have for meeting national goals, and in order to counter the instability of funding, the panel recommends with a sense of urgency that federal funding for engineering re- search in these fields be increased at least to the levels (in equiv- alent constant dollars) of 5 years ago. As a first priority, such increases should go to universities in order to preserve their dual role in long-term fundamental engineering research and in educat- ing tomorrow's research talent. A commitment needs to be made within mission agencies, as well as within the National Science Foundation (NSF), to stable funding of university engineering research in the energy, mineral, is independently administered by an industrial firm, a university, or another nonprofit organization.
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144 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH and environmental fields so that excellence in research and edu- cation can be maintained and the knowledge base in these fields can be expanded. The nation's interests would be well served if mission agencies allocated, on a multiyear basis, a fixed percent- age of their budget to this research. "Quick-response" initiatives should be undertaken as add-one to this funding base. Increasing the NSF's budget for basic and exploratory research in these areas is another step that would greatly improve their long-term outlook and stability. Environmental issues will continue to play a major role in industrial development. Significant environmental problems may be associated with the high-technology fields as well as with the chemical, mining, transportation, and energy industries. The most important engineering research need in this area is for long-term research on the movement, fate, ejects, and control of contami- nants in the air, water, and soil. Such research is needed in order to optimize new and existing industrial processes and to improve the technological basis for proper environmental regulation. As a subset, this requires fundamental research on physical and chemi- cal processes (especially combustion), on biotechnology, on sensors and measurement techniques, and on the environment's capacity to assimilate the broad range of chemicals and other materials that are hazardous to humans and ecosystems. Critical areas for energy research are those that conic enable the United States to become reasonably self-sufficient in energy, so as to insulate it from the disastrous consequences of a loss of imported energy for any reason. A comprehensive program of continued engineering research fundamental as well as applied— must be maintained to better develop and utilize all indigenous energy sources, including coal, oil, shale, nuclear and solar power, and natural gas. To ensure a broad range of future options, the primary areas recommended for engineering research in this field are the development of alternative fuels and technology, as well as continued efforts to improve the efficiency of energy conver- sion devices. Examples within these areas with high potential include the direct combustion of coal for power generation and process heat; the liquefaction, gasification, and beneficiation of coal; the use of coal and of! shale for transportation fuels; im- prove~d photovoltaic devices; improved energy storage techniques; and improved energy efficiency in industrial processes, buildings, and transportation systems.
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 145 At the next level of priority, engineering research should con- tinue to ensure that the environmental consequences of energy utilization are adequately addressed; risk assessments and control technology development should be integral parts of energy-related R&D. This should especially include research into the accident po- tential of and Carnage mitigation at nuclear power plants. The d~ velopment of integrated environmental control systems addressing liquid, solid, and gaseous effluents from coal utilization technology is also essential. The most critical area of engineering research for mineral re- sources is on processes for the economic recovery of minerals from low-grade ores. As mineral resources are expended, increasingly lower grade ores will need to be used. Engineering research to meet this future requirement is inadequate and should be ex- panded, especially in areas such as (1) the development of sensors, instrumentation, and equipment for exploration, remote mining, and mineral processing control; (2) new separation technologies for improved mineral recovery; (3) colloidal, biological, and electro- chemical processes for mineral concentration; and (4) interracial behavior of mineral fines in processing streams. Introduction This report of the Pane! on Energy, Mineral, and Environ- mental Systems Research is one of seven prepared in support of a major study conducted by the Engineering Research Board. The report acIdresses issues sin connection with those areas of research critical to the future development, utilization and protection of energy sources and air, water, and mineral resources of the United States. Thus, it examines engineering research needs in a wide range of major resources.* Given its enormous breadth of coverage, and given the limited tune and budget available for its preparation, this report is not comprehensive, nor was it intended to be. Its primary purpose is to provide an overview of engineering research needs in these three *Certain important resources- most notably agricultural and forest resources were not included in the study and are not considered in this report.
