Sunday, March 7, 2010

Peak Oil‏

Hey Ferfal, I've read a ton of your blog and think you have many down to earth thoughts. I have recently applied for a gun permit (mostly because of your comments), I still don't love the thought of owning a gun but the thought of being helpless in a bad situation seems worse.

With that said I am pretty sure I have not seen you mention peak oil.  There are excellent documentories on youtube on it and many good sites.  theoildrum.com seems to be very informative. 

If you have time, please look into the theory.  It seems to me many of your assumptions are based on your feeling that were in bad economic times where eventually the things will improve.  According to peak oil theory, the reason for all of our economy's troubles is the dwindling supply of cheap oil.  As cheap oil becomes more and more scarce,the WORLD economy will shrink.  The reason I bring this up to you, is because I think this information would paint a far scarier and bleaker picture of the potential problems the world faces.  Please take the time to look it up, and thanks for all your informative thoughts. -Dave

Hi Dave, sorry for the delay in replying your email.

I think that, while oil will some day inevitably dry up, there's still a lot of it, more being found, and better technological advances made towards maximizing the way we use it.
I think peak oil was in many ways encouraged by some economic groups to make tons of money.
Please read this post: How financial bubbles work. 
There you can see how the increase of oil prices is most often orchestrated on purpose to make money.

But what about when we do eventually run out of it?
You deal with it!

I'll throw in another Argentine example. Most people can't afford gasoline here so they use GNC, natual compressed gas. More than 50% of our cars run on it. Even more have the GNC kit installed (like I do) and use both gasoline or natural gas. When investors and capitalists found this out, the business boomed. Mechanics started making a lot of money installing GNC kits, gas stations offering GNC started to become more and more common. It was good business. The government didn't have to do a thing, it was jsut the natural flow of an business opportunity.

One day there's not going to be any more oil. But you know whats going to happen? Those same conpanies will move to some other source of energy. One type of commodity dies out but the market is still there, billions to be made! Energy efficient cars, using a number of difference sources of energy. Capitalism will do its thing, invest, research, and sell to the mass.

FerFAL

40 comments:

Loquisimo said...

I think the risk especially in USA is that the government will on purpose short-circuit the free market, either by deliberate implementation of Marxism or by passive over-regulation that destroys innovation. If the USA govt tries to prop up failing institutions (bank bailout), or tries to create industries via artificial subsidies, then the market won't work and we'll sink deeper into the muck. IMO the USA govt should have broken up the failed banks and sold off the parts that still worked, and wiped out the toxic debt by executive order.

The govt should NOT try to create a "green energy" industry the way IT wants by subsidies. If there is money to be made, private enterprise will do it. Two or three years ago, a scientist discovered LED lighting. Today, I have a flashlight and a lantern that uses LED light. They were cheap too, about $10 each. I've seen LED light bulbs for $30-40 each, too. That's the free market at work. If the govt steps in and determines winners and losers, there is no free market and society stagnates. We will find other sources of energy LONG before we run out of oil-provided that there's still a free market in USA.

windfall said...

Hello Ferfal,

I think possibly you are missing the point of peak oil. I believe it's more about the end of "cheap" oil rather then the end of oil all together. The world's massive population growth over the last 150 years coincided with the age of cheap oil. It will be impossible for the world and the US in particular to maintain its standard of living with out it (many places won't even be able to feed themselves). Also, petroleum products do much more for society than just fuel cars. Fertilizers, plastics, clothing and many if not most things around you required petroleum either directly to manufacture or some where in the chain of manufacturing/delivering it.

By the way would you consider making your book available in the Kindle and Sony E-reader formats. I would love to order it but getting it to Mexico where I am currently living is difficult.

Keep up the great work,

Jim

Bones said...

Peak oil is BS. It's all about cost of recovery. There's more oil under South Dakota than in Saudi Arabia, it's just more expensive to recover. Yes, fuel prices will rise but the upside is many alternatives become more financially viable as prices rise. With economies of scale and future technological advances these energy sources could actually become relatively cheaper than oil is now.

Our economy is oil based simply because oil is cheap. As a result there is no incentive to change. The price of oil is reflected in our choices; people buy big, inefficient vehicles because comfort and convenience are their priority. Once energy prices rise to the point where efficiency is a priority, consumer choices will change. This exact dynamic was seen during the recent oil price bubble. The same dynamic applies to industry. Hence rising energy prices will trigger a drive toward efficiency and alternative energy sources.

