Theoretically, the oil shale in the American West could provide enough oil to power the world, Saudi-free, for decades or more. The problem is that while oil shale is a hydrocarbon, it’s not a terribly attractive one. Massive amounts of energy must be used to extract useful fuel, making it a loser in terms of economics and energy balance.

Fortunately, Raytheon (makers of the missiles and radars used by the USAF) is there to save the day, via The Energy Blog:

Radio frequency (RF) energy combined with critical fluid (CF) technology shows promise for efficiently extracting oil from shale. Historically, the lack of an economical and environmentally friendly way for extracting oil from shale has kept it from being a significant energy source.

“Raytheon is an expert in RF technology,” said Lee Silvestre, director of Mission Innovation at Raytheon IDS. “What makes this effort a breakthrough is that similar RF technology that we have been applying in core defense products — radars for tracking and guidance systems — has demonstrated applications in the energy crisis.”

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So good to see a mom-and-pop operation like Raytheon helping the country — nay, the planet! — through its environmental crisis. After all, I’m sure oil-shale harvesting will be at least as efficient as, say, the tar sands.

The military industrial complex: Fueling the … military industrial complex since 1945!