Last updated on: 3/2/2009 | Author:

Ulf Bossel, PhD Biography

Freelance sustainable energy consultant
Pro to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"

“The question ‘Can alternative energy effectively replace fossil fuels?’ is not properly worded. After running out of fossil fuels and Uranium, energy from renewable sources must and will fully replace today’s energy sources. There are no other choices. The question should be: ‘Can we satisfy 50% of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2050?’

The answer is a definitive ‘yes we can’. But it requires determination and concerted action. The necessary transition is slowed by asking questions like the one above and by starting a debate over pros and cons of the unavoidable process of change. The transition to renewables is dictated by nature (limited resources, global warming, nuclear waste) and not by environmentalist or green politicians.

Solar energy is abundant. An area of about 100 x 100 miles in Arizona receives much more solar energy than the entire US needs. Renewable energy from amortized installation will be much cheaper than electricity from nuclear power plants or fusion reactors. As most renewable energy is harvested as electricity, our energy system will be heavily based on electricity and very efficient use of energy. Wasteful thermal power plants will run out of fuel, but heat pumps will become real multipliers for renewable electrical energy. The energy needs of people will be satisfied with much less primary energy. There is no reason to be afraid of the future.

But we have to leave the chemical energy base (thermal power plants, IC engines etc.) and switch to a physical energy base (electricity). This is the challenge of our society. We can master the future only if we accept this assignment and go for it.”

Email to, Feb. 22, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Freelance sustainable energy consultant, 1990-present
  • Former researcher, New Technology Group, Brown Boveri & Cie
  • Founder, Fuel Cell Conference Series, European Fuel Cell Forum
  • Founder, German Solar Energy Society, 1976
  • Former Head, Free Molecular Flow Research Group, DLR (Germany’s national research center for aeronautics and space)
  • Former Assistant Professor, Syracuse University
  • PhD, Aeronautical Science, University of California at Berkeley, 1968
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Zurich, 1961
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Should Hydrogen Be the Dominant Energy in the US?