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146 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH broad fields and, secondarily, to suggest ways of strengthening the nation's engineering research effort in them. For the most part, the report addresses fundamental engineering research that provides the basis for solving many of the long-range problems that industry and society face in connection with energy, minerals, and the environment. Such research is conducted by universities, federal and national laboratories, and industry, as well as by certain other nonprofit, nonacademic research institutions. BACKGROUND The three areas of research examined here are closely inter- connected. Together, they bear directly on matters of critical national importance. Our national security depends on the con- tinued availability of energy and mineral resources. Our domestic economy as well as our performance in the world economy also are both strongly dependent on energy and on materials derived from minerals. The quality of life in the United States, which derives in large part from the strength of our economy, also is greatly af- fected by the quality of the environment, in particular the vital air and water resources. In turn, the quality of these environmental resources increasingly depends on how we use the nation's energy and mineral resources. v' In a very real sense, energy, mineral, and environmental re- sources form the base on which virtually all economic activities are built. They are (in the case of energy and minerals) the raw input and (in the case of environmental impacts) the ultimate output of human economic activity. It is for this reason that political and social attention and pressure focus so intensely on matters con- nectec] with them. Changing economic circumstances, changing national priorities, and changing social attitudes all combine to alter the :lirections of research in these fields. Changes in relative prices and increased woric~wide availabil- ity of crude of] have, for the tune being, reduced concern about petroleum supplies; these changes have not removed the long-term vulnerability of the United States to a cutoff of imported oil. Both a diversity and balance of energy sources are needled to ensure a dependable supply of energy in the future. Complete energy in- dependence may not be attainable; greater self-sufficiency would reduce the nation's vulnerability to unpredictable external events, however. The goal of reasonable energy self-sufficiency for this
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ENERGY, MINER-AL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 147 country requires a substantial R&D effort toward developing in- novative means of energy production, distribution, and end use, along with the definition and acceptable control of any associated environmental problems. In addition, in the case of nuclear power, major changes in public perception are required before this energy source can contribute more substantially to the nation's energy needs. As is true of petroleum, support for research on the extraction of minerals is also influenced by market forces and by changing degrees of access to mineral resources in international markets. Given the varied quantity and quality of domestic supplies, the United States currently imports certain strategic minerals, along with many others of broad commercial importance. Both techno- logical and economic factors drive us to rely on external sources. Because our access to the full range of needed mineral resources depends on our ability to maintain often-tenuous international ar- rangements, it is prudent for the United States to act in ways that ensure the strongest possible knowledge base from which future energy and mineral resource exploitation technologies can be de- veloped. Here again, improved technology can reduce the nation's vulnerability to external forces. New research needs are constantly appearing in the energy, mineral, and environmental fields because they are so closely in- terlinked with every other area of scientific, technological, and eco- nomic development. The opportunity to achieve success in prom~s- ing new technological areas can be severely compromised if we are unable to deal effectively with the energy/mineral/environmental resource infrastructure in which these technical advances must function. It ~ therefore essential to the continuer} health of tech- nology development in the United States that we continue to in- crease our fundamental understanding of these matters, so that we will be able to cope successfully with the challenges and problems that new technologies in any field tend to create. SCOPE In this report we exarn~ne a number of key issues affecting the health and effectiveness of engineering research in energy, minerals, and the environment.* At the heart of the report is the *Engineering research is research conducted to expand our useful knowl- edge about the man-made and natural worlds in order to discover engineering
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148 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH identification of important areas of research now needing attention if our capabilities and knowledge are to progress in a balanced fashion commensurate with emerging needs. The panel's scope of coverage encompassed engineering research: . to provide an information base and methods for assessing tradeoffs among resource utilization, environmental protection, and economic development; . on alternatives to petroleum as an energy source, including nuclear fission and fusion, other fossil fuels, solar power, and other renewable energy resources; ~ on new or improved technologies for petroleum recovery, including economical assisted-recovery techniques; ~ on new or improved technologies for the production, dis- tribution, and storage of electric power; . on new or improved technologies for more efficient end use ~ e ~ e d. of energy In its various forms; ~ on the exploration, mining, and processing of mineral re- sources; ~ on new or improved technologies for the utilization and protection of air and water resources; and ~ on the reduction, control, and management of hazardous materials. This scope includes a mixture of fundamental and applied en- gineering research areas, but emphasizes long-term, fundamental work. Policy Isgnes BASIS FOR FEDERAL POLICIES ON THE SUPPORT OF RESEARCH Over the past three decades the nation's commitment to the support of basic and applied research has provided extraordinary benefits to society and, in the process, has established the United principles by which significant improvements can be obtained in the processes of engineering design and production. (For further definition, see the chapter on Engineering Research in the United States: An Overviewed.
