The last days of oil

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
User avatar
Frank Sanns
Site Admin
Posts: 1726
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 6:26 pm
Real name: Frank Sanns
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

Re: The last days of oil

Post by Frank Sanns » Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:35 am

The good news is that the reserves will last many more years into the future. The problem is that consumption is growing at a rate that will exceed oil production some time within the next decade. All the world will be forced to conserve to reduce consumption but we will not run out on that particular day. Sure it will be tougher but if everybody at that point used 10% less fuel then we would all be fine for another couple of years at which point we would have to conserve 20% and then 30% and ...... You get the idea. We will not just wake up one day and there not be oil. It will just get pricey and hard to come by more and more. It will be relatively gradual even though when it first starts, there will be panic. That is just the ways folks are.

Frank S.

davidtrimmell
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 10:37 pm
Real name:

Re: The last days of oil

Post by davidtrimmell » Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:54 am

Ok. My take. We have at least 30+ years oil supply even with China and India. BUT and big BUT, the cost is going to skyrocket! Reserves are in the Artic and Antarctic with very high costs to market. Demand will eventually slow with further evidence of anthropogenic Global climate change and insurance companies loosing big time. Factors whirling fast in the chaos of time. We will see (are seeing) great advancements in efficiency of electronics. Ethyl and Methyl Alcohols, along with Biodiesel will become price competitive and with the closed loop carbon cycle, will be environmentally sound. Efficiency is the name of the game. These hairless Apes will keep pushing forward; I only hope it is to a world respectful of all life.

Regards,

David Trimmell

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 12512
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: The last days of oil

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Jul 12, 2004 2:57 pm

Frank and Dave have it right.

The oil will price itself out of all reason. We will never use the last drop... or get close to it.

In 2090 gasoline will be a chemical commonly available from Alfa-Aesar. in 500ml lab bottles for $41.50 or a 4 pack of 1 liter bottles for $200.00.

Oil will just leave the scene due to simple economics and not due to using it all up. Yes, there will be panic and yes, there will be oil wars international and civil, but it will all shake out and we will be on something else.

I may not live to see the light at the end of the tunnel though. (>40 years) I might make it to the first of the darkest days, (~20 years). OR..... the whole thing might be made moot by some super source of unappreciated energy. (not likely)

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

3l
Posts: 1866
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2001 7:51 pm
Real name:

Re: The last days of oil

Post by 3l » Mon Jul 12, 2004 6:32 pm

Hi Guys:

You guys imply that they had a coherent plan.
I can assure you they do not have one.
Richard's scenario is the best one.
But it depends on rational restraint at the end.
We shall see if Alpha Aesar will get to list gasoline at those prices.
I'll bet they will come in 1ml vials at 100 bucks each.

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

ChrisSmolinski
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2002 6:46 pm
Real name:
Contact:

Re: The last days of oil

Post by ChrisSmolinski » Mon Jul 12, 2004 10:01 pm

I saw the latest copy of National Geographic at a relatives house last week,
the cover article was screaming that we're running out of oil for sure this time.
Really, honest, this time we mean it. Yawn.

It's simple economics. Every subsititute for fossil fuels at this point is an also-
ran because fossil fuels are so cheap. Even at $1.80 a gallon, gas today is a
bargain compared to where it was a decade ago, especially taking inflation
into account.

Only when the price point of oil and coal reach a high enough point, will other
energy sources become viable. This won't happen until the demand/supply
ratio gets high enough. As this starts to happen, and the price of oil starts to
rise, previously un-economical sources will be tapped, keeping the supply
available, for those willing to pay the price anyway. And exploration will
continue to find new deposits.

My gut feeling is that it will take oil reaching a sustained price of around $50 a
barrel before other other energy sources start to be seriously investigated.
Sustained. Not these short term blips. The Saudis and the rest of OPEC want
to keep oil in the $30-$35 range. Remember, their goal is to maximize profit.
(Of course OPEC is a den of thieves and they all cheat on their quotas, but
that is another story) Ideally they want to be able to pump that last barrel of oil
out and sell it. If the price goes to $50 a barrel too soon, other energy sources
become attractive. Worse for OPEC, once there is a serious effort made to
develop other sources and start volume production, they become even less
expensive, once the R&D is amortized and factories are churning out millions
of the necessary widgets (whatever they are). So oil has to come *down* in
price to become competitive once other sources are in use.

Personally, I don't think there's a silver bullet - that is, one solution. Well, I do
think it's fission, but the politics make that impossible at the moment (Oil at
$50 a barrel and gas at $3 a gallon can change politics of course). I think
there's a whole host of answers, each playing a small part. Better design of
homes to take advantage of solar heating in the winter, and preventing it in
the summer. Solar cells, once the price per kWhr comes down by an order of
magnitude. Or two. Serious use of hydro power, we're nuts for letting all that
water go over Niagra Falls. Wind turbines are nifty, if for no other reason than
for letting the greenies show their true colors, since they've opposed virtually
every suggested deployment of them. And there's the obvious issue with
automobiles, somehow convincing the public that they do not need to drive a
vehicle that looks like (and gets the milage of) a Sherman tank. I don't like the
idea of changing personal habits through oppressive taxation, but a
nationwide automobile tax inversely proportional to the MPG of the car could
be interesting. Just as long as you punish the SUV driving yuppie, and not
the housewife with 4 kids who has a legitimate need for a large vehicle.

I think, in the end, it will be much as Richard has suggested. There will be
spurts of panic as the price of crude jumps upwards, resulting in spurts of
R&D and serious investigation of other energy sources. The private sector is
probably best equipped to deal with it anyway. Would you really want new
energy source development to be run by the same clowns as fusion, and
public housing for that matter?

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 12512
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: The last days of oil

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Jul 13, 2004 4:45 pm

I truly believe people will get used to and still transport themselves regularly on $22.00/gallon gas with not too much thought about it. What will happen at that time will be super efficient two cylinder, single or two seater cars of low mass and high MPG ratings.

The SUVs and even the small hondas and toyotas of today will be chicken coops and storage sheds at that time. Public urban and interurban transport will return, big time, and be all electric (hello Mr. Street car and mr. subway). The energy for these will come from, hopefully, mostly nuclear plants, but coal has a bright 300-400 year future. Private transport will be reserved for important long trips/vacations or small daily bouces around the city. Internal combustion will still be here in 2100, but just not as we have it today.

SUV's are feeling the crunch already and the last spate of gas hikes sent would be SUV buyers to the honda accord dealerships. Every SUV is discounted now! Unfortunately most folks have an SUV as a third or fourth vehicle in the US and can handily afford $3.00/gallon gas even at 10mpg. (minor grumbles).

Until gas prices/unit mpg in normal vehicles impacts normal drivers over a protracted period, all we remain OK. By this time the SUV market will have collapsed into "that turn of the century folly". Auto makers will have already started a line of two cylinder, city car, puddle jumpers. (6 speed, 45mph top end and 50mpg city, weight 305 lbs.)

Heating issues might actually reduce the sizes of living spaces/rooms/homes and or centralize family activies to a single decent sized room with very small sleeping quarters to conserve electrical energy, especially if coal becomes king again for electrical generation.

There are lots of ways to economize and become more efficient, but a lot that people hold dear today and demand as a sign of "having arrived" will go the way of the dodo bird.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

User avatar
Frank Sanns
Site Admin
Posts: 1726
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 6:26 pm
Real name: Frank Sanns
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

Re: The last days of oil

Post by Frank Sanns » Wed Jul 14, 2004 4:29 am

But here still again the auto makers have missed the market. The high mile per gallon vehicles are tin cans that have poor performance. It need not be this way. I drive a 2 wheel version of such a vehicle that you describe but it is a bit heavier at 470 lbs. (216 Kg). It has a 1,300 cc, 4 cylinder, fuel injected, 175 HP engine with 102 ft/lbs of torque that will propell it through the quarter mile (0.40 km) in 9.5 seconds at 148 MPH (238 km/hr.). Given a few more seconds, it will top out at over 205+ MPH (330 km/hr.). It is a factory stock, ultra quiet, ultra smooth, joy to drive, Suzuki Hayabusa. Even with my frequent 1.2 g acceleration pull outs and pushing through the turns as fast as any sports car can go, I still get 40 mpg. If such technology exists for motorcycles, then why not make 1,000 lb. cars with similar engines. It would still be ultra high performance with great gas mileage. Guess either the motivation to do such a thing is not there by the consumer or by the auto makers. Why does there have to be such drastic tradeoffs???

Frank S.



>Richard Hull wrote:

>By this time the SUV market will have collapsed into "that turn of the century folly". Auto makers will have already started a line of two cylinder, city car, puddle jumpers. (6 speed, 45mph top end and 50mpg city, weight 305 lbs.)
>
> Richard Hull

ChrisSmolinski
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2002 6:46 pm
Real name:
Contact:

Re: The last days of oil

Post by ChrisSmolinski » Thu Jul 15, 2004 3:19 pm

I think most of the "blame" needs to go to the consumer. The car makers build
what the public wants to buy. Right now, much of the public want to buy huge,
heavy, massive SUVs and their ilk. Lots of psyochological motives (ego, etc)
at work here, with attempts to justify ("I need a big SUV so I will survive when
I get hit by someone else's big SUV"). It's a trend that will eventually end,
perhaps long before gas prices ratchet up another notch. Personally I drive
small cars (Neon and a Miata) because I prefer them, I don't like having to
worry about where the bounds of my car are in a lane/parking space. Plus
they're old and paid for, one can be in the shop for minor work while I drive
the other. And you can have a lot of minor work done for the cost of a monthly
car payment. But to each his own.

If there is sufficient demand for fuel efficient cars, they will build them.
Frankly, I'd like to see diesel make a come-back in the USA.

Alex Aitken
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 10:33 am
Real name:

Re: The last days of oil

Post by Alex Aitken » Mon Jul 19, 2004 12:29 am

Biofuel depends on planting vast quantities of crops and having them harvested and processed cheeply. I have my doubts this can fufill the need for fuel.

Petrol, ie gasoline may well increase in price but in europe we pay a lot more than is usual in the US. Roughly 10% of the cost of gasoline goes higher up in the supply chain, 10% goes to the gas station and around 80% goes directly to the goverment in tax.

If oil becomes too expensive (is running out) fuel for cars can be made from coal via hydrogenation processes that are decades old but couldn't compete with oil at the time.

Hydrogen cant be stored well at all and fatigues metals badly. While it has the advantage of being billed as 'produces only water' unless you carry round pure oxygen vehicles will typically be producing dilute nitric acid as exhaust. It also has the disadvantage of turning a form of transport into a mobile bomb. Airline fuels are vary carfully regulated in terms of flash point and explosion limits, hydrogen is the worst possible fuel under those constraints.

I'm more interested in the effects on the chemical industry, which is almost entirly based on ultracheep feedstocks like oil to produce cheep materials like plastics. Plastic may actually become an expensive item, disposable carrier bags may end up museum items and plastic furniture may even become expensive enough to be fashionable. It'll be the 60's all over again.

davidtrimmell
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 10:37 pm
Real name:

Re: The last days of oil

Post by davidtrimmell » Mon Jul 19, 2004 5:14 am

Marvin wrote:

"I'm more interested in the effects on the chemical industry, which is almost entirly based on ultracheep feedstocks like oil to produce cheep materials like plastics. Plastic may actually become an expensive item, disposable carrier bags may end up museum items and plastic furniture may even become expensive enough to be fashionable. It'll be the 60's all over again."

Precisely! I have always believed that petroleum is much too valuable to burn. But it is going to be difficult to outright replace, but it will be... And there really is no reason why we do not have more fuel efficient vehicles; it is not a technological hurdle, just one of economics. The petrol industry is looking at volume of sale, and the chemical industry will never compete with the internal combustion engine regarding consumption. And anyway this CO2 thing is really not that great, all species’ will eventually become extinct, why should we be different? Only quality of life is really at issue, isn't it?

David Trimmell

Post Reply