Monday, 20 April 2009

Images for the Age

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Study. Understand.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Cars without Oil - Can it be done?

One of the recurring themes here and in other oil depletion blogs is the problem of cars. There are about 800 million oil powered motor vehicles on the roads of the world. That number is estimated to go up by a few hundred million by 2020 - even if the economy doesn't recover to BAU levels.

This poses many questions from the point of view of peak oil:

  • Assuming near and sharp oil peak, where is the energy going to come from to power the cars?
  • If not oil or brain dead bio-fuels, what is the fuel & and the energy carrier?
  • Who's going to build the new cars?
  • Which country is going to adopt this new system - requiring massive investments in infrastructure?
  • Car fleet replacement rate is c. 2% p.a. - how long time will the transformation take?
  • Who's going to fund all this massive investment?
  • Can it be made economic to compete with ICE cars?
  • Will it cut down our CO2 emissions?

Well, looks like Shai Agassi's (ex-SAP/Oracle) new company Better Place is asking exactly these questions and trying to answer them.

Below is Agassi's presentation from TED on the issue. Very good points and worth spending 20 minutes on, even if you don't share his optimism about replacing the worlds cars in a decade or so. Also, it is a very good showcase of rhetoric - enough data points to convince, emotions to draw you in, morality to remove defenses and hope to make you believe.

We need more people and examples like this. What can you do?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

G-20 money *might* be enough, but oil will NOT be

Kjell Aleklett of ASPO and professor of physics at Uppsala University puts the G20 stimulus trillions into perspective for the whole world::

"The world’s wealthiest nations, the G20 group, have decided to light a fire but have forgotten a very important detail – to check whether there is sufficient fuel to enable the fire to burn.

During the last 20 years we have had global economic growth of approximately 3% per annum. Fuel use in the form of oil has increased, on average, by half of this rate, i.e. 1.5% per annum.

[W]e show that oil production from those fields that are currently in production will decrease by 6 percent per year during the next 5 years. This means a decrease in the rate of production by 18 million barrels per day after 5 years. The G20 nations want to increase oil use but the forces of Nature say that there will be a decrease.

The same nations that now require increased oil consumption will meet in December with the world’s other nations in Copenhagen. They will then discuss what measures they can take to reduce oil consumption.

What the G20 group should discuss is what investments will be required for this transformation of the energy system to become reality."
So where does it end? Will the next boom be cut-off by another oil crunch, leading again to a new bust, as the newly minted money and debt evaporates? The cycle begins anew, until we hit the oil ceiling again? Repeat ad infinitum?