For my trip to Calgary, I picked a larger, hardcover book off my shelf since I didn’t need to travel light. Coincidentally, the book I picked up, Fueling the Future, was very appropriate to my trip since it talked about the largest industry in Alberta, oil & gas.

Fueling the Future is a collection of essays written by various leaders in the field about how ingenuity, mostly social but also technical, can solve our upcoming energy crisis. It covers a wide range of topics from a Canadian perspective, such as the tar sands of Alberta, natural gas reserves in the Mackenzie Delta, the fuel cell industry in Vancouver, alternative energy sources and how Canadian approaches are different than those in Nigeria and elsewhere.

While there is discussion about many issues I found that what was lacking was actual rhetoric on what ingenuity will be able to solve these problems. It is clear from reading that book that our dependence on oil will continue for many decades, but it may no longer be as cheap as it is now. It is clear that Hydrogen and fuel cells will be the alternative in the future, but there are a lot of connections, such as how these cells will be powered, that there are no described solutions for.

I think the problem is that by asking many authors to write chapters, there is a fragmented vision of what our future could be. Many perspectives and alternatives are proposed, but there is no straightforward path to guide the reader through the history, the problems, and how the future may be fueled.