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 149 States as a world leader in science and technology. The federal government's involvement in research derives from its responsibil- ity for national security and from its obligation to provide for the general health and welfare of its citizens. The scale of research in emerging technological fields is often too large for private compa- nies to undertake; in general there ~ also too little incentive for industry to support extensive long-range engineering research. In addition, areas of general public health and welfare such as environ- mental quality are not normally targets of industry research. Yet the public interest demands that this type of research be pursued. Therefore, regardless of where it is performed at universities, in federal or national laboratories, in industry, or elsewhere the majority of research in these fields is funded by the federal govern- ment. This federal support is especially prominent in the case of fundamental research. A basic premise on which the federal government must plan for research in the energy field in particular is that the demand for energy in the United States will continue to grow over the long term, notwithstanding very significant efforts in the direc- tion of conservation and efficient energy use. Recent studies have shown that whereas total U.S. energy consumption is no longer directly coupled to the gross national product (GNP), there Is still a demonstrable direct correlation between the consumption of electrical energy and the GNP (Whittaker, 1984~. At the same time, the mix of basic energy resources available to support eco- nomic activity and growth may change. Clearly, it ~ in the na- tional interest that aggressive engineering research continue on ways to utilize energy more efficiently in a variety of forms, and in a wide range of industrial, commercial, residential, and trans- portation applications. Improvements in this area could partly compensate for the growth in energy consumption brought about by an expanding population that aspires to a higher, more energy- intensive standard of living. On a worldwide basis, the growth in the consumption of energy in less developed nations, with their exploding populations and rising expectations, Is likely to be even more dramatic. Perhaps the most important implication of this energy-demand growth is that a range of energy options must foe maintained, so that disruptions in the availability or economics of any particular fuel do not leave the United States in a vulnerable portion. GIob- ally as well as nationally, the impact of [ong-term energy growth
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150 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH on the environment will also be significant, and must be carefully addressed. Further steps must be taken in assessing the adverse environmental consequences of energy production, as the nature of some "side effects" is still unknown. For example, tacit rains and the "greenhouse ejects currently are potentially major en- vironmental concerns associated with fossil fuel utilization; the resolution of these issues is particularly important for determining the relative role that coal will play in the future. Likewise, dis- posal of radioactive wastes remains a major problem with nuclear energy. All three of these concerns are characterized by serious uncertainties about the severity of the problems, and by the fact that there are political as well as technical dimensions to their solutions. Although these particular problems differ significantly in terms of their geographical spread and time scales of concern, they all could potentially alter future costs and patterns of energy utilization in this country and elsewhere. Prudence thus demands that vigorous R&D continue on alternative energy sources (includ- ing nuclear fusion and solar power), to ensure as wide a range of future options as possible. Industry must continue to be a strong partner with government in the support and performance of this area of R&D. The same reasoning applies in the case of mineral resources, for which new technology could give the United States a wider range of sources and options. At present, adequate technology for efficient and safe mining and processing of low-grade, finely dis- persed domestic ores does not exist. There Is very little engineering research being done either to develop such technology or to build the fundamental knowledge base required for its development. The range and potential size of these problems, and the diffi- culty of solving them, suggests that viewing energy, minerals, and the environment as separate and distinct concerns is no longer a workable approach. Now more than ever before there is a need for the federal government to identify tradeoff and achieve bat- ance between energy and resource utilization, on the one hand, and environmental protection on the other. Developing the needed technical information and tools for assessing such tradeoffs will require input from the various engineering disciplines as well as a number of scientific fields. Unfortunately, government policies in a specific area (e.g., energy, environment, etc.), once officially promulgated, often are
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 151 interpreted in an absolute sense that provides little room for trade- offs among the environment, energy supply, jobs, economic devel- opment, national defense, quality of life, and so on. The federal government's support of research should be structured so as to provide an informed basis for making those tradeoffs and balanc- ing the many competing interests and requirements that converge on these vital areas. NEED FOR LONG-TERM CONTINUITY IN SUPPORT OF RESEARCH In energy, minerals, and the environment, the federal govern- ment's support of engineering research sometimes seems chaotic— indeed, this is more often the case in these fields than in any other. New issues, sudden crises, alla changing expectations frequently alter the research priorities of federal agencies and bring about erratic changes in emphasis. These shifts occur at the expense of the knowledge base needed to address future problems. The mis- sion agencies are most subject of all to the shifting political winds. Although it may be politically attractive to Force feeds selected areas of research in hopes of achieving quick fixes, national inter- ests in energy, mineral, and environmental resources will be best served by a national commitment to a long-term, stable research environment. The crises that frequently stimulate engineering re- search in these fields may be so compeDing that, for political reasons, they cannot be ignored. However, such ~quick-response" initiatives should be undertaken as add-one to continuing and sta- ble support of both fundamental and applied engineering research. There are undoubtedly many ways to ensure a more stable commitment to research. One possible means would be to increase the NSF's research budget in these areas. Long-term research needs in these areas might be better served if the NSF were to take a greater Tole in fundamental and exploratory engineering research programs that the mission agencies do not see as part of their objectives. The mission agencies, for their part, need to recognize that the training of researchers over the long term is not exclusively the NSF's province; each agency also has a responsibility here. Therefore, another very useful step would be for mission agencies to allocate, on a multiyear basis, a fixed percentage of their budget to university engineering research in appropriate fields. This approach would
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152 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH improve stability in both education and research, and would help attract the best available talent to these fields. RETHINKING ROLES The role of the government in supporting large-scale research facilities also needs to be carefully considered. In many areas, federal participation in scale-up projects, along with significant private support where obtainable, can substantially accelerate the development of new technology. Also of special urgency is the need to address the relative research roles of the universities and the various federal and national laboratories working in the energy, mineral, and environmental fields. Universities not only provide diverse fundamental and applied research ideas and results, but are also essential to the education of the research engineers and scientists needed to maintain a strong national research establish- ment and to enhance industrial innovation. For this reason, the tendency to protect the federal and national laboratories at the expense of university research during budget reductions (see, for example, Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1983) must be resisted. The importance of this issue has been confirmed in many recent reports, including a series of studies by the Energy Research Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of Energy (1985~. Consideration might also be given to emulating more widely the Japanese process of "bottom-up" (or participative) planning of R&D, at least to the extent of gathering information and sift- ing through the various ideas, rather than allowing major policy decisions on R&D activities to be dictated by the most recent perturbation In the budgeting process. Although this kind of ac- tivity is already going on to some extent, it should be more widely and systematically adopted for energy, mineral, and environmental R&D planning. Trues Dete~n~ng the Health of Energy, Mineral, and Environmental Systems Research The health of engineering research in energy, mineral, and en- vironmental systems can be assessed by identifying the objectives
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 171 burners, sorbent injection systems, and fluidized bed boilers (both atmospheric and pressurized), which incorporate environmental controls into the basic design of the plant represent important ar- eas of research, as does the development and integration of other precombustion, combustion, and postcombustion control technol- ogy. Research should focus on: (1) basic process mechanisms (e.g., combustion, multiphase transport, etc.~; (2) the engineering of process components; and (3) the optimization of overall sys- tem designs, to improve overall plant efficiency and reliability and reduce adverse multimedia (i.e., air, water, land) environmental impacts. EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY Energy conservation and the efficient use of energy have re- ceived increased attention as energy costs have risen. Energy- intensive industries such as refineries, chemical plants, mines, and smelters have had a compelling incentive to increase the efficiency of their energy usage. Many of the improvements have come from operating changes, some from capital expenditures to in- stall more efficient equipment, and some from the introduction of advanced digital computer-based process control systems. Com- mercial buildings and houses also have reduced energy usage, pri- marily for heating and cooling. Sustained research supporting the development of more energy-efflcient utilization systems and de- vices for electricity (motors, control systems, heating and cooling systems, etc.), fossil fuels (engines, boilers, chemical processes, etc.), and solar energy is essential. Successful efforts in these areas will delay the need for constructing additional energy generating and production facilities, and may be more cost effective than constructing new facilities to increase the energy supply. FUEL QUALITY Economic conversion of low-grade or low-quality fuels (e.g., tar sands, refuse, and fossil fuels with high suIphur or metallic content) into electricity or other energy forms is very important for effective utilization of domestic reserves. Thermal energy con- version equipment (boilers, burners, gasifiers, etc.) capable of efficiently utilizing low-grade fuels also must be developed. These are essential components of any program to reduce dependence on
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172 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH foreign energy resources. An improved understanding of process mechanisms is particularly essential to progress in this area. EXTENDING PLANT LIFETIMES An important emerging area of energy-related engineering re- search is the issue of extending the lifetime and upgrading the per- formance and reliability of existing energy conversion and power generation facilities. In the face of increasingly higher costs for new facilities, there are strong incentives to seek ways of modi- fying, repowering, or upgrading existing plants with the goal of extending their useful lifetimes by 2~30 years (i.e., beyond the nominal historical lifetimes of about 35-45 years). Research is- sues are generally related to materials behavior, methods of boiler repowering, electrical and mechanical equipment reliability, and design of turbine generators and environmental control systems. In nuclear plants, the critical issue is the demonstration of anneal- ing to remove radiation-induced effects in certain key components, such as the pressure vessels, coolant piping, and control systems. A focused program of federal research, in conjunction with indus- trial support, could be important in providing basic and applied research support for many facets of this problem. ENERGY STORAGE Finally, improved energy storage systems (for electricity, syn- thetic gas, etc.) is another area in which innovative research is needed. Load-leveling through the use of storage systems could significantly delay the need to construct new energy facilities by increasing the utilization (Ioad factor) of existing facilities. Research on all of these subjects must address their technical and economic viability, while bringing full consideration to the need for acceptable ways to handle or satisfactorily mitigate their environmental impacts. In the case of certain technologies, pilot facilities must be built and operated to validate performance and costs, to establish a baseline of environmental impact data, and to demonstrate the successful mitigation of such impacts. There is an appropriate role here for federal participation (direct or indirect) to ensure that promising options are effectively brought to commercialization.
