Joe Shuster

Joe Shuster is the author of Beyond Fossil FoolsThe Roadmap to Energy Independence by 2040. and is a chemical engineer who has spent his entire business career in engineering and management roles in diverse technically oriented companies.  He co-founded Minnesota Valley Engineering, which, under his guidance, became the world’s leading manufacturer of high-technology, low-temperature (cryogenic) equipment used in industry, medicine, agriculture, and transportation. MVE designed and manufactured hydrogen equipment, enhanced oil recovery systems, and hydrogen and LNG transportation fuel systems.  He was also the founder of Teltech, a National science and engineering consulting firm that produced hundreds of technical dossiers on many technical subjects including gas turbines, photovoltaic manufacturing processes, natural gas purification, fuels cells and many other energy related topics. In addition, he founded or co-founded seven other technology based companies and has served on the Board of Directors of over twenty businesses, organizations, and international firms. He has received numerous professional and civic awards.


His energy alert paper for the U.S. congress accurately predicted the oil embargo in 1973. He has also testified before congress in support of a National Technology Transfer program.

by Tom Blees

I’m sorry to report that Joe Shuster, a dear friend of many years and an early member of SCGI, died on March 6 at the age of 83. Joe was the author of Beyond Fossil Fools, and the publication of his book in 2008 within weeks of the publication of my own book dealing with similar issues began a friendship and collaboration that will continue to inspire me long after his passing.

Joe suffered from lymphoma for some time, with periodic bouts of chemotherapy. Yet his passion for improving the planet’s health for all humanity kept him chugging along, denying the grim reaper on more than one occasion when he was seriously ill. He’d always bounce back and continue in his indefatigable efforts to do whatever he could to tackle the big issues of climate change, energy, and the betterment of humankind.

Chemo is a dangerous remedy, though, and recently a small injury led to an infection that quickly advanced into a very serious condition. Finally, Joe realized that his only choice to survive would be to rely on machines for the rest of his life, and he decided against such a course of action. His devoted daughter Siri informed me of Joe’s condition, and after a brief phone conversation with Joe I flew to Minnesota to meet with him in the hospital, knowing he would only be with us for a very short time. Joe had decided to move back home to face the end with his loving family. He insisted that I come to visit him again after he’d gotten back home, so we had one last visit two days later. When I got to the house, which was filled with his kids, grandkids, and friends, Siri told me that Joe had insisted on being dressed in his "I ❤ Nuclear" T-shirt for my visit, an expression of the sense of humor Joe used so effectively to communicate ideas.

Having been a board member of SCGI for many years, we will miss Joe on a professional as well as a very personal level. He told me in our last visit that he was content to know that we would carry on the work to which he’d devoted so much energy in the last years of his life. We will all miss him, and I trust that his commitment will serve to inspire us in the years ahead.

  • The world population will increase by 3 billion in the next 50 years.

  • U.S. conventional oil reserves would only last 3 years at our present rate of consumption, if we stopped importing oil.
  • At the world’s current rate of use of oil-30 billion barrels per year-conventional oil reserves will last 37 years. By 2044, we are bone dry.
  • U.S. drivers would blow the entire ANWR reserves out of their collective tailpipes in less than one year.
  • More people are killed by air pollution than auto accidents.
  • Acid rain, ocean acidification and mercury pollution cost the world trillions of dollars every year.
  • For every gallon of gasoline we burn, we produce about 17 pounds of CO2.
  • Transitioning to all plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles will decrease the cost of driving by 80%.
  • Over the 30-year transition period, we will save more than we spend on the transition.
  • A 1.65-megawatt windmill produces enough electricity for approximately 450 average US homes.
  • The wind energy produced worldwide through 2006 is less than 1 percent of the total energy used in the United States."
  • Solar power research has helped reduce solar power costs by nearly 50% in a decade and such research is essential to making solar power more widely competitive.
  • Solar alone, wind alone or solar and wind together will not totally solve our energy problems.
  • The public pays some environmental price for deploying every known energy source -- even for wind and solar energy.  The best we can do is to choose wisely between the alternatives.  The worst choice is coal.  The next worse choice is oil.
  • People living within 10 miles of the Three Mile Island accident received about the same radiation a person would receive from one chest x-ray. Although the accident was severe, there were no injuries and no deaths.
  • A Chernobyl-like accident cannot happen in the United States because U.S. reactors are designed differently and include a containment building.
  • While tragic, less than 60 people lost their lives in the Chernobyl accident. Fossil fuel pollution causes more than 2 million deaths worldwide per year.
  • Only nuclear energy delivered by modern fast neutron reactors can rescue the world from energy disaster -- simple as that.
  • Nuclear energy from fast neutron reactors resolves every energy issue facing the world today -- depletion of oil, pollution from fossil fuels, and even the prospect of global warming from greenhouse gases.
  • GNEP will contribute to world peace because nations will have no need to fight energy wars as fossil-fuel resources run out.
  • The EPA tests misrepresent the miles per gallon for cars and trucks 90 percent of the time and always in favor of the car manufacturers.
  • Rather than store the waste on-site or in some repository such as Yucca Mountain for 10,000 years or more, fast neutron reactors will re-use nearly all of the waste as fuel -- the ultimate recycling process.
  • More vehicles will be produced in the next 20 years than during the whole of the twentieth century.
  • All-electric cars are the ultimate goal, because the fuel costs for operating all-electric cars would be 6-10 times less than the costs for operating internal combustion engines, assuming a comparable 'fuel' tax.
  • According to Tesla, if one uses off-peak current at 5 cents per kilowatt hour, then the fuel cost would be approximately 1 cent  per mile."
  • Any new nuclear plant will be safer and more efficient than any built in the past.  The United States has over 30 year exceptionally safe operating experience -- the safest of any industry."