“Corn is Better Food than Fuel,” read a headline in the September issue of Mechanical Engineering magazine (v.139, No 9, p. 11). Having siphoned gas from a pickup truck in my youth—an efficient way to transfer gas to a dirt bike—I tend to agree. I’ll have the corn, please. Hold the fuel.
Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, publishes a monthly feature called “The Vault,” where decades old articles are reprinted to offer perspectives from the past.
In the most recent issue (October 2017, Vol. 139, No. 10), the editors included a forty-year-old article titled, “New Career Paths in Engineering, Applications of Solar Energy,” by Lloyd O. Herwig, which provided an overview of the projected economic viability of various solar power technologies circa 1977. The article was a reminder of how often the economic viability of up and coming technologies is only 10 to 20 years away, to which one might add, “And they always will be.”