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS MINERAL RESOURCES 173 Mineral resources have contributed significantly to the devel- opment of a strong industrial base in the United States. Common characteristics of the mineral deposits that are now being ex- ploited are that they lie deep in the ground, are low in grade, and are difficult to process. Challenges that the mineral industry in the United States wit! face in the future include finding new deep ore bodies and developing technology for the processing of increas- ingly low-quality, finely dispersed ores. Mining and processing of these ores will have to use energy efficiently and be accomplished within stringent environmental constraints. Most important, the technology has to be made more efficient than it currently is in order for domestic products to be econorn~cally competitive in the international market. Mineral resource recovery generally involves extracting the material out of the earth, cornminut~ng it to a size such that the mineral grains are liberated from each other, and then separating the valuable mineral particles from the waste rock. With complex, fine-grained ores, very fine particles that resist treatment are often produced. Better technology ~ required to improve size-reduction technologies, the processing of fine particles, and the disposal of wastes. In some cases, chemical treatment of complex ores may afford an opportunity to exploit them. In certain cases, in-situ methods can replace the ruining and the physical concentrating step altogether. Because existing mining and processing techniques are not fully adequate for exploiting many of our low-quality domestic re- serves, there is a great need to develop new techniques. Important opportunities in this regard are . the development of sensors and instrumentation for explo- ration, remote control mining, and metallurgical operations; . the continued development of computer-assisted design and systems analysis of the entire mining and extraction process; . the application of new technology based on photoelectro- chemical, colloidal, and biological processes for developing new concentration and effluent-treatment techniques; and . the development of a fundamental data base on the be- havior of rocks and minerals during fracture (mining or crushing), dissolution (solution mining and hydrometallurgy), and adsorb tion and flocculation (mineral beneficiation).
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174 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH S ENS ORS Research in the development of new geophysical methods- for example, electromagnetic sensing- should be undertaken to provide technology useful in exploring for ore bodies that lie sev- eral hundred feet below the surface. Development of sensors and remote control equipment for automatic mining is important both to enhance productivity and to reduce health and safety hazards. There is a similar need for sensors in computer control of all mineral processing operations, including grinding, classification, flotation, flocculation, and electrowinning. In addition, we need to develop a better understanding of the physicochemical behavior of particles, aggregates, and dissolved species of minerals as well as the impurities in process streams. Eventually, the domestic rn~neral industry may have to go to the ocean and its floor for many minerals; yet the technology for exploring, mining, and processing such deposits is far from established. A better understanding of the origin and localization of deposits should help in identifying the best sites for exploration, whether on the ocean floor or on land. SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND CONTROL Design and systems analysis of the entire mining and extrac- tion process to increase the overall efficiency of mining is equally important. It will be necessary to formulate quantitative descrip- tions of the operations used in mining and processing, with par- ticular attention to possible complex interactions between various operations on different scales. A major overall consequence of de- creasing ore grade has been an increase in the scale of mining and processing operations. However, scale-up principles are not yet adequately established. It is important to develop the required basis for scale-up as well as scale-down for process equipment. Such clevelopments should help increase the productivity of mines and mills. IN-SITU LEACHING AND BURNING On a larger scale, new opportunities exist with in-situ op- erations using leaching and burning techniques. In this regard, information needs to be developed on the geological structures
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 175 involved, as well as the techniques for preparing the entire body to accept and use the leaching solutions. Methods to better delineate subsurface geological structures or underground fracturing of rock are required. An understanding of the flow of solutions through geological pores also needs to be developed so that possibilities for groundwater contamination can be estunated with sufficient reliability. COLLOIDAL AND BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES Leaching also holds great promise for the processing of very Tow-quality ores, particularly using microorganisms genetically en- gineered for increased efficiency and for higher toxicity tolerance. Interdisciplinary research is needed to derive information on the electrochemical and colloidal behavior of mineral fines and mi- croorga~isms in various media. Interaction among microbiologists, physical chemists, and mineral engineers should prove fruitful in this endeavor. A complete understanding of the surface and colloidal chemical interactions of fine particles in aqueous media containing various electrolytes, surfactants, and polymers is needed in order to utilize fully certain techniques based on selective aggregation that have emerged recently for the treatment of ultrafines. Selective floc- culation processes hold tremendous potential when followed by flotation, elutriation, and so on. Currently, however, applica- tion is limited to a couple of ore bodies and it has become clear that further development will depend on our understanding of all combinations of particle/particle/water/oil/gas interactions in the · . su omicron size range. SIZE REDUCTION METHODS Similar problems exist in developing efficient techniques for comminuting the mineral to the fine size range suitable for the abo~rementioned processes. The notoriously poor efficiency of com- munition processes in terms of energy consumption and indiscrim- inate intragranular fracture continues to be the most serious hin- drance for the effective processing of mineral raw materials. Here again, what is required is the development of an understanding of the microprocesses involved in the fracture of mineral grains and transport of the particles in the grinding and ciasmfication streams,
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176 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH along with an understanding of the manner in which these pros cesses are influenced by changes in the hydrodynamic and chemical properties of the environment around the particles. References Croff, A. G., J. O. Blomeke, and B. C. Finney. Actinide Partitioning- Transmutation Program, Final Report: One Overall Assessment. Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 1980. Department of Energy. Guidelines for DOE Long-Term Civilian Research and Development Vols. (DOE/S-0046~. Report of the Energy Research Advisory Board, December 1985. Engineering Manpower Commission. Engineering Enrollments: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983. New York: American Association of Engineering Societies, 1984. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Office of Exploratory Research Grant Program, bookkeeping data. Personal communication, 1985. National Research Council. Manapcmcnt of Hazardous Wastce: Research and Dcvelopmer~ Needs (NMAB-398~. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1983. National Research Council. Research Priorities for Advanced Fossil Energy Technologies. National Research Council, Energy Engineering Board, 1984. National Science Foundation. Science Indicators- 1982. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation, 1983. National Science Foundation. Federal Funds for Research and Development- Detailed Historical Tables: Fiscal Years 1955-1985. Division of Science Resources Studies. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation, undated. Norman, Colin. The science budget: A dose of austerity. Scicnec 227:72~728, 1985. Office of Science and Technology Policy. Report of the White House Science Council, Federal Laboratory Review Panel. Washington, DC: Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1983. Whittaker, R. Electricity: Lever on Industrial productivity. EPRI Journal 9~8~:1~14, 1984.
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS Appendix Responses to the Engineering Research Board's Request for Assistance Mom Universities, Professional Societies, and Federal Agencies and Laboratories 177 Requests for assistance were sent by the Engineering Research Board to a number of universities, recipients of Presidential Young Investigator Awards, professional societies, federal agencies, and federal and national laboratories in order to obtain a broader view of engineering research opportunities, research policy needs, and the health of the research community. Some of the responses included comments on engineering research aspects of energy, re- sources, and the environment; these were reviewed by this panel to aid in its decision-making process. The pane} found the responses most helpful and wishes that it were possible to individually thank all those who took the time to make their views known. Because that Is not practical, we hope nevertheless that this small acknowI- edgment might convey our gratitude. Responses on aspects of energy, resources, and the environ- ment were received from individuals representing 44 different or- ganizations (Table A-1~: 21 universities (including 4 represented by recipients of NSF Presidential Young Investigator Awards), 9 professional organizations, and 14 federal agencies or federal and national laboratories. Some comments covered specific aspects of the panel's scope of activities, whereas others provided input on a variety of subjects. RESEARCH NEEDS Research needs that were recommended as being of high pri- ority are summarized in Table A-2. In the energy field, the single most frequently cited priority was for research on coal. Coal was recognized as a major energy resource within the United States, and one that is in need of much greater development. Almost all recommendations on this topic dealt with the environmental problems associated with sulfur and nitrogen in coal as it relates to acid rain, and emphasized the need for better ways to clean coal or to remove oxides of nitrogen and sulfur after coal combustion.
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178 DIRECTIONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH TABLE A-1 Organizations Responding to Information Requests Relevant to Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Systems Research UNIVERSITIES Cornell University Duke University Northwestern University Princeton University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Syracuse University Texas A&M University University of Arizona University of California, Davis University of California, Los Angeles University of Florida University of Georgia University of Hawaii University of Illinois—Urbana/ Champaign University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri, Columbia University of Pennsylvania University of Texas at Austin University of Utah University of Wisconsin PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS American Academy of Environmental Engineers American Chemical Society American Institute of Chemical Engineers American Society of Civil Engineers American Society of Mechanical Engineers Council for Chemical Research Institute of Industrial Engineers Society of Engineering Science, Inc. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. AGENCIES AND LABORATORIES Air Force Office of Scientific Research Argonne National Laboratory Brookhaven National Laboratory Jet Propulsion Laboratory E. O. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory NASA Ames Research Center NASA Goddard Space Flight Center NASA Langley Research Center NASA Lewis Research Center National Center for Atmospheric Research Oak Ridge National Laboratory Office of Naval Research Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center (DOE) Sandia National Laboratories
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS TABLE A-2 Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Research Areas Most Frequently Cited by Responding Organizations Research Area Number of Organizations Citing Energy Coal E`ission and fusion Alternative sources Storage, transmission, efficiency Environmental tradeoffs Environment 12 10 16 14 13 Contaminant movement, fate, effects Hazardous waste control and management 9 Acid rain Groundwater contamination Water reuse, conservation Monitoring and sensors Combustion processes 27 11 12 13 11 15 179 Many comments concerned the need for more research on combus- tion technology, air cleaning processes, and the movement, fate, and effects of contaminants. Research on nuclear fission and fusion was recommended by several respondents as a major alternative to fossil fuels, consid- ering both the environmental problems associated with fossil fuels and the long-term problem of limited energy resources. Many respondents were concerned with the dependency of the United States on other nations for fuel, the ~rnpact it could have on indus- trial development, and related strategic problems. The need for a diverse energy supply was noted by many, with several recom- mending the development of alternative sources, including solar energy. For similar reasons, energy conservation, efficiency in en- ergy conversion, and better methods for storing and transporting energy were frequently mentioned. The majority of respondents noted that environmental con- cerns were associated with the development of most major forms of energy, and that energy development had to go hand-in-hand with
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180 DIREC17ONS IN ENGINEERING RESEARCH safeguards against environmental deterioration. Consequently, re- search in environmental areas associated with energy development was frequently given high priority. Regarding engineering research on environmental questions, there was a general need expressed for more knowledge about the movement, fate, and effects of chemicals in the environment, including the air, land, and both surface and groundwater. Re- sponclents believed that this is an important avenue for research that will have significant impacts in all technological areas of de- velopment. Associated with this need was the need for research on hazardous waste control and management, and chemicals asso- ciated with acid rain and groundwater contarn~nation. A frequent recommendation was for research on combustion processes asso- ciated with burning coal, hazardous wastes, and other materials, as well as in vehicle transportation. The limited water resources in many areas of the country resulted in several recommendations for research on water reuse and conservation. In addition, many respondents expressed a need for better monitoring tools to track pollutants in the environment, and also for sensors that could be used to discover and track contaminants through treatment processes and in the environment. POLICY AND HEALTH ISSUES Whereas most of the responses addressed priority research needs, several respondents did reflect on policy issues. Concerns were frequently expressed about the recent decreases in funding for basic and long-term engineering research in both the energy and the environmental fields. In this regard, several respondents noted that the national laboratories are obtaining a greater share of the remaining funds, leaving the university research programs vulnerable and in a state of declining health. The significant ad- verse impact this would have on the important role of universities in educating research engineers needed for the future was pointed out a number of times. Some also believed the recently established NSF engineering research centers would lead to less funding being available to researchers at universities or in programs not linked to the centers. Also of concern were the fluctuations in research funding that make continuity of research programs difficult to sustain.
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ENERGY, MINERAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS 181 Many of the research needs and issues of policy and health addressed by the respondents were similar to those noted by pane! members. The broadened perspective provided by the survey re- sponses was most beneficial In the panel's deliberations.
Representative terms from entire chapter: