The Prospect of Abundant Energy

  • R. Philip Hammond


It has been shown that electrochemical processes can perform a wide variety of functions and can substitute for other ways of accomplishing man’s tasks, frequently in a cleaner and more efficient fashion. This substitution of electric energy for other inputs is of more general significance than is indicated by the examples given. In principle, energy may be looked upon as the only key input, since everything else can be collected and recycled. From the environmental standpoint, then, the degree to which man can minimize his consumption of scarce materials through recycle will determine how well he can preserve the pleasant face of the earth. The cost of energy is a determining factor in such considerations. If energy can be made sufficiently cheap, many more substitutions of electric intensive industrial processes can occur. Figure 1 shows some examples.


Nuclear Power Station Large Reactor Nuclear Power Reactor Coastal Desert Agroindustrial Complex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    P. C. Putnam, Energy in the Future, D. Van Nostrand Company, New York, 1953.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. M. Weinberg, Energy as an ultimate raw material or—problems of burning the sea and burning the rocks. Physics Today 12 (1959) No. 11, 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. B. S. Haldane, On being the right size, in The World of Mathematics, Ed. J. R. Newman, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1956.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    John von Neumann, Can we survive technology? Fortune 51 (1955) 106.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. M. Weinberg, “The Social Responsibility of the Nuclear Scientist,” paper presented at the Institute of Atomic Energy, Sao Paulo, November 29, 1963.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harrison Brown, James Bonner, and John Weir, The Next Hundred Years, The Viking Press, New York, 1954.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    R. P. Hammond, Large reactors may distill sea water economically. Nucleonics 21 (1962) No. 12, 45.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    A. Sesonske and R. P. Hammond, “A Preliminary Evaluation of Fast Oxide Breeder Reactors for Sea Water Conversion,” USAEC Report LA-2733 (1962).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    R. P. Hammond, R. E. L. Stanford, and J. R. Humphreys, Jr., “Mobile Fuel Plutonium Breeders,” USAEC Report LA-2644 (1961).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Roger Revelle, Population and food supplies: The edge of the knife. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S. 56 (1966) No. 2, 328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Meigs, “Geography of Coastal Deserts,” UNESCO, Arid Zone Research Report No. 28 (1966).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    R. P. Hammond, Desalted water for agriculture, in Water for Peace, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, Printing Office, 1968, Vol. 2, pp. 184–197.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    A. M. Weinberg, Can technology replace social engineering? Bull. At. Sci. 22 (1966) No. 10, 4.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nuclear Energy Centers—Industrial and Agro-Industrial Complexes,” USAEC Report ORNL-4290, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (November 1968).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    A. M. Weinberg and R. P. Hammond, Limits to the use of energy. Am. Sci. 58 (1970) No. 4, 412.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    R. P. Hammond, Low cost energy: A new dimension. Science Journal 5 (1969) No. 1, 34.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    P. R. Stout, Power: The key to food sufficiency in India? Bull. At. Sci. 24 (1968) No. 8, 26.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    John D. Isaacs and Walter R. Schmitt, Stimulation of marine productivity with waste heat and mechanical power. Journal du Conseil International pour Exploration de la Mer 33 (1959) No. 1, 20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Philip Hammond
    • 1
  1. 1.Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

Personalised recommendations