The bottom line is that it's not all about oil, it's all about energy and these are not the same things.

Bill Browne said...

Ferfal,

I'm a new reader and thought your book was great. Just wanted to second your opinion on peak oil.

People freak out for no good reason. The world might run out of oil, but as you said we will adapt and find alternative sources of energy--and we'll do it quickly.

So worry more about the dude climbing in your window at night because he's a more realistic threat at this point.

skymetalsmith said...

The peak oil problem is not just about running cars. Virtually everything in our day to day lives has oil as an ingredient, or depends on oil to get it to us. It is about a population explosion that will use all resources without replenishing them. It is about perpetual war for the remaining resources.

Anonymous said...

We are not running out of oil. We are running out of cheap oil. In the US, natural gas is in much better shape. The use of dual fuel autos is a definite way to work around the expensive oil and political problems with that commodity. Look at Mexico and Venezuela. Political considerations are decimating their oil production potential. The same with Iraq. Politics, not scarcity.
In the US, a revival of railroads would be a huge plus for everyone.
There is much that can be done over the next decade to make sure that "peak oil" is nothing more than an expensive inconvenience.
Of course, we have to do it...

Canis Lupus said...

I observe that youg parents have "natural" difficulties to think that peak energy is arround the corner. They have youg children and they don't want them to live in a chaotic and/or miseryful world. They would rather talk about new sources of energy, technological breakthroughs, artificial bubbles etc.
With a world population at 7 billions and still growing, I can't see how we could avoid an energy crunch (I count on India and China, which make about a third of the world population to play a big role in this energy crunch).
There will certainly be a transition but in the end we'll end up like Cuba where privatly owned cars are scarse and public transportation are widespread, organic agriculture etc.

Life sucks, I know :-D

Mudturkle said...

Dear Fernando,

I really enjoy your blog. And I almost always agree with what you say. I have a small Christian survivalist forum (about 400 members) and I recommend your blog to my members regularly.

And while I agree with what you are saying in the short term, in the slightly longer term I don't think that it will be true.

When I first checked into peak oil, I thought "Well, we will just need to switch to some other source of energy". But I don't think it will be that simple. On closer inspection it turns out that some of these alternate sources of fuel are not cost-effective, or require an extensive lead time to produce the equipment. Plus it seems that it's not only peak oil, it's really "peak just about everything". There is even a limited suppy of uranium, so even nuclear power isn't endless. The energy from the sun and the wind is free, but it has to be harnessed. If the US would go on a crash course to convert to these alternate sources, we might be able to. But in order to do that, our leaders would have to acknowledge the problem. And that would not be politically expedient. People *really* don't want to hear bad news. Let's ignore it, pretend the problem doesn't exist, and maybe it will go away. But the result is that there won't be a crash course to correct the problem. I've heard it said that the solution might be 20 years out at the rate we are going, and the problem might be 10 years out. Do the math.

Americans are starting to try to be more energy efficient, but China and India are just now beginning to be consumers. With increasing demand and decreasing supply, energy costs will become outrageous. This will slow down the world's economy and increase the cost of food. America in particular will have a hard time because we are making no effort to change our lifestyle. America is so big and our food production so far from the cities that transportation and distribution will become difficult. And yet, life goes on in America. Priorities haven't really changed. People understand that there is a problem with the economy, but they think it's just temporary. People in the cities just assume that there will always be cheap and plentiful food. They don't understand how fragile the production and distribution system is.

Anyway, while I believe that eventually TEOTWAWKI scenarios that typical survivalists prepare for will come, but I think many people will have difficulty making it to that point and that is why I recommend your blog and read it often. Keep up the good work.

yours,
John Reno

DaShui said...

Que Pasa FerFal,

My family has been investing in Texas oil wells since 1980. I noticed only lately have the petroleum engineers and geologists have started discussing Peak Oil. They seem to be believers that it is happening around now. New field discoveries are only 1/50th of what we got out of Saudi Arabian fields. Concerning my investments, if the well produces 20 barrels per day I am thrilled, but this is not even a drop in the bucket(barrel?) when compared to American oil demand, but lifespan of the well can be 40 years, so oil won't run out tomorrow.
A lot of taxis in Asia use LNG. But when I get off the airplane with 2 bags, call a taxi, open the trunk and there is no room because of the LNG tank takes up all the trunk space. So the bags sit in my lap. Also I noticed long lines at the LNG refill center as refilling seems to take longer than gasoline. In California, its possible to rent a gas compressor that hooks up to your home gas line enabling you to fill up your car at night. Another problem is that fertilizer is made out of natural gas, meaning if we increase demand so to run our cars, the price of fertilizer will escalate driving up food prices more.
BTW my mother opened a can of beans and noticed that it could only feed 2 people, before 4 people could eat from 1 can. Just like you said- stealth inflation.

