New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: This forum is accepting new registrations by emailing newmarsmember * gmail.com become a registered member. Read the Recruiting expertise for NewMars Forum topic in Meta New Mars for other information for this process.

#26 2004-08-12 11:18:38

Euler
Member
From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2003-02-06
Posts: 922

Re: Peak oil

What you are looking for is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_de … on]thermal depolymerization.

Offline

#27 2021-07-28 19:29:44

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,217

Re: Peak oil

Finally found the topic

and its in need of repair...

Online

#28 2021-07-29 08:29:42

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

A discussion on small, high temperature fast reactors is presently taking place here: http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=9169&p=11

This has interesting implications for biomass pyrolysis, steam cracking and depolymerisation, which would be greatly aided by a high temperature nuclear heat source able to supply high temperature steam to a cracking reactor along with quantities of hydrogen and oxygen.

Last edited by Calliban (2021-07-29 08:35:40)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#29 2023-09-19 18:18:55

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,217

Online

#30 2023-09-19 18:53:10

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,566

Re: Peak oil

SpaceNut,

One day, the peak oil theory might actually be correct.  However, one day the Sun will also go supernova.  Without a more accurate prediction, it's about as meaningful as saying "everyone who was ever born will eventually die".  Well, duh.

Offline

#31 2023-09-20 00:47:46

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

Peak oil isn't a theory, its an observation.  Production from oil producing regions has been shown to follow a bell shaped curve.  The peaking of oil production has already occured in most of the worlds oil producing regions.
https://peakoilbarrel.com/may-non-opec- … roduction/

As of May this year, global crude & condensate production was 80.153 million barrels per day.
https://peakoilbarrel.com/wp-content/up … ld-Tot.png

This is 4 million barrels per day beneath global peak production in November 2018.  Whether the 2018 peak production will ever be surpassed, time will tell.  Global production figures do not neccesarily reflect local conditions.  Back in 1990s, the UK north sea was producing up to 4 million barrels per day.  Production has declined 80% since then.  This is due to depletion of the resource.  It cannot be reversed by new investment or any new technology.

A lot of people are forecasting that globally, demand will decline before geology imposes supply constraints.  Geology has already imposed supply constraints in much of the world.  But birthrates are beneath replacement level everywhere expect the middle east and Africa.  Chinese working age population is shrinking faster than any other population in history.  As population shrinks, so will oil demand.  Peter Zeihan has predicted that this will result in the end of the globalised trading system and an unwinding of the industrial revolution in many places.  This won't be pretty to watch.  In China, we are seeing the beginnings of it right now.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-09-20 01:01:11)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#32 2023-09-20 02:41:13

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,566

Re: Peak oil

Calliban,

If I remove 2/3rds of all investment dollars from car production of all types, will it eventually follow that car production will peak and then decline precipitously as the industry atrophies to a mere shell of its former self?

If 2/3rds of all dollars invested into agriculture were removed over the course of 10 years, what would happen to global food production?

This can't be that hard to figure out, can it?

We have told oil producers that we will actively look for new ways to punish them for providing all the oil and energy for making electronic nonsense, so guess what happened?

They received the message loud and clear!

Instead of talking about how we were going to drill our next oil well, we had classes on sensitivity and other utter nonsense that had nothing to do with drilling for oil.  When you do dumb stuff long enough, you get dumb results.  Always.

Here in the US, as an oil producer / driller / services provider, you cannot obtain a short-term loan from a bank for any purpose, not even to pay your employees.  They're funded almost entirely using private capital that isn't owned by complete idiots who don't realize the electronic gadgets are not within a country mile of "taking over" from oil and gas, and never will be at the rate we're going, because the same trend in oil production is happening in the mining industry as well.  You can't produce "green energy" without the greenbacks!  If we're not even spending money on obtaining more metal to try to permit this fantasy-based "green energy" malarkey to run its natural course (right into the ground), where can we possibly go?  Oil production and metals production is peaking because there's no energy input, which is 100% oil / gas / coal, and no money input.  With no energy, no money, and no materials, you can't make anything.

When you can't even pay your employees, what the hell do you think happens after that?

There is such a thing called a "billing cycle" in business.  You don't get payment for services rendered immediately.  In the oil business, it can take up to 6 months for the checks to clear, after enormous sums of operating capital has already been spent providing drilling services / materials / equipment.  As a result, the oil companies are hoarding cash and not doing much new drilling for oil, because they can't afford to do it.  They take out short-term loans from banks while the money makes its way through the financial system.  Now they can no longer do that, because the banks are so hard-up for this ESG crap that our anti-humanists have been pushing because they're either pure evil or mind-numbingly stupid people, maybe both.  This is what happens when political / religious zealots seize control of your financial system and apply their wretched ideology to everything they do.

Most legitimate businesses don't have 6 months of operating capital on-hand.  Solyndra certainly didn't.  Why would anyone think an oil company actually has that much money buried in the dirt somewhere?  There are no smoke-filled rooms with a bunch of rich people sitting around in bathrobes drinking cognac and smoking cigars.  There's just a bunch of above-average intelligence engineers there who get up everyday and go to work, because they have bills to pay like everyone else.  Some of the wealthiest people at the company drove Teslas.  Most had reasonably nice cars, and there were a surprising number of old beaters.  Anyway, those short-term loans represented operating capital for one of the largest oil drilling companies on the planet.  When they can't get it, they shut down and lay off thousands or even tens of thousands of workers, because if they don't the entire business goes under, and then there isn't even the possibility of getting more oil.  They have to sell off assets and lay off employees to continue to not go bankrupt if they have to wait that long for the next credit to appear on their balance sheet.

None of these people demanding this "green fantasy" have enough functional brain cells to accept the fact that 100% of their favored energy scam comes from coal, oil, and gas.  There is not one damn photovoltaic cell, wind turbine, battery, cell phone, or anything else that's made without it.  Not one.  Whenever someone says "beyond oil", I don't know what they actually mean.  Beyond metal, beyond plastic, beyond microchips, beyond the internet, beyond batteries, beyond electronics, beyond electricity, beyond rubber tires, beyond fertilizer to make food, beyond modern medicine?  What in the actual fork do they really mean when they spout off?  Are we throwing away the entire organic chemistry cookbook of recipes that gave us every part of modern society and lives that don't involve perpetual poverty and serfdom and outright slavery?  Are we all going to go back to being subsistence farmers trying to scratch out a living before half of us are dead by age 30?

I think not.  We're either going to drill for more oil, or synthesize it from scratch, or the vast majority of us are going to lead really short and uncomfortable lives filled with more hunger, disease, war, general depravity, and desperation than anyone alive in the western world today could possibly fathom.  The literal nazis will seem like rowdy but generally good-natured neighbors by way of comparison.  This level of avoidable idiocy makes my brain hurt.  If a few people want to march off the energy cliff, I feel no obligation to follow them on their way down.

How much clearer does the picture need to get for these spoiled ingrates to be knocked out of their climate stupor?

The world is not ending.  If it gets a little hotter, then oh well.  I guess there will be fewer hypothermia deaths.  Somehow people living in places that will melt your shoes to the pavement are still very much alive, and will remain so, as long as they have energy.  Cracking a few more eggs to make the next omelet seems like a minor inconvenience, in contrast to the alternative.

Offline

#33 2023-09-20 07:10:45

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

The devil is in the detail.  Global upstream Capex and Opex into oil production did indeed drop by around 40% between 2014 and 2016.  It remained roughly stable until 2020, after which the COVID epidemic sent it down another notch.  Recent discussion suggests it may have recovered somewhat, but I cannot find much data for the last couple of years.
https://www.forexlive.com/technical-ana … p-20201121

But look at the explosive increase in investment between 2000 and 2014 on the same graph.  It increased by a factor of eight!  From such an increase, one might expect equally impressive growth in supply.  But such was not the case.
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Glo … _343768755

Since 2004, global crude & condensate supply has barely budged, with growth from Canada, the US and Iraq, but decline almost everywhere else.  This inspite of substantially higher investment over the past 20 years.  The world managed to increase supply from 70mb/d to 78mb/d from 2000 to 2014, a measly 11%.  But doing so, required a 700% increase in investment.  Could it be that this just wasn't sustainable after oil price dropped in 2014?

Growth in the US shale sector has indeed been impressive, but has required very heavy investment to achieve.
https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=23072

Between 2000 and 2018, US crude and condensate production doubled.  But investment in 2014$ between 2000 and 2014, increased from $40bn, to $160bn.  That means twice as much investment needed per barrel produced.  With a decline in oil prices from the early highs of last decade, it just wasn't sustainable to keep spending like that.  It wouldn't have been possible at all, without the very low interest rates from the fed between 2008 and 2022 and the low bond returns permitted by quantitative easing.

Political pressures and ESG fads have not helped the situation.  But from the spending and production history it is clear that they are not the root cause of our oil supply problems.  The problem is depletion of physical resources.  More investment money will partially remedy the situation, by allowing production from more marginal deposits like tar sands and tight oil (shale).  But these resources have much higher production costs than the legacy resources that they replace and are not limitless.

It isn't clear to me exactly how this will play out.  Global fossil fuel depletion is only one of the headwinds facing the global economy.  There are at least some technical solutions that we can forsee to mitigate this problem.  The US shale industry was actually one of those solutions.  But demographic decline and shrinking working age populations are a more intractible problem than fossil fuel depletion.  To some extent, it may mitigate the fossil fuel problem, as shrinking economies need less fuel.  But the economic contraction imposed by shrinking populations will collapse tax bases and governments along with it.  It will be much more difficult to sustain investments in the chaotic and disconnected world that will result.  If so, global oil production can be expected to follow a much steeper decline rate than the often assumed, neatly symetrical gaussian curve, known as Hubbert's peak.  Hubbert's model does not account for societal disruption that may accelerate decline.  He assumed that investment in legacy reserves would continue.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-09-20 07:25:43)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#34 2023-09-20 08:18:34

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,566

Re: Peak oil

Calliban,

If Hubbert's model doesn't account for population decline, then it's not a model of reality.

Offline

#35 2023-09-20 18:54:51

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,217

Re: Peak oil

The fixing of oil flow from the well is not what the peak oil is about. It is not about new wells being drilled but about the how much it has delivered versus the estimates of the wells capacity.  One can even assume that the estimate can be totally off as well.

Online

#36 2023-09-21 04:51:56

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

kbd512 wrote:

Calliban,

If Hubbert's model doesn't account for population decline, then it's not a model of reality.

M King Hubbert's model was purely geology based. He did most of his work on oil depletion between the 1950s and 1970s.  This was a time when working age populations were still growing rapidly even in developed countries and oil was extremely cheap compared to today.  There were no issues with affordability.  Essentially, his model did not need to consider effects like shrinking demand due to declining population or affordability.  The bell shaped curve is what results when increased drilling results in increasing field productivity on the up side and then declining well productivity on the downside, as driving pressures decline and individual wells deplete the local resource.  It is well documented.  Enhanced oil recovery can skew the curve on the decline side, but does not actually change production at or timing of the peak.   If you sum the output of individual curves in whole producing regions, the result is also a bell shaped curve, which will be flatter, but retains a roughly gaussian shape.  The same result has been demonstrated for entire producing nations.

Peak global oil production is the point where production peaks for the world as a whole.  It is inevitable, because global production is the summation of production from individual nations.  The majority have already peaked and the list grows longer each year.   It has already happened with conventional oil, but up to now, unconventional production mostly in North America has expanded rapidly enough to compensate and even continue expanding supply at a modest rate.  Peak oil models are an extrapolation based upon observations and are purely geology based.  Higher prices and new technologies can shift the curve and change its shape.

Oil geologist Art Berman has an interesting take on Peak Oil.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t1URKfULArI

His perspective is mostly US based.  He is not an economist or a physicist, so his opinion needs to be considered in the context of his background.  In terms of resources in the US, the Permian has considerable growth potential remaining.  But the caveat is that this productivity may require higher prices.  All growth in world oil production is now dependant on the Permian.  This is a staggering position to have reached, that all new growth in global production is coming from a handful of counties in West Texas and New Mexico.  He believes that overall peak global production will be reached some time in the 2020s.  But he cautions that this is dependant on conditions in the financial sector, which he cannot offer an opinion on.

The financial situation would seem to me to be the most problematic.  Consumers need prices to be low, because oil is used as an energy source and is needed to generate GDP.  But if the price of energy gets too high, then the economy has insufficient surplus wealth to put into new investments that generate economic growth.  This places a ceiling on the price that consumers can afford to pay, because the economy needs to make new investments just to maintain existing infrastructure.  It is when this fails to happen that societies tend to collapse.  Oil prices over the past two decades have clearly risen a great deal.  Along with low interest rates, this allowed investment in previously unproffitable resources like tight oil and tar sands.  But economic conditions have clearly worsened for most people and income inequality has increased.

Population decline in many wealthy consumer countries throws another dynamic into this situation that barely existed until recently.  By the late 2020s, it isn't clear that China will still exist as a functioning state.  It is presently the lynchpin of global oil demand growth.  Japan is a major consumer, but its population and oil demand are shrinking.  European countries still have growing population, due entirely to the effects of immigration.  Their oil demand is gradually shrinking.

So it isn't clear to me how the peak oil dynamic is going to play out.  The baseline assumption of most analysts is that it will happen soon, but global production will decline only gradually.  That is Art Berman's opinion as well.  If population and demand is shrinking anyway, one could be forgiven for wondering why shrinking production would be a problem at all.  The problem that I see is that a slow reduction in production is contingent on new investments in oil production continuing uninterupted.  But if we are heading into a world where oil is expensive and population is declining in developed countries, we could face a kind of dislocation, where economies and financial systems deteriorate to the point where ongoing investment in new oil production becomes impossible.  We are already seeing a decline in globalised trade and a breakdown in international order that is cutting off investments into producing regions like Russia, Iran and Venezuala.  What if the instruments that allow globalised investment break down more generally?  As trade diminishes and populations shrink, this is what concerns me.  It would lead to a rapid breakdown in the ability to feed people, as fossil fuel inputs to agriculture became unavailable.  What would be a smooth decline if driven by geologic factors, couod turn into rapid collapse when the effects of population decline and economuc deterioration set it.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-09-21 05:06:52)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#37 2023-09-21 06:35:27

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,908

Re: Peak oil

For Calliban re #36 and updates on Peak Oil in general...

Thank you for this latest in a series of posts about Peak Oil and related subjects.

Members of this forum have posted about artificial oil, manufactured using nuclear power.

Some members of this forum have even indulged in the occasional rant on this subject.

I understand from articles and from discussions here and elsewhere that artificial manufacture of oil cannot currently compete with ground sourced oil.

However, it seems to me that at some point the cost curves should cross, and from that point, the cost of artificially produced oil should fall due to the economies of scale and the benefits of experience, while ground sourcing will remain practical for an extended period as greater investment is made.

Please comment on this scenario, if you have time.

It seems possible the military community will be willing to pay higher prices now for reliable oil supply in the future, when unfriendly nations may choose to artificially raise prices.  In addition, entire Nations may choose to pay more now to create an artificial oil industry for the long term.

(th)

Offline

#38 2023-09-21 08:14:12

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

TH, as price increases, the size of the potential (ground based) resource increases as well.  If the consumer could in fact afford to pay a higher price, then concerns around depletion can be offset into the future.  The problem that we face is that the consumer cannot in fact pay a higher price beyond a certain point.  Wealth results from the application of physical work or harnessed energy.  This is why a plot of global GDP against energy consumption forms a straight line.  When the effects of debt are removed, energy intensity has remained remarkably constant with time.  This severely limits the capacity of consumers to accept higher energy costs.  It is why rising oil prices contributed to the 2008 GFC.  They pushed up inflation, which central banks then crushed by raising interest rates.  It is also why oil prices cannot rise above about $70/bl for very long, without resulting in economic contraction.

Synthetic fuels could indeed be useful in mitigating oil supply problems.  Indeed, they already are.  Since 2008, biofuels and tar sands have helped mitigate shortages in conventional crude.  If liquid fuels could be produced from sunlight or nuclear energy at price that is competitive, then it would indeed solve our problem.  Prices are already too high for healthy economic growth.  So ideally, we need processes that can undercut the price of fuels derived from extracted oil.  I suspect that this will be difficult.  1 barrel of oil equivelant, is 1700kWh.  At $70/bl, this is 4.1 cents/kWh.  Now consider that there will be losses in converting primary energy into stored fuel and you get a measure of the problem.  But try we should.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-09-21 08:21:49)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#39 2023-09-21 09:54:24

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

The situation is probably easier than a straightforward comparison from the price of unrefined oil would suggest.  Let us take a target price for a diesel substitute to be $4/gallon, the density of diesel to be 850kg/m3, the higher heating value 45.6MJ/kg and 3.76 litres per US gallon.
https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

The number of kWh in 1 litre of diesel would be 10.77.  At $4/gallon, that amounts to $0.0988/kWh.  Assuming that 2kWh of primary energy is needed to produce 1kWh of fuel, we need electrical energy at a price of $0.0494/kWh.  That could be achievable using nuclear power, especially if transmission costs are avoided by constructing our fuel factory at the site of the powerplant.

In many ways, diesel is an expensive way of raising mechanical power.  Assuming a 40% efficiency of converting chemical into mechanical energy, the cost of diesel power is $0.24/kWh in fuel alone.  This substantially exceeds the industrial price of electricity in most places.  If there is a way of applying direct electricity to transportation (i.e without using batteries), it would indeed appear technically easier than attempting to manufacture a synthetic fuel.  The great advantages of diesel are its energy density, storability and safety.  It provides portable power in great measure, on demand.  Direct electric through catenaries and third rails would to some extent substitute infrastructure costs for energy costs.  None the less, this would appear to me to be the most promissing option for reducing diesel consumption in the foreseeable future.  And this is a sensible goal, I believe.  We are not going to run out of oil based fuels in the foreseeable future, but we need to plan for less. 

In the past, direct mechanical power from the wind provided the power needed to drive much of the world's freight.  Given the cost of mechanical power from diesel, this may be in line for a comeback.  I have been looking for ways of applying direct mechanical power from the wind to drive transport over land.  This cannot be done using sails.  But wind pumps can be used to drive water, which could drive capsule pipelines.  This mode of transportation will be slow.  But the cost of mechanical wind energy should be easily competitive with the $0.24/kWh cost of diesel power.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-09-21 10:24:47)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#40 2023-09-21 10:28:00

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,908

Re: Peak oil

For Calliban re recent posts ...

First, thanks for your continuing development of this topic!

Second, thanks for specific insights you've offered about how nuclear powered artificial diesel might be achievable!

Now, if I can enlist your indulgence ... you have on many occasions offered the opinion that wealth is related to energy.

I have tried to bring to your attention that the CATO Institute considers energy to be of so little significance it is not even included as an index entry in a recent book i have reported to the forum.

You are far to the right of the population as a whole, but I suspect the CATO Institute is so far to the right of you you can't even see it due to ground haze.

The argument they make is that wealth is directly related to a combination of factors, all of which are social in nature, and one of which is creative thinking.

I've tried to document (or at least summarize) their position in the forum.

I reported looking for energy and finding only ONE reference to the topic, in the entire thick book, and that was an offhand mention that nuclear power offers more energy than chemical power.

I understand that nothing will change your burned in position.  That's how it is, and I accept that.

However, others who may read this topic will have at least one alternative way of thinking about wealth.

(th)

Offline

#41 2023-09-21 11:00:11

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,566

Re: Peak oil

tahanson43206,

When are we going to get an acknowledgement that none of this "green energy" is produced using anything other than coal, oil, and gas?

How beyond obvious is it that this is how 90% of the world's solar panels and wind turbines are made?:

1. We go over to China, which has no environmental regulations whatsoever, unless you piss off the government by exercising freedom of speech
2. We burn metallurgical coal to make the Silicon wafers for the panels (we throw a lot of it away because there's a high scrap rate)
3. We burn diesel, natural gas, and coal to mine and smelt all the other metals (Aluminum, Copper, Silver) and glass
4. We exploit a bunch of Chinese government slaves to assemble our photovoltaic panels in coal powered factories
5. We burn bunker fuel (akin to tar) to ship the finished solar panels over here on a giant container ship
6. We burn more diesel for the trains and semi trucks to deliver them to your home or business
7. We burn a little more diesel or gasoline for teams of guys in their own trucks to install the panels

China is where our clean, green energy tech comes from, because if we made it here and subjected it to our own environmental regulations, it would be a non-starter on that basis alone.  The process for making batteries, wind turbine blades, and electric motors / generators is even nastier than most photovoltaics, especially when it involves rare Earth mining, which is why we mostly don't do it over here.  That process is repeated for almost ALL of the metals and cement / concrete that goes into producing wind turbines, and pretty much any other industrial products.  Each and every one of these "green energy" machines produced consumes 100 to 1,000 times more energy than what it replaces, which thus far has been absolutely nothing because it can't even keep up with the rate of growth in energy demand.

Since that is indeed what we are actually doing when we say we're creating "green energy", why can't we get an acknowledgement of it?

Why do we demonize the production and use of more coal, oil, and gas?

Apart from "hopes and dreams", coal / oil / gas is the only thing powering this "green revolution".  Campaign slogans don't generate energy, unless we can harness the power of hot air and BS to power our economy.

Do you actually think we're going to make any new green energy machines without coal, oil, and gas?  If so, then why haven't we done that already?  Don't you think it would've occurred to the engineers who are making photovoltaics that they could power their own factory using the very product they're making, if such a thing was even remotely practical to do?  They don't do it because they know it's not cheaper or cleaner, and it's wildly impractical.  The electronic machines making the photovoltaic panels would short-circuit and fail if subjected to the power dips and surges that photovoltaic panels produce, every single day.

People like you want to stop burning coal, oil, and gas, but the moment we do that, the global economy collapses, because there is nothing to replace it.  The amount of labor / capital / coal / oil / gas we'd need to burn to produce the first generation of these green energy machines is astronomical.  After the economy collapses, there is will be no energy, green or otherwise.  There will also e very little food, health care, or other modern conveniences that make life much more livable and enjoyable.  Everyone who was alive during the Great Depression knows that.  Too bad none of their children were inquisitive enough to ask what life was like, so they'd know where they never want to end up.

This is what we "traded" for all that money spent on "green energy":
10 trillion dollars were spent over the past 23 years, with the end result that "green energy" generates 4% of the total demand for energy.  That's enough money to purchase 2,000 brand new 1GWe nuclear reactors (2TW * 8,760hrs per year = 17,250TWh/year) at $5B per reactor.  22,848TWh was the total global electrical power consumption from 2019.  Half of the remaining waste heat is also usable, so at least another 17,250TWh of thermal energy for heating and industrial processes.  They're not a perfect solution, obviously, but they actually work.  That is their primary benefit to humanity.  When you build the damn things and turn them on, they crap out energy for a human lifetime.  So what if you have to maintain them?  People need jobs, when last I checked.  I don't think that's ever going to change.  They need a purpose, something to get up in the morning and live for, and purpose is most frequently found in what people do with their time.  Driving the cogs and gears of civilized society is a pretty powerful motivator to rise up and get to work.

You and others on the political left keep saying you want to stop burning so much coal, oil, and gas, but your actions say otherwise.  This green ideology spent enough money to make 75% of all electrical power CO2-free for the next 20 years, but all we actually did was burn absurdly more coal / oil / gas in a vain effort to produce 4% of the electrical power.  That's what this "green energy" plan is, an expensive vantiy project by people too invested in a specific outcome, that has nothing to do with cleaner energy, to recognize they're not getting anywhere.  In 20 years, whatever green energy machines have been built will all require replacement, and that energy won't be coming from machines that can't power their own factories.  The nuclear reactors, if they were built 20 years ago, would still be there producing CO2-free energy 40 years later.  We had the nuclear tech ready to rock-and-roll in the 1980s, which was also the era of rock-and-roll.

The world runs on steam kettles, not electronics.  The electronics came from building better steam kettles.  That which powers the steam kettle is optional.  If you don't like coal, we have gas.  If you don't like coal or gas, we have Uranium and Thorium.  If you don't like Uranium or Thorium, we have sunlight and the Earth itself.  The steam kettle itself is not optional.  It's a non-negotiable centerpiece of industrialized / cultured / civilized society that produces the things people want, at global scale.  Steam kettle power is real power.

I don't have an emotional investment into what powers my house or my car.  I really don't care, so long as it works.  They're not objects of affection to me.  If they're affordable and broadly usable, then that's good enough for me.  I do have a rather large emotional investment in having energy to use at all, because the society I live in doesn't function without it.

We need a better plan than what we're presently doing, because it's not working.

Offline

#42 2023-09-21 12:30:24

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

TH, in answer to your enquiry regarding the CATO institute and the absence of consideration of energy in their economic theories.  I cannot profess to know them and can only speculate on the basis of their theories.  But I will offer a possible explanation.

Economics is really the study of the behaviour of money, both at a micro and macro scale.  Economists tend to view the economy as a financial system in which real goods and services are at most incidental players.  GDP is expressed in dollars.  Banks deal with money.  Central banks are considered the guardians of the economy and their entire tool kit involves the manipulation of money supply and cost of borrowing.  With such constant emphasis on money and monetary value, neoliberal economics has come to view the economy entirely as a financial system.  This has led to fallacious belief that physical resources do not matter and that the economy can be decoupled from physical inputs, continuing to produce increasing value without any increase in use of physical resources.

This proposition is absurd, but it stems from an institutional seperation of the real and financial aspects of the economy.  In the real world, the economy is a system that produces and exchanges goods and services.  These are inately physical things, and none of them at all can be produced or transported without the expenditure of energy.  Everything that the economy produces that is of value is a result of energy acting on matter.  Money is the medium of exchange for transactions and is a claim of value, only so far as it can be exchanged for real things that people need.  Recently central banks have raised interest rates and risk reversing economic growth, because 'inflation' is reducing the the purchasing power of money for real goods.  This tells us exactly that in a non-physical economy, the value of money is zero, because money only has value by virtue of what it can be exchanged for.

Because economics is concerned with the exchange itself and the money changing hands, there emerges the fallacy that the economy can be dematerialised.  In reality, the economy is an entirely material entity and money only has value as a claim of real goods and services that are the product of the application of energy.  The fallacy is exposed when one considers the case of a man marooned on a deserted island with a million pounds.  The money has no value at all in that situation, save for firelighters or toilet paper.  But real goods like food, fuel, clothing and shelter, have definite value and are the product of energy rearranging matter.

The disciples of neoliberal economics get it wrong, because at the most basic level they do not understand what the economy is.  It should be simple enough, but these people tend to lack even the slightest practical background.  They think bank accounts, numbers on a computer screen and elegant monetary theories are the world, rather than being tools in a much larger system.  I think this problem can ultimately be traced back to a class of people who spend their lives learning and exchanging information without ever actually making anything physical or real.  Because they are not involved in making physical things, they eventually kid themselves into thinking that money management and information services are only thing in the world that matter.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-09-21 12:52:54)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#43 2023-09-21 13:47:36

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

Kbd512, all renewable energy systems have low power density and poorer overall EROI than fossil or nuclear powered systems.  In a world where the energy used for manufacturing them (and everything else) is dominated by fossil fuels, then a large fraction of the fuel consumption avoided in operation of RE infrastructure is instead embedded in its manufacture.  For a very long time we did live without fossil fuels, but it was a poorer existance, precisely because renewable (predominantly biomass) energy systems have inherently poorer energy return per unit of labour.

I am not opposed to considering the use of renewable energy as part of the solution set for dealing with future shortages of fossil fuel energy.  But the options available are narrower than most people think.  To a certain extent, we all still live substantially on an ambient energy base.  Most of our heating is actually solar.  Without solar ambient heat, outside temperatures would be 20K and the atmosphere would be ice on the Earth surface, resembling the surface of Pluto.  We rely on solar power for production of our food.  Fossil fuel inputs enhance its productivity.

As we use it already, using additional renewable energy inputs to at least partially substitute fossil fuels would seem to be possible, without going back to the stone age.  It isn't necessarily the best solution to the approaching problems, but certain things have been taken out of our hands.  When problems arise, we look for ways of coping as well as we can with the tools that are given to us.  This does not imply that we underestimate the value that fossil fuels give us.  We have to work with the tools that we have.  The only tools that the NRC and ONR have not taken away.  The world that we end up with may be poorer than what we have.  There is a limited amount we can do about that.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#44 2023-09-21 15:59:44

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,566

Re: Peak oil

Calliban,

The only thing we're doing at the present time is dithering.  That's it.  Nothing else is going on here.  There are no actual efforts to replace any part of what we presently use, just a lot of speeches and utter nonsense not based in physical reality.  You can't solve a problem by talking about it.  These people think they can speak a different world into existence.  That's how disconnected from reality they are.

Serious efforts produce results.  10 trillion dollars spent in 23 years to supply 4% of the energy demand is simply transfer of money from less wealthy individuals to the already opulently wealthy.  As long as we can continue burning hydrocarbon fuels, that is what we will do.  When we can no longer do that, the game is over because there's no more wealth to plunder from the general public.

Offline

#45 2023-10-24 02:39:45

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

Peak oil and the end of suburbia.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pN7dgnMpwI4

This documentary discusses the growth of suburbs and how it baked in US dependance on gasoline.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-10-24 02:51:55)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#46 2023-10-24 23:51:59

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,566

Re: Peak oil

Calliban,

The US was dependent upon gasoline and all other petrochemical products long before the switch from rural to urban and suburban life during WWII.  We all are, but some of us engage in more magical thinking than others.  To travel around a country as large as America, you need a lot of energy, else it takes weeks to months to get around on foot or on horseback.  Gasoline packs a wallop, it's available in enormous quantities, so it gets the job done.  If the dummies who think we should all be feudal serfs again know what's good for them, they'll collectively have their "Come to Oil" moment after brutal reality ejects their green dreams from their rear ends with more force than a howitzer.

If you're wondering why we didn't all opt to live on top of each other like cockroaches, then you should ask yourself that very same question, since you live outside of the city as well.

For a lot of people from my generation, Generation X, I want to put as much distance as I can reasonably manage between the brain dead whacka-doodle-doos of the regressive left death cult.  They're insufferably arrogant, ignorant, selfish, childish, and they absolutely want to control every last aspect of every life but their own.  Right now they're too busy throwing their tantrum over physics not being amenable to their climate religion.  I guess worshiping the weather makes about as much sense as any other religion I've come across.

Even in Europe, there are as many cars as people, and energy consumption was just as high during industrialization, but that growth pulse ended in the aftermath of WWII, because y'all murdered way too many of each other during the wars to rebuild.

Whereas the baby boomers in America had plenty of children to create an economic future, there was no equivalent generation in Europe.  Without more people, growth of everything inevitably ends.  To be fair, it's ending over here in America as well, but for immigration- legal or otherwise.

I noticed that the video ended with "diversity and equity".  It's hard to believe that those regressive morons were injecting steroids into that cancerous racist filth, 20 years ago.  I wasn't even paying attention to them back then, but I'm forced to deal with them now.

Offline

#47 2023-10-25 03:45:14

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

I think suburbs are different wherever you go.  What people in the UK think of as suburbs, will be different to those in Los Angeles, which in turn, will look different to those in New York state.  One salient point the video makes, is that post-WW2 urban sprawl locked society into living patterns that required heavy automobile use just to get to work, to buy groceries, to get to school, etc.  This became unsustainable and bankrupted a lot of people when the cheap oil era ended in the early 2000s.

European cities did the same thing, but didn't have as much space to expand into.  It is easier to live without a car in the UK, or to own one and use it far less.  But there are still just as many cars, because people want to own them.  If my car disappeared tomorrow, I could get by OK.  My weekends and holidays would be less interesting, but day to day life would continue.  I suspect that wouldn't be true for most people in the US.

The video was produced by ASPO (Association for Peak Oil).  The thing that irritated me about the peak oil problem, was the way it grew into a movement that drew in all sorts of people that wanted to bring society down or change it for reasons that had nothing to do with oil supply problems.  Richard Heinberg was one of the most prominant.  A man that wanted society to transition to small scale allotment agriculture (permaculture) and saw Peak Oil as the catalyst for this.  It became a kind of doomsday cult.  But oil depletion is a problem that has slowly been grinding on for decades.  It wasn't a sudden event, like Y2K, nuclear war or a solar megaflare.  Rather than produce the sort of societal dislocations that these people wanted, the effect was more a slow grinding down of prosperity, as energy costs drove inflation and wages failed to keep up with rising costs.  High prices allowed development of unconventional oil supplies, which prevented the collapse in production that many in ASPO were expecting.  So the movement slowly ebbed away.  It prompted a lot of discussion on energy issues, which was certainly a good thing.  But people expecting peak oil to bring a brave new world were mostly left disappointed.  The new world we actually got looks a lot like the old one, but with crappier wages, home working and shrinkflation.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-10-25 04:04:44)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#48 2023-10-25 23:59:11

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

Net zero and the age of absurdity. An interesting discussion with philosopher John Gray.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5g-zIudeFAU

John was a friend of the late James Lovelock and shares many of his views.  In short, the present net zero fad has a lot in common with prohibition in the US.  It is pushing a goal that isn't achievable in the short term.  Like Lovelock, Gray believes that the danger of climate change is underestimated and that the solution is for fossil fuel energy to be displaced by massive increases in the use of nuclear power.

Unlike the present renewable battery storage fad, this is at least technically achievable, though it may not be practically achievable.  Back in the early 1970s, the west actually was on a nuclear build trajectory that could have achieved this goal.  But regulatory ratcheting and loss of industrial build capabilities, now make it much more difficult.  Back in the 1970s, light water reactors were being built in the US in 3-5 years, at costs of <$2000/kW in modern money.  That is unthinkable now.  Our capabilities in this area are actually less than they were 50 years ago, inspite of much better tools.  It isn't just the nuclear sector.  Britain has recently abandoned the HS2 rail link between London and Birmingham.  The cost of the project has balloonedto over £30bn.  One wonders how it is that we cannot build now what we coukd have done a century ago.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

#49 2023-10-29 05:10:09

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 9,772

Re: Peak oil

'Global shift to clean energy means fossil fuel demand will peak soon, IEA says'

https://www.npr.org/2023/10/24/12079767 … n-iea-says

Offline

#50 2023-10-30 05:20:07

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,542

Re: Peak oil

Mars_B4_Moon wrote:

'Global shift to clean energy means fossil fuel demand will peak soon, IEA says'

https://www.npr.org/2023/10/24/12079767 … n-iea-says

Ha ha!  So far, what these people call 'clean energy' has made a minor contribution to the electricity sector in 1st world countries.  And that contribution is flat, with minor increases in wind and solar electricity, outweighed by the decline in nuclear power generation, which the green lobby have deliberately run into the ground.  So we are no closer to a clean energy system than we were 30 years ago.  In some important respects, we are further from it now.  Back in the early 90s, many G7 countries had breeder reactor programmes.  Almost all of them were killed off for 'political reasons'.  In other words, left wing greeny politicos, who knew that no one would build wind and solar if fast breeder reactors were in the offing.

I have an alternative prediction that is more likely to play out: 'Global demographic decline means that fossil fuel demand will peak soon, as working age population shrinks, says Calliban'.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB