## ABSTRACT

Modern societies face many challenges, including growing populations, increased demands for food, clothing, housing, consumer goods, and the concomitant raw materials required to produce all of these. Additionally, there is a growing need for energy, which is most easily met by use of fossil fuels (e.g., coal, natural gas, and petroleum). In 2008, the overall U.S. demand for energy was 99.3 × 1015 Btu (1.05 × 1014 MJ); 84% of this was supplied by fossil sources (U.S. EIA, 2009). Transportation fuels accounted for 28% of all energy consumed during this time, and nearly 97% of this came from fossil sources. Domestic production of crude oil was 4.96 million barrels per day, whereas imports were 9.76 million barrels per day (nearly two-thirds of the total U.S. demand) (U.S. EIA, 2009). Many argue that this scenario is not sustainable in the long term, for a variety of reasons (such as the need for energy independence and global warming), and other alternatives are needed.