Anonymous said...

All energy markets respond only in crisis.

In the early 1800's the "cheap" wood near US cities was gone, and we shifted to coal. In the later part of the 19th century the "cheap" (i.e. easily mined on the surface) coal was gone and we shifted to oil. Just as FerFAL states, we'll make the shift when it becomes economic and necessary.

There is no foresight in the energy business because developed economies prosper with cheap energy. And while conversion to cleaner fuels is certainly desirable from a societal and stewardship standpoint, it only comes with an associated economic cost.

What is perhaps more concerning is how much of the world's energy supply goes through the Straits of Hormuz. One little disruption there and we could see economic global panic in only days - which is why the US has TWO (2) carrier fleets in the Indian Ocean at all times.

Should Iran sink a single ship in that shipping channel I predict a doubling of crude oil price in 72 hours. It would not be collapse, but an economic sunami that wraps around the planet, and nearly as fast.

David said...

The abiotic theory of oil suggests that hydrocarbons are nearly inexhaustible. This appeals to me since the idea that oil is dead plant matter flies in the face of vast amounts of hydrocarbons throughout the solar system.

As noted some years ago, a headline from the Boston Globe from the late 19th century went something like, "Whale Oil Shortage: World to Go Dark." All the hand-wringing about Peak Oil read exactly like this to me.

We will know oil is running out when the price rises and stays high...which will be just what is needed to stimulate substitute sources, most likely nuclear. Those who believe otherwise might do well to revisit the bets made between the late Julian Simon and the neo-Malthusian Paul Erlich.

In the meantime, the Elliott Wave long-term forecast for oil is to see the peak at $147 a couple summers ago as THE top of a long bull market, and that the trend for oil in dollar terms is down, down, down. Where were the books on "peak oil" when it was selling for $11/bbl in 2001?

Don Williams said...

There are many raw materials other than just oil which are being rapidly consumed.

For example, an intel service I subscribe to , Stratfor in Austin Texas, notes that China's domestic production of copper increased from 350,000 metric tons
in 1987 to 946,000 tons in 2007.

-- But in the same period, her imports shot up from 116,000 tons to more than 3 MILLION tons in 2007
and China now depends on imports for 76 percent of her consumption.

Which may explain why China has been quick to come to Chile's aid after the recent earthquake -- Chile produces (mines) about one third of the world's copper production.

Similarly, the US is heavily dependent on imports from China for tungsten and certain rare elements used in high tech computer circuits.

Obama has recently announced US government support/loans for a new generation of nuclear plants in the US ( nuclear plant construction has been on hold in the USA since the partial meltdown at 3 mile island in Pennsylvania circa 1979.) Nuclear plants produce enormous amounts of electricity -- enough to run electric cars to replace today's oil-dependent automobiles.

But the batteries for such electric cars --at least with current technology -- would require larges amounts of lithium. And Bolivia has about 50 PERCENT! of the world's easily mined reserves. So we go from being dependent upon the House of Saud to being dependent upon Evo Morales.

Yet the stupid newspapers we have in the USA rarely present such facts to the Sheeple --instead, they dwell at length on such important things as the sex life of Michael Jackson.

Don Williams said...

Re China's aid to Chile, see
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/6909043.html

40 years ago, the USA was heavily dependent upon Chilean copper for our thousands of miles of copper based telecommunications circuits. Probably a major reason why our CIA supported Pinochet's coup to overthrow Allende in 1973.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende

But that need disappeared with our development of fiber optic cables that could carry enormously more data -- so AT&T and ITT's huge investment became obsolete almost overnight.

Our world is a complex system -- and our news media tells us almost nothing about the real nature of that system.

talnik said...

Agreed FerFal; before oil is exhausted it will become so expensive that alternatives will take its place. That's how the world works. However in the meantime a lot of people will get attention (and money) by preaching about peak oil. That is also how the world works.

Wasa said...

A great tutorial on peak oil can be found at http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse/chapter-17a-peak-oil. It's chapter 17a of Dr. Chris Martenson's Crash Course. It's important to understand that "peak oil" doesn't mean "running out of oil,' it means we've past peak production and it will only get more expensive to extract.

Anonymous said...

Peak oil is a lie.

Anonymous said...

Simple

Just move to the country that has the remaining oil and resources.

Or the country that is winning the war (the U.S) or that is neutral. (Switzerland)

Pete said...

Ferfal,
Great reply to your blogger. It seems though that most people don't understand the reason we're on the brink of an economic collapse: it's not because of natural disasters or lack of natural resources. Capitalism is the engine that brought about the prosperity of the West (and is currently fueling the expansion in the East). The heart of capitalism is Freedom, and the foundation of freedom is Justice! So what has happened to Western Civilization? Justice has been replaced with 'Social' Justice (which isn't justice at all), therefore, freedom is being replaced by 'Social Obligations' therefore, Capitalism is being replaced by Socialism. Governments are currently trying to squeeze every last bit of value out of the dollar to meet it's social obligations (social security, welfare, medicaid, medicare, universal healthcare, etc). In order to prevent a complete economic collapse, a new discovery of oil or any other alternative energy source will not save us, only a return to the morality of justice can do that.

gaga said...

Higher prices of oil don't just affect transport, they affect the prices of food as those are entirely dependant on the cost of fertilizer and insecticide which are made from oil based products.
Its the reason why food prices spiked togther with the spike in Oil prices because the two are so interrelated.

Fertilizer is made from natural gas.
The latest fashion is to use LNG instead of Petrol because its cheaper, well that theory worked well for diesel for along time but not any more due to demand.

Sure there is a lot of oil, but its being found at a slower rate than it consumption. There will be other solutions for energy, but the key point is that it will be more expensive - thats a drag on economic growth and can get to the point it causes shrinkage.

Bottom line is - food is going to get more expensive. I bought land, with land you can produce and make a profit on food and bio energy no matter what the price of oil.

In a related matter, access to water for food production is going to have a big effect on food prices, especially with more demand from China.

Twinedog said...

I think that the people who have come up with peak oil, the academics etc are actually well meaning. It just happens that the Goldman Sach's of the world seized upon the ideas for more bubbles. Just like I don't think that the Bush Administration caused 9/11. But I think that they used it for all it was worth to justify invading Iraq and stripping the citizenry of civil liberties.

Eventually we will run out of oil. We are so dependent upon oil not just for transportation but food production, pharmaceuticals, etc. that if and when it ultimately happens it will be devastating. And its healthy for us to think critically about how to replace oil or how to adapt.

But Ferfal is correct in that most of the high price of oil currently is due to market manipulation and speculation by the bankers.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting account of how our national policy on Oil and the US Dollar has impacted US politics and wars for the past 40 years, and how it will effect our future.

Black and Gold: Oil and the US Dollar at http://www.oftwominds.com/journal10/black-gold03-10.html

Don Williams said...

Re Bones at 7:29 AM: "Yes, fuel prices will rise but the upside is many alternatives become more financially viable as prices rise. With economies of scale and future technological advances these energy sources could actually become relatively cheaper than oil is now.

Our economy is oil based simply because oil is cheap. As a result there is no incentive to change. "
-----------------
Actually, that is not true. Our oil market has enormous distortions because of government intervention.

We Americans don't pay $2.50 per gallon for Middle Eastern gasoline --we pay more like $40 per gallon. $2.50 at the pump and around $38 on our income tax for a $1 Trillion per YEAR military budget to support military operations in the Middle East.

The problem is that our $38 per gallon subsidy to protect Big Oil's investments does not show up on the pump price. If it did, the market would Rush to provide alternatives.

Which is why Big Oil advocates like Dick Cheney have to engage in such deceit to keep that subsidy continuing.

And of course the cost in Blood is handled by waving the Flag and singing "God Bless America".

Julia said...

A buddy of mine is an 'oil man', actually the CFO of a co in TX. He believes - and all the others at his company believe - in peak oil.

Yes - the concept of price manipulation, etc is true currently. But those in the industry are concerned. He pointed me to a great book on peak oil. I was very upset after reading it, but then realized so many other bad things could occur between now and then.

In addition, in the 'community' of peak oil, there are different positions regarding the after-effects: would it be a smooth transition over a length of time, or would it be sudden (TEOTWAWKI). I'm hoping for a slow transition, many years after my eventual death :)

Anonymous said...

All - I think the only salient point is this:

At some point, the easy oil is depleted and more energy is needed to extract it this harder to obtain crude than what you get from the extraction.

Price is secondary. Less energy to use has trickle down effects such as higher food prices, less yield (fertilizer), etc.

K

David said...

@ Don Williams,
I think you nailed it! Who can imagine how much we're paying in "security subsidies for oil producers" through the tax system? Also, is it not obvious that the #1 consumer of petroleum products in the WHOLE WORLD is the U.S. military? I wonder what the Exxon/Mobil salesman who has Uncle Sam's account gets paid in commissions each pay period?

Bones said...

@Don; ever consider the costs involved if the US didn't defend it's interests against tin-pot dictators? Would it make any sense economically, politically or militarily if the US simply allowed the world's most important resources to be held hostage by the banana republic dictator-du-jour?

It's bad enough that our policies fund the narco-syndicates by keeping drug prices artificially high; what you're suggesting is we do the same with oil and every other resource.

Hugo Chavez wants to be your friend.

kmbr said...

Oil was initially used to keep lamps a light when whale blubber became to source and expensive. It turned out to be a cheaper more plentiful alternative.

There is a lesson to be learned there. The free market, left to it's own devices, will solve the problem more efficiently.

David said...

@ bones,
Your argument about the need to militarily overrule tin pot dictators is false. You could just as easily ask if you need your buddies to take over Green Giant so some tin pot factory owner doesn't cut you off from canned corn.

The truth is that if Iran, Iraq, or any other strategically-located nation state is ruled by crazies, meanies, or tin pot dictators, they can't DRINK their resource (in this case, oil). Their resource is only useful to the extent they sell it, and the price is always subject to substitution so price is never monopolized.

The argument that "we" need to invade and occupy places over which other people live is so evil that a full refutation would fill a book. This is parallel to the argument that if we worry that the occupants of a place might some day threaten us, "we" are justified in slaughtering every man, woman, and child there. Of course, this is exactly the ethic that underlies the "Red State" militancy fanned to full flame by so-called neo-conservatives and animates the cheers in the USA when men in Colorado remotely fly Predator and Reaper drones in Afghanistan, using Hellfire missiles to slaughter 9 civilians for every supposed "insurgent" killed. For the religious, this is Satan's work in spades.

Wait until this amoral psychopathology comes home to roost.

Don Williams said...

Re Bones at 4:59: "@Don; ever consider the costs involved if the US didn't defend it's interests against tin-pot dictators? Would it make any sense economically, politically or militarily if the US simply allowed the world's most important resources to be held hostage by the banana republic dictator-du-jour? "
-----------
1) But the US Government is NOT defending the interests of the American people --as I just showed. It is defending the interests of it's major campaign donors from Big Oil and --in the case of the Democrats -- the Israel Lobby. That's why two-faced politicans always speaking vaguely of "vital interests" instead of what they're trying to accomplish.

2) We could buy oil even from Osama Bin Laden a lot cheaper than what we are paying for it now. He, after all, has to make a living. And if he overcharged, our entrepreneurs could come up with lots of cheaper alternatives.

3) Instead, we lost 4500+ lives in an unnecessary war because of Dick Cheney. Because pro-Israel billionaire named S Daniel Abraham spent $200,000 to sabotage Howard Dean's Campaign in the Iowa primary. And because the Democratic Party's largest donor in 2000-2002 -- an Israeli billionaire named Haim Saban -- dumped $15 Million into the Democratic coffer and then hired a bunch of ex-Clinton aides to tell us that Saddam was close to building nukes and we needed to take him out before he used them.

Anyone remove Kenneth Pollack's 2002 bestseller "The Threatening
Storm"? Want to guess who Kenneth works for?

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haim_Saban

Canis Lupus said...

I can't believe it when I read such irrational sentences like : "before oil is exhausted it will become so expensive that alternatives will take its place" or "This appeals to me since the idea that oil is dead plant matter flies in the face of vast amounts of hydrocarbons throughout the solar system".
People talking like that have absolutly no ideas about numbers, proportions, physics and chemistry...8-/
I challenge anybody to prove there's O-I-L on any planet or satellite in the solar system.

The USA used in the year 2007 68bbl/day/person when China used only 5.7bbl/day/person and India used 2.4bbl/day/person (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_oil_con_percap-energy-oil-consumption-per-capita).

You've got almost 2.5 billions people looking for a better way of life, even God can't provide an suitable alternative solution to the energy scarcity that's coming our way, except for a global pandemic which would wipe out half the world's population.

No coal, no uranium, no tritium, no biomass, no natural gas, no solar power will be able to provide enough energy for the growing consumption of energy (don't forget about our friends in Asia) and declining production of the most wonderful ressource ever discovered : oil.

The Asia's growing middle class will crush your optimistic scenario in no time. Repeat after me : 2.5 billions easy-life-hungry bipedes.

There's no alternative to cheap abundant oil, not a single one !!

Anonymous said...

Trying to condense many very complicated concepts into a few sentences here, but simply put, the economic collapse we are facing now is very much the result of the inflection point of a banking/money system based on the exponential growth of debt coming up against the limits of growth (resource depletion, oil, metals, water) in a world of finite resources. To grasp the severe consequences of Peak Oil is to understand that it is not when oil runs out but the half way point on the depletion "bell curve" is the critical juncture.

Bones said...

There's no arguing with people who have the mindset that the US is the cause of the world's problems.

Try living in one of those tin pot dictatorships and see how you like it.

If you can't put two and two together nobody in the world can help you to understand.

Don Williams said...

The problem is that since Big Oil --and its lackies in the US Government -- hides the REAL price of oil and sabotages the response of the entrepreneurs by keeping an extremely misleading low market price at the pump, we will NOT do the necessary research to develop energy alternatives until it is too late.

Ever see a drug dealer try to wean a junkie off heroin before the junkie dies?

Don Williams said...

Note that when I say energy alternatives, I'm not just referring to new energy sources like more nuclear plants. I'm also referring to restructuring the US infrastructure to be much less wasteful than it is now. To make much greater use of trains , for example.

If you spend $300 billion occupying Iraq for a year or two, what do you have at the end? nothing. You have CONSUMED $300 Billion.

But if you use that $300 Billion to build railroads and subways, you have made an INVESTMENT that will yield returns for decades.

Of the $9 TRILLION in US federal debt we have incurred in the past 10 years, how much has gone to INVESTMENT that will benefit the American people?

Canis Lupus said...

"There's no arguing with people who have the mindset that the US is the cause of the world's problems."

My point in comparing oil consumption figures was not to picture America as devil. I just say that if China and India want to live like Americans do, there might be a serious ressource problem, especially concerning oil.

Let's have fun. How many bbl/day should the world produce to enable Chinese people to live like Americans ?
China's population is about 4.5 times bigger than USA's, whereas China's oil consumption is 12 times smaller than USA's oil consumption. We're talking about a factor of 54 !!

You are not the problem, they are ! You could cut your consumption by a factor of 2 or even 4 it wouldn't change anything because they are 2.5 billions and they want a car (among a variety of consummerism crap).

I agree with you Don, those who make money with oil might not be interested in solar panels and wind turbines. And of course the money spent in Irak and Afghanistan should have been used to renovate the railroad system.

BTW, China and India are nuclear powers...

Brace for landing !

Anonymous said...

Just need a work-around hydrocarbon fuel (methane, oil, whatever). Nocera at MIT has some neat projects going:

interview: http://poptech.org/blog/show/42

lecture: http://vimeo.com/8194089

slides: http://www.campus-paris-saclay.fr/content/download/938/5022/version/1/file/Dan+Nocera.pdf

Canis Lupus said...

Artificial photosynthesis is just a mean of storing energy, not a source of energy.
He talks about a 100% efficiency from water to H2 + 02 and then electricity would be produced within a fuel cell at a 50% efficiency. It supposedly works with direct sunlight so the overall system would have a 50% efficiency from sunlight to electricity.
I say I'm waiting for it. This guy acts like a salesman to obtain credits for his research team !

BTW Rachel Barenblat who wrote the interview linked above didn't reproduced the exact sentence Nocera said about the efficiency of the process. Journalists are useless.

Anonymous said...

Peak oil is a problem of price and energy return on energy invested.

Yes, the free market will find a solution to this if there is one.

Artificial intelligence would literally be infinitely profitable. It's not here yet. Some problems are just harder to solve than others. While we have many solutions for the energy problem, we just don't have anything that will scale up in a timeframe that will prevent severe economic and supply chain disruptions.

We won't run out of energy, ever, but don't expect to hop a plane to Europe at a reasonable price in 25 years.

Canis Lupus said...

Hopefully I didn't mention methane hydrates, an energy source which could save our day (but could also be a pandorra box).

Read : China looking a the "combustible ice"

nuniek nur sahaya said...

yeah, i think that the bottom line is that it's not all about oil, it's all about energy and these are not the same things.