Ralph L. Bayrer
Vellum, 2011
396 Pages
ISBN 978-0-9836899-3-5 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

Ralph L. Bayrer is a Navy veteran with master’s degrees in Engineering Physics from Cornell and Physics from Georgetown University. He was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, an international management consulting firm, an officer of the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation, and a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service.

About the book

This book presents a history of the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation (SFC) set in the context of the country’s last large-scale energy crisis, which hit in the 1970s. ‘Synthetic fuels’ can be derived from solid coal and oil shale resources, which in the United States contain the energy equivalent many times over of all the oil in the Middle East.

The author was Vice President of SFC and head of the U.S. Department of Treasury office overseeing the funded projects for ten years after Congress terminated the program in 1986.


“This book recreates a vitally important story about our nation’s energy planning that has not been touched on before in any serious fashion. It fills a gap in our understanding of how and why we have wrestled ineffectively with questions of energy independence for too many decades.”

—Jack Prostko, Ph.D., The College of Professional Studies, The George Washington University.

“This book is the only substantive history of a once-prominent government program that might as well have reached considerable size and scope. Beyond its role as historical resource, the work possesses a relevance to current events on the one hand and an insight into the workings of government on the other.”

—Douglas Seay, Senior staff on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.