As public concern grows over the environmental impact of our energy sources, scientists and policy makers are racing to develop newer, cleaner energy sources. Currently, our dependence on petroleum-based energy is hurting both the economy and our ecosystem. In most developed, first-world countries it has been recognized that a change must be made in order to save the planet from further destruction. Governments and private corporations are joining together to come up with new ideas on energy production that will be clean enough to preserve life as we know it, and yet cheap enough that we can actually afford to utilize it. In fact, the true goal is not only affordable energy, but energy which is without limits, renewable, and possibly even free.

Technology has certainly made great gains in clean energy sources. We already have nuclear-powered batteries, and emissions-free cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells are in currently in development. However, mankind’s reliance on fossil fuels remains an enormous problem for the entire planet. In response to the pressing need for research and development of new technologies in the alternative energy field, The Integrity Research Institute held the First International Conference on Future Energy (COFE) on April 29 through May 1, 1999. Held in Bethesda, Maryland, the conference aimed to spread public awareness and gather more support for alternative energy research.

The Integrity Research Institute (IRI) is a nonprofit corporation aimed toward research, technology development, and public education with regard to the development of better energy sources. The IRI conducts research projects on bioenergy, energy generation and propulsion, and communications. Their core belief is that we must reduce, and eventually eliminate altogether, our dependence on energy sources which produce carbon dioxide. The hope is that this can be done by replacing current energy production technology with newer methods which match, or even exceed, current production standards. This goal is so well-regarded in the scientific community, that researchers from all over the world were eager to attend COFE and collaborate on ideas that will hopefully lead to a healthier planet for future generations to enjoy. Many investors also attended the conference, hoping to use their wealth and business sense for the greater good of mankind. Thomas Valone, COFE’s organizer and first speaker, expressed his views that the development of clean energy is not inhibited by a lack of technologies, but rather by social consciousness which needs to become more aware of the problems we face together. That desired change in public opinion and education was the precise reason he organized COFE, and was able to persuade so many forward-thinking minds to attend the conference.

Although there was some controversy over the U.S. Government’s withdrawal of support for the conference, the Department of Energy did send a spokesman to address the topic of hydrogen fuel cell technology, which aims to replace gas-powered cars and reduce dependence upon petroleum. David Hamilton shared information on the program Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. This program was created by the DOE in order to address growing concern over petroleum dependence, and to encourage research and development of alternative power sources for cars. Hamilton shared with his audience the good news that the three major American car manufacturers have fuel cell vehicles currently in development. In fact, Daimler Benz also estimated that 100,000 fuel cell cars would be produced over the next five years. This speech nicely complimented a Saturday workshop offered by Bob Rose, entitled “Breakthrough Tech: Fuel Cells”, which detailed the expectations for fuel cells in the automotive market.

Nuclear power was also a big topic of discussion at the conference, with Dr. Paul Brown detailing his work with betavoltaic batteries. These nuclear batteries carry an expected life of ten years, making them a much better energy source for devices like relay towers, satellites, and even portable computers. Brown also shared his work on dealing with nuclear waste by utilizing photofission to transform it into harmless isotopes. At the time of the conference Brown had pending patents on this process. Dr Edmund Storms also presented at the conference, and shared details on his innovative CANR research. CANR, which stands for chemically assisted nuclear reactions, is a method for nuclear energy production which does not result in dangerous radioactive waste.

Les Adams, the president of AZ Industries, gave an exciting presentation on magnetic power. Adams also happens to be one of the sponsors behind Ener-run, a contest which seeks to discover alternative power sources by challenging participants to create vehicles which can travel 4,000 miles without refueling. His talk on magnets explained a wide range of applications for the energy source, such as water filtration systems, electric vehicles, and an exciting non-combustive helicopter.

David Wallman gave a presentation on Carbon-Arc Gasification of Biomass Solutions. The innovative engineer explained how this process can be utilized to generate a hydrogen-based gas from waste products. This type of gas burns clean, and produces energy without emissions or other harmful effects. The hope is that this technology can be used to convert organic by-products such as animal waste, crop residues, and municipal waste into a renewable fuel source. The abundance of such waste products makes this innovation a solid hope for future clean energy production.

Another clean energy technology presented at the conference was wind energy, with a speech on the topic given by Kent Robertson. Wind is, of course, a renewable resource that can never be depleted. Harnessing the energy produced by wind is the fastest-growing field of research in clean energy, and for good reason. The technology is timeless and produces no harmful by-products, and if developed correctly would have no expiration date and could therefore be used for centuries to come.

Nu Energy Horizons, a leading research firm on the topic of clean energy, was represented at the conference by inventor Bruce Perreault. Perreault gave a presentation on his work in the field of radiant energy. Research into radiant energy actually began all the way back in 1911, when T Henry Moray first detailed his discoveries on the subject. Basing his work on Moray’s original discoveries, Perreault created a device he calls the Perreault Radiant Energy Valve, which he demonstrated at the conference.

The Radiant Energy Valve actually works as a set of valves which each perform separate functions. The first valve gathers and stores electrons in high voltage capacitors, while the second valve converts the resulting high voltage charge into energy. Normally, nuclear reactions are associated in the public consciousness with harmful by-products, promoting fears about the safety of such energy generation. While Perreault’s invention does indeed utilize nuclear reactions via radioactive ores, this particular process actually does not produce the by-products commonly thought to co-exist with nuclear power generation. The excitement over Perreault’s invention stems from this lack of toxic waste, which means that nuclear energy can also be clean energy. The Radiant Energy Valve garnered more than its share of attention at the conference, due to the fact that it is a closed system, does not produce noise, and of course creates no harmful emissions. Despite this great advance, Perreault announced that he was still investigating other methods of power generation that do not require radioactive materials at all.

Perreault also discussed his ideas on alternative energy sources that may yet remain untapped. He shared his belief with the audience that the earth contains many forms of energy which we have yet to discover and utilize, and that advancing technology will require a recognition of all this hidden potential. Perreault pointed out that the element Polonium, which rarely exists in pure form, has been recognized as the most powerful element to date. His point is illustrated when one considers that Polonium is 5,000 times more powerful than Radium, and in fact the decay of half a gram of Polonium can produce up to 932 degrees of heat. The generally recognized problem with Polonium, of course, is its rarity and the fact that it does not exist alone in nature. It must be extracted from Polonium ore, a process which Perreault was able to achieve with his Radiant Energy Valve. This achievement underscores his point that new innovations will allow us to harness new and increasing forms of power, which will help to meet the goal of sustainable and renewable energy sources.

COFE also managed to touch on some topics which have been controversial in the scientific community, such as cold fusion and zero point energy. Speakers Frank Znidarsic and Thomas Valone, in particular, gave presentations on zero point energy. The discussion of some controversial topics may be what led Bob Park, of the American Physical Society, to withdraw support and declare that the conference lacked discussion of conventional science. Nevertheless, the presentations on these subjects certainly added a unique layer to the conference and were enjoyed by many participants.

The information shared at COFE in 1999 remains relevant to this day, as gas prices soar due to public dependence upon petroleum-based energy. It is fully recognized that better and cleaner energy sources must be found, in order to end dependence upon fossil fuels. Public consciousness has embraced the need for environmental protections, so that a clean and sustainable planet will be left for future generations to enjoy. Now more than ever, it is recognized that new forms of energy must be discovered and utilized, before it is too late to save Earth and its inhabitants. In that respect, it could be said that COFE was highly successful, as public education and a call to action were two of the primary goals of the conference. While the world still has a long road to travel in terms of government policy and political roadblocks, the message COFE sought to convey has been successful in motivating scientists, inventors, and policy makers to create a better future for our planet.