When we think of carbonaceous fuels we think too often of cheap energy and lots of environmental pollution. My main argument in this paper is that it ain't necessarily so. In fact, an integrated approach to the properties of carbonaceous materials and the methods of their utilization offers many opportunities for providing both clean energy and clean environment. Such an approach does present quite a few challenges in research and development, and some of these are discussed here. But perhaps the greatest challenge lies on the educational front; a new incarnation of a “renaissance man” may be necessary to develop this approach to its full potential. This is yet another example of the (slowly emerging?) cradle-to-cradle paradigm in science and technology. Only when the full cycle of virtues and liabilities of carbonaceous materials and their many potential uses are really understood by a single researcher, or by a truly functional multidisciplinary R&D team, shall society see the development of a new generation of environmentally optimized carbon materials and their utilization processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering