Transportation: How long can we adapt before we fall off the Net Energy Cliff?

24 08 2017

This is an older post (2014) from Alice Friedemann’s blog, which somehow flew under the radar……. There is one bullet point in this that stunned me:

  1. America is likely to be outbid by China, India, etc., for oil exports.  At China’s current growth rate, China alone would consume ALL exported oil by 2020.

IF you have been following this humble blog long enough, you might know that I’ve been ‘forecasting’ that Australia will be totally out of oil by around 2020, and will therefore need to import 100% of our liquid fuel needs…….  what happens then?

When I asked Alice for more details, she replied “I suspect when I wrote this it was common knowledge, they’re rising empires as other nation fade. But now with China’s housing and other bubbles, and the corruption in both China and India, and ecological destruction, it’s probably not true now. I’ve met Australians who fear a China invasion someday but don’t know how realistic that is.”

Furthermore, as China’s spectacular growth rates have somewhat shrunk, we may get a few more years relief…. but how long will it last? Here’s Alice’s post, very interesting as usual….

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alice_friedemannThe problem we face is a liquid fuel crisis.  Absolutely essential vehicles, such as agricultural tractors and combines, railroads, and trucks run on diesel fuel, ships on bunker fuel.  They can never be battery or fuel-cell operated or electrified, nor do we have the decades it would take to build a new fleet even if there were a solution.

In 2011, the United States burned 29021 trillion BTU’s of mainly petroleum for transportation to move 13 billion tons of freight, worth $11.8 trillion, for 3.5 trillion ton-miles:

  • Trucks: 69%  1.4 trillion miles  9.0 billion tons
  • Trains: 15%   1.3 trillion miles  1.9 billion tons
  • Ships:   3%

Non-essential Transportation Fuel can be given to Trucks & Trains (see Table 1 below)

1) Cars (28%) and light trucks (26%) use 55% of transportation fuel.  All of that 55% could be shifted to essential vehicles.  Implication: That would force anyone who wasn’t 100% self-sufficient to move to a town or city because country gas stations will be closed (though rural freeway stations would remain open for essential long-distance trucks).  Also, petroleum will mainly be refined into diesel (this is already happening actually), which gasoline cars can’t burn.

2) Let’s give most of this fuel to essential vehicles: 7% air travel, 1% recreational water boats, 3% Construction and Mining, 1% recreational vehicles (snowmobiles, etc).  That’s another 11% shifted to essential vehicles (leaving 1% for the above, mainly to maintain and fix infrastructure).

3) Essential vehicles: 20% Medium (class 3-6) and Heavy trucks (class 7-8), 4% ships, 2% rail freight, 3% pipelines, 2% agricultural.  A lot of this freight isn’t essential, so about half of this, 15%, can be saved by not shipping non-essential cargo and shipping essential goods shorter distances.

Essential transportation has been given 81% of diesel from other non-essential sources (55% + 11% + 15%).

Meanwhile, production of oil will be dropping off rapidly, because:

  1. Global peak oil production was reached in 2005
  2. Oil producing countries will export less because they’re using more oil themselves (ELM model)
  3. America is likely to be outbid by China, India, etc., for oil exports.  At China’s current growth rate, China alone would consume ALL exported oil by 2020.
  4. The net energy cliff and the decline in the RATE of what we can get out of the ground now that petroleum is gunky and in remote places.
  5. The financial system can interfere with oil production —  when credit dries up after the next financial crash, the money to drill won’t be available.

Optimistic scenario: 20 years before we hit the wall 

The likely decline rate is expected to accelerate. We’ve been on a plateau since 2005, but once production heads downhill, here’s a guess at what the decline rate might be per year: 4%, 5%, 6%, 7%, 8%, 9%, and 10% from then on.

But not to worry, we’ve got some wiggle room. Remember, of the grand total of 29021 trillion BTU’s of petroleum burned in America (Table 1 below), 81% was reassigned from non-essential vehicles and cargo to essential agriculture, railroads, trucks, industrial infrastructure equipment, and miscellaneous important vehicles (ambulances, police cars, military, etc).

The other 19% — 5,541 trillion BTU — is the rock-bottom amount we need to  keep society going.

With a 4/5/6/7/8/9/10/10 /10/….. decline rate scenario, we’ll dip below the essential transportation fuel needed 16 years from now.

Of course, we can import/export less cargo, grow food locally, stop immigration, encourage 1-child families, ship goods shorter distances, and many other oil-reducing strategies as well.  This is when techno-optimists have a chance to shine, and Postcarbon, Bay Localize, Transition Towns, and many other groups help governments and communities adapt.  If all goes well, panic is avoided, and diesel fuel can be stretched out even further, that could delay collapse another 4 years.

Pessimistic scenario: 1-12 years before we hit the wall

What if states that produce energy and/or have refineries stop sharing diesel and gasoline with other states at some point? In that case, Alaska, California, Texas, Louisiana, etc., might last longer than 20 years and other states would hit the wall sooner.

Also, there are many black swans.  Here’s some wild guesses about how soon collapse might come if one of them strikes:

1 year if there’s a small nuclear war, China or some other nation takes down America’s electric grid(s) in a cyberwar, or a world war erupts.

2-5 years if there’s a major disaster, because that will probably bring down the financial system and also drive up prices of oil, natural gas, electricity, wood, cement, steel, and other resources needed to recover with.

3-8 years if the financial system collapses and several other events are triggered, such as social chaos, no credit left for new oil wells to be drilled, and other knock-on effects.

5 years if nations go back to negotiating deals between producing and non-producing nations and bypass the international oil market. That could suddenly cut off America’s oil imports. We’re already seeing this with the historic deal Russia and China just cut for natural gas. China, India, and other countries can afford to pay more than the United States for oil. Other nations are far closer to Russia and OPEC nations, where 83% of world reserves lie.

8-10 years if America decides to go back to the Middle east to keep other nations from getting the 2/3 of oil reserves there. Our military can’t fight without oil, so that means a lot less for everyone else

Okay. I’m going to stop guessing.  I have no idea how much sooner collapse would occur given various events, or what the actual decline rates will be.  But here are a few more black swans to think about:

  • Oil shocks make investors “Peak Oil Aware” and world-wide stock markets crash
  • Decline rates even higher than posited above due to a combination of the Export Land Model and middle eastern countries having lied about how much oil reserves they had.
  • Oil choke-points are blocked by terrorists or nearby nations
  • War breaks out in the Middle East
  • Peak coal, peak natural gas, peak uranium, peak sand, peak water, peak topsoil, peak phosphorous, etc
  • Electric grid outages increasingly common
  • Our infrastructure is falling apart, many bridges are beyond their life-span or dangerously in need of repair, ports, energy pipelines, water treatment, sewage treatment, and other essential infrastructure has a life-span less than 50 years. The steel is rusting and the concrete is falling apart.

So, what do you think?


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84 responses

24 08 2017
Rob Mielcarski

Nice find. I lean to the pessimistic end of the scale. The extreme measures we’ve taken to maintain business as usual with debt and money printing I think will accelerate the decline once it begins. There is no free lunch. You have to pay the bill in the end.

24 08 2017
Chris Harries

We can all lay bets, but it’s not a good idea to try to predict a crash point. Alice is sensible to put her predictions into a multiple scenario format.There are too many different things that can happen, and in any sequence. Nearly all of those permutations involve smashing into that wall head on at some point, but then again society may just break down in a serious of lesser crashes spanning thirty or more years. It’s like a gripping novel. Part of me wants to be around just to see how the last chapter goes.

24 08 2017
rabiddoomsayer

One point missing in many analyses is the relatively fixed proportions of jet fuel, petrol, diesel and other liquids. Yes there is some difference based on the feed stock (the unrefined oil) and some ability to tweak the proportions. So it is not simply a matter making all cars electric and banning aviation then the balance of uses being powered by the remaining oil.

Yes in theory you can change the ratios through the amount catalytic cracking, but the flexibility is more limited than many realize.

Given the significant inflexibility of supply of crude oil, it does not take much of a variation in demand up or down to throw a huge spanner in civilizations cogs. Electric cars are only a tiny proportion of the world’s automobile fleet, but the rate of growth is staggering, soon it will be a big chunk.

Similarly it would not take much on the supply side to be a big problem. Ghawar supplies 6% of the worlds oil. The Saudis have been using water injection for decades and use multi lateral, multi nipple oil wells. It is easy to suspect that Ghawar is close to being just water with an oil scum at the top.

When will the shit hit the fan? I really do not know, I an surprised we made it this far. We face so many problems that peak energy may not even be that big a factor in our demise. If nothing else gets us, peak energy will. I am just saying it might get beaten to the punch.

24 08 2017
Chris Harries

Tyres and asphalt are two commodities that society will still want to produce in volume if transport goes all electric. Very little rubber is now plantation based.

28 08 2017
outdoorsalice

No, in the outstanding book 1493 it is explained why 40% of rubber comes from natural rubber trees — it simply can’t be done with artificial rubber and is an essential component of civilization. But all over the world rubber trees are being wiped out by pests. Yet another factor in the fall of our civilization I hadn’t seen mentioned anywhere else before.

28 08 2017
Chris Harries

The problem with returning to natural sources – for clothing, shoes, rubber, bio-fuels etc – is the sheer weight of human numbers these days, and thereby impossible resource demand. Returning to wool, cotton, bamboo and natural rubber is fine, but any withdrawal of agriculture way from food results in other implications.

29 08 2017
EtyerePetyere

Please Tell me what is not “real until they are proven and accepted technology” here ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfBeJbXf4w4 this technology was worked on 30+ years and now it came to fruition it did not appear magical and you can see with your own eyes how it works . Trucking is just a scaled up version of this and now even the europeans in some backward countries rolling out http://totalcar.hu/magazin/kozelet/2017/08/26/mercedes_lenne_a_magyar_csodakamion/ these trucks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCZJWxS-zxI and building factories for them but now they are building supercars beating the most expensive performance gasoline cars at all times http://www.rimac-automobili.com/en/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qodSfhk360

29 08 2017
mikestasse

To start with, Hydrogen is not a fuel, and nearly all the hydrogen currently manufactured comes from fossil fuels. I could go on…… but I’ve already wasted an awful lot of time debunking all this rubbish over the past twenty years…..

29 08 2017
Chris Harries

Etyere, I’ve had these very same debates with the pro-nuclear mob who argue black and blue that advanced nuclear design is the way to go… the only way to go. And I respond, saying: “Let’s wait and see if that comes true”. Twenty years later and I’m still waiting. Tell me why

I admire your romantic enthusiasm and suggest that you stay with your dream. But just accept that there are thousands of blokes out there, just like you, who have landed on a particular technology and have become enraptured by it. There’s one guy who has been pressing the button on tidal power for years saying there’s more potential energy in WA alone to power the whole of Australia.

So….. this all comes back to the question how much time we’ve got, and how much wealth there is, to transition the whole world’s infrastructure. Sure, there are some elegant new technologies out there, not all proven up, and each one may possibly play a small role but we are well into overshoot. It’s time to stop the naive idea that we can ecologically power a non-sustainable economy.

24 08 2017
Jonathan Maddox

In addition to thermal cracking and hydrocracking units, petroleum refineries already have isomerisation (aka polymerisation or alkylation) units for exactly the purpose of adjusting molecular weights and creating branched alkanes as required for specific types of fuel product. If there were suddenly a relative glut of one fraction or another of petroleum, they’d do more or less of it.

The amount of world petroleum production ultimately used to *make* stuff, as opposed to being burned as some kind of fuel or another, is tiny: scarcely one fiftieth. And many chemical processes have already, thanks to the high price of petroleum products, switched to using either natural gas (chiefly in the US) or coal (in China). Indeed, some of the energy in petroleum products from some refineries is ultimately derived from the separate natural gas feedstock, used to make the hydrogen required for desulfurisation and hydrocracking, and fed along with other light alkanes to the polymerisation units, rather than from the crude oil itself.

If oil refiners were, thanks to electric cars or a sudden watering-out of a major source of “sweet light” crude petroleum, faced with a relative glut of some light-weight oil product, and for whatever reason any re-tooling required to do additional polymerisation was not possible in a timely fashion, the relative prices of the various petroleum products would shift, and whatever was available in excess would become cheap enough to burn in place of natural gas, which is easy and convenient to do (many natural gas power stations actually keep liquid fuel on site as an emergency backup stock: burning heavier liquids in place of methane requires little adjustment).

24 08 2017
Jonathan Maddox

This is excessively US-centric, presents global commercial interconnectedness as a weakness (it is in many ways a source of resilience), and completely misunderstands the nature of money.

There is no financial wall to be hit, money not being a finite commodity, and almost all of the scenarios here depend on money issues which, if they even threaten to arise in private markets affecting powerful countries (most especially the USA), will be smoothed over by government intervention.

China most certainly can afford to pay more *per barrel* of oil than many US consumers can afford to pay for their profligate usage, but this is not an auction of a single house where the winner takes all. The price is bid up and consumers buy what they are willing to pay for at that price. Even if some individual US consumers are forced to cut consumption, the US as a whole can still pay for an awful lot of oil at the sort of price Chinese oil users might be willing to pay, certainly enough to put towards all the essential uses and most of the more commercially efficient ones. Last time the oil price soared above $100 per barrel, we saw casual airline travel and holiday driving decrease, private car use decrease, public transit ridership soar. A lot of consumption is quite discretionary if the price is high enough to discourage it. Yet a lot of the oil Americans buy comes from within the borders of the USA, purchasable in US dollars. Even outside US borders, oil exporters accept US dollars for oil (most will take *only* US dollars), and even if they were to refuse to take US dollars, the likelihood that US dollars won’t be convertible to whatever they do take is zero.

We do know where US dollars come from, right?

24 08 2017
mikestasse

Your optimism regarding money doesn’t seem to be shared by the world’s central bankers……..

Central bankers get together to discuss their $US400 trillion problem

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-24/jackson-hole/8837718

25 08 2017
Jonathan Maddox

The detailed mechanics of monetary operations are a smokescreen. They’re all hoping nobody notices (though really we all know perfectly well) that there are no constraints on the supply of money.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with central banks holding vast financial assets. There would certainly be something wrong with them dumping all those assets into the private sector, which it is implied they all want to do, but perhaps the bankers and the governments they answer to will arrange some other way to keep the smokescreen up.

The smokescreen exists mostly because there are various rules and legislation that require government accounts at central banks to stay in the black. That in turn effectively requires deficits to be financed through borrowing. Since 1974 new agreements stopped the countries that used to “borrow” directly from their own central banks from doing so. The debt financing model is actually sustainable through steady inflation and very low interest rates … but inflation is considered evil™ (also since the mid 1970s) and central banks want to put the interest rates up to stop too many people getting jobs. This public debt non-problem has to keep on looking like a problem for PR reasons, at least until the ideological pendulum swings back again. I hope and expect that won’t take too long.

The immediate upshot of the Jackson Hole conference, I expect, is that the central banks will quietly agree NOT to divest themselves of their QE-acquired assets after all, or to try to transfer them quietly to some less visible public-sector entities.

30 08 2017
EtyerePetyere

I think you are mistaken Sir ! You are saying that hydrogen is not a fuel . Why would you say that ? Hydrogen is a combustible gas : it has a higher combustibility than all the distilled forms of hydrocarbons gasoline diesel kerosene etc . Now you are wrong on this one as the examples i have shown, there is a small scale working infrastructure and finished product in working order already you can`t deny that. yes scale is an issue so was for gasoline and diesel transportation and air travel . Now the time has come for this . And as horse carriages , gasoline and diesel will also go away . You Sayig hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels . yes , maybe some but that will change and intermittent renewable`s are perfect for producing hydrogen from the endless supply of WATER here on earth .

2 09 2017
mikestasse

Your Toyota costs $77,000 in Australia…… it will never catch on. My wife’s 3 cylinder one litre Suzuki Alto cost her $6000 with very low mileage, and takes 35L of petrol to cover 800km. With $70,000, she can buy 45,000L of fuel, enough to cover ONE MILLION km…….. no contest. And there is NO WAY I would spend anything like that sort of money (my last car cost $2000) on a vehicle.

25 08 2017
sheilach2

Alice said those living in rural areas will need to move into a town or city, however prices there are out of reach of those living outside a town or city, that’s why they don’t live there & WTSHTF, prices will go even higher as landlords, land owners & apartment owners will squeeze all the profit they can from the desperate people who HAD to move & there won’t be enough affordable housing for them..
They will end up HOMELESS!
Here, there are many people who foolishly chose to live many miles up the river, in the woods, high on the mountains, on narrow roads & there isn’t enough housing for the people here now, adding hundreds more will be impossible unless they plan to “live” in tents & shit in the streets.
Get out the shovels.

Then there is the idea that electric cars would replace fuel cars, won’t happen. Just how are we suppose to GENERATE the ELECTRICITY we will need for all those cars? Certainly not from solar cells & wind turbines, they are as dependent upon OIL as are our cars, computers & US.
Also we won’t have the resources to build enough electric cars, only the RICH will be able to afford those electric cars, the rest will be without transportation & will starve if they can’t fuel their gas burning auto enough to reach the shops.

Better start handing out the poison pills for them.

With the decline of oil, billions will be jobless, homeless, hungry, frightened & people will be ANGRY at being abandoned by “their” government but they should have figured out a long time ago that their RULERS care only for themselves, we are just pee ons & tax payers!
I think we are SO fucked!

Where does “money” come from? printing presses! where else?
It’s backed by faith!

5 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Money is “backed” by the taxation power of the government which issues it, and by the productive capacity of the economy which that government controls.

If we really were falling off a “resource cliff” your comments about not being able to afford stuff would be true, but we aren’t. There was genuine, justified circa 2004-2008 that geological constraints on petroleum had capped annual production around the 90 million barrel per day mark and would push the price of oil ever higher just to maintain production at that level for a short while, until “the shit hit the fan” and production inevitably collapsed because the oil had literally run out. There were genuine fears that some of the old, very large oil fields, currently producing huge amounts of oil, would suddenly “water out” and all at once stop producing much of anything, dramatically reducing production and increasing the average cost of whatever remained. Those fears have not been realised over the decade since. While individual oil fields have indeed gone into decline, they have not abruptly ceased. New development has opened distinct new petroleum resources to extraction. Oil production has increased (currently at 95 million barrels per day), not stagnated and not fallen. Oil prices have fallen, they did not remain high and they did not rise further.

While all of the general worry about resource depletion remains more-or-less valid (finite mineral resources are indeed finite), the worry about an imminent and sudden collapse in petroleum production in particular seems to have been quite misplaced. Even if one or more of the very large oil fields were suddenly to “water out”, the same thing physically can’t happen to many of the more recently exploited petroleum resources. The quality and ERoEI of petroleum produced has indeed declined and the energy and monetary cost of extraction of the average barrel has indeed increased, but we haven’t run out and we aren’t about to run out. Economically speaking, there will always be some left; there is no price that will let us extract *all* the petroleum in existence. We will extract what we can at the price we are willing to pay, then the price must go up. Then (as in 2008) we will demand physically less of it at the higher price, suffering recession in the process, but the higher price will also drive new investment — in production, and in competing resource such as renewable electricity and electric vehicles — which can cause production to rise and/or demand to fall, and the price will go down again.

5 09 2017
Chris Harries

Jonathan, I think that the Peak Oil movement did on occasion use careless language in arguing ‘…the end of oil’. I didn’t ever meet anyone in that camp who argued that literally. The meaning was always that demand will eventually outstrip supply of affordable oil. In terms of large crude oil resources that has been the case now for some 8 to 10 years, geologically speaking and to some extent economically speaking. Unconventional oils and other liquid and gases hydrocarbons are filling the gap for now, but the now = a volatile era where oil price, whether high or low, is causing immense pressure on economies around the world.

There are those folk who claim that climate change theory has been debunked owning to a cooling trend (plus various other arguments) and there are those who say the oil resources are unlimited on grounds that the world economy is still kicking and that we can just print money to keep extracting lower and lower grades of oil (and other) resources. To be frank, I see no difference between those two groups but still listen to them and allow them their space to allay public concerns about these risks.

At the end of the day it boils down to whether or not the individual has a belief that sustained growth can be maintained in a finite world – keeping in mind that the dominant world view of virtually all governmental and corporate institutions is that we must have more growth… not survivability.

5 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Obviously money isn’t enough. Energy, skilled labour and physical capital equipment are also necessary. If oil were the ONLY energy resource, we’d be up shit creek.

Oil is far from the only energy resource. Many of the richer energy resources are not finite mineral resources at all and not subject to depletion — at least, not on the scale of the planet Earth or on the timescales of human civilisation.

Therefore we’ll keep extracting the oil we’re willing to pay for. Because the resource is finite, we’ll be willing to pay for less and less over time as it depletes. Our willingness may dwindle as a direct result of scarcity causing economic collapse (in 2007 this looked like a plausible scenario to some), or because competing energy resources without terrestrial scarcity issues (and, if our leaders come to their senses, increasing penalties for greenhouse pollution) make petroleum less desirable by comparison.

“Affordable oil” is not a geological term, it’s an economic one. We can and do afford “unconventional” oil, in ever-increasing quantities as you point out, therefore it isn’t unconventional any more. Conventional is the new conventional. Oils ain’t oils.

5 09 2017
mikestasse

Oil may not be the only energy resource, but it IS the master resource. Without it, mining on the scale we take for granted cannot happen…

6 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Well here we go again.

For starters, oil is not going away any time soon. Output is likely to decline, but we won’t find ourselves suddenly with none. Mining consumes only 11% of all global final energy consumption, so even if we took a substantial haircut I’m sure we would manage to keep priority mining operations open.

But actually you *don’t* need petroleum to mine.

Much of the oil used at mine sites is actually used to generate electricity; indeed the industry consumes 15% of all electricity generated. Mining sites are often ideal candidates for replacement of expensive diesel power generation with cheap renewables.

The largest land vehicles on earth are electrically-powered open cut mining excavators.

Deep underground mining equipment is usually electrically or hydraulically powered from stationary equipment at the surface. Liquid fuels are convenient, but scarcely essential.

Many of those enormous 400-tonne mining haul trucks are diesel-electric (like diesel-electric locomotives). Some are run part-time (eg. for steep ascents) using tram-like catenaries. They’re great candidates for further electrification and hybridisation. So is every other sort of mine vehicle. What’s important is power, not mobility. You can run them all, at only slight inconvenience, with a combination of catenaries and leads.

Anything currently done with mineral petroleum as the primary energy source, you can achieve with ANY other primary energy source. Often the means is electricity, but if liquid fuels are really required, they can be synthesised using water and coal, gas or biomass feedstocks, or electric energy and CO₂.

Electrically synthesised liquid fuels, though not the most efficient way to use energy, are the necessary and sufficient existence proof that fossil fuels are inessential.

Even though it is technically possible to replace petroleum outright, we will never be forced to go without it altogether by mere scarcity. There are, unfortunately, vast quantities (including unconventional-is-the-new-conventional) available to us. If petroleum scarcity were really to bite hard, its increasing relative value would mean that we would leverage other energy forms in its extraction, as indeed we already do.

We may instead *choose* to eliminate our reliance on petroleum to avoid pollution and even to reduce supply costs; that is a different matter.

Of course costs will be higher with non-petroleum energy sources than historical petroleum-based costs, as “cheap oil” is no more. ERoEI reached its all-time peak decades ago and may never reach such heights again. Relatively low ERoEI means a proportionately larger energy industry compared with the remainder of the economy it supports. Renewable electricity and fuel synthesis do put a long-term ceiling on ultimate energy costs, and that cost is not quite so high that the energy industry will eat all other occupations.

7 09 2017
Chris Harries

In my earlier life as a metallurgist I worked at the big Bougainville copper mine. That experience provided a few insights into the future of mining.

The Bougainville deposit, having less than 1 percent copper assay, would have been uneconomic to mine except for the fact it contained some gold and this added value allowed the mine to be profitable. Even then it couldn’t have been built if located in a country having environmental controls, because having such low concentrations of ore meant getting rid of millions of tonnes of crushed overburden and rock to recover that one percent. That mountain of debris all went into the Jaba river thus destroying that river system + the livelihoods of villagers who used to fish it.

Now the reasons such a low grade ore body was mined at all is because even way back then, in the 1970s, copper ore grades around the world had peaked and so it was becoming necessary to exploit very low grade ores to keep up world demand.

Power to the mine and concentrator was supplied via a large, purpose built oil-fired power station…. oil was still cheap enough back then to burn it for electricity. Could that power have been supplied via wind and solar, even today? Not a chance because even if you ignore the immense scale required, the Bougainville tropical climate is highly humid, always cloudy and windless, unless there is a hurricane happening in the Pacific. Hydro electricity would be very difficult owing to very high siltation that happens with tropical downpours.

Today nearly all minerals have well passed their peak assay and the same is happening in every metallurgical sector, just as it is for oil. Yes, we will never run out of any commodity, but in the case of virtually every mineral we are having to deal with a multifold problem of diminishing economic returns.

Now for those who believe this is not a problem because money is like the Magic Pudding (you will have read the kids book) and can never run out, the problem of diminishing returns also means that the environmental impacts of mining and processing just get bigger and bigger by the day. When you have to crush 100 tonnes rock to extract 1 tone of mineral ore you have to expend a lot of energy and make bigger and bigger holes in the ground. In someone else’s ground, more typically, because we increasingly have to rely on minerals that are mined in places like Mongolia, Brazil or Zambia. Not only increasingly big holes, but all of that rock and processor tailings have to go somewhere, and there’s a heck of a lot of it. And this causes big problems, and always short cuts are made in less regulated countries – witness the major tailings spill (courtesy of BHP) in Brazil in the past year.

Now we can rationalise that exploiting minerals in places like Mongolia is a necessary price to pay for keeping up our demand for commodities….and we can even go so far as to rationalise that we are doing these people a huge favour in doing so, but we can’t escape the growing problems – and the associated social and environmental costs – that diminishing returns are playing.

In the case of the Bougainville mine, it was money that forced it to close down. Mining royalties went to Port Moresby so that the locals were seeing little benefit from the multiplicity of problems – breakdown in village life, alcoholism and environmental harm – that the mine had brought them. For me the Bougainville experience was a valuable lens through which we can see where the mining industry is going globally.

(I’m not anti-mining. I enjoyed the science of metallurgy very much. But I’m painfully aware of consequences. I can’t just turn a blind eye and say that it is all worth it to futilely try to keep our mad consumer culture on the rails.)

7 09 2017
mikestasse

Thanks Chris……. you reminded me of this gem…

7 09 2017
Chris Harries

Forgot to mention a small detail. The Bougainville civil war (brought about entirely as a result that mine) resulted in 15,000 – 20,000 deaths of local people, plus 300 members of the PNG defence forces (Australian government estimate) plus at least a decade of disruption to life and the economy of the province’s communities. This is not typical of all mines, of course, it’s just another one of those prices that some other peoples have paid for dearly so that we can keep up supply of commodities to us.

6 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Switching energy use away from petroleum saves miners money.

Energy Urgency: Why the Global Mining Industry is Embracing Renewables

https://nextbillion.net/energy-urgency-why-the-global-mining-industry-is-embracing-renewables/

7 09 2017
mikestasse

sorry, but I gleaned zero information from that link…

7 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Solar PV, wind turbines and hydroelectricity all work perfectly well in the tropics and all but wind are in active use on Bougainville itself. I have no idea why you’d say the climate is unsuitable. Maybe the geography makes Three Gorges scale big hydro untenable, but then the island doesn’t have 22 gigawatts of power demand either. The population is less than two hundred thousand and even the world’s largest copper mine, Escondida in Chile, has power demand of only 540MW.

The years of isolation and embargo also made Bougainville a hot-spot for biodiesel from indigenous coconut oil.

You are probably correct that the mine would not have been viable were it not for the co-products (not only gold, but also silver and uranium were at least hoped for) and the lack of environmental controls. The island rebel leadership made it very clear before hostilities began that it was the lack of respect for Bougainvillean people, and the lack of environmental controls, that triggered the war.

Royalties going to Moresby was a secondary issue: there was plenty of cash splashed around on Bougainville, it wasn’t that it wasn’t enough money, it was that it was done with contempt, with gated communities for foreign and mainland workers segregated from the local community, and a complete disregard for the express wishes of locals for pollution controls and land remediation.

7 09 2017
mikestasse

Wind is ABSOLUTELY hopeless in the tropics……. the best sites for wind are in the roaring forties (like Tasmania where I now live) or further away from the equator.

Solar works because it will literally work anywhere the sun shines, however, panels getting hot inhibit efficient generation, and in summer in the tropics monsoons create a lot of cloud and rain….. PVs are at their best in tropical deserts like the Sahara.

7 09 2017
Chris Harries

I spent two year on Bougainville and barely saw the sun. After about a year your skin gets a yellowish hue as a result of this. We laughed when on occasion the sun came out, marvelling that it was still there.

Of course you can put up solar panels and wind turbines anywhere you like if you don’t care about performance, but mostly it would be a stupid thing to do.

7 09 2017
mikestasse

it is a fact that the current pattern of extraction and its increasing energy consumption puts great pressure on the environment, generating larger amounts of waste rock, greenhouse gas emissions, water demands and social costs. Continuing this trend implies two broad options. One is to open new mines with likely lower ore grades but higher environmental impacts and/or stronger regulatory restrictions. The second one is continuing the exploitation of older mines for which permits are already acquired, but with escalating energy and environmental costs.
As mining is still going to be one of the main ways to meet the world’s resource requirements, along with recycling, more comprehensive studies should be carried out considering the scarcity of raw materials in the accounting system to improve resource management and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

http://www.mdpi.com/2079-9276/5/4/36/htm

CHILE: Cracks Beginning To Appear In Its Massive Copper Industry

Chile is by far the King of copper producers. In 2011, Chile produced an estimated 5.4 million metric tonnes of copper. Peru came in as a distant second at a mere 1.2 million metric tonnes. One of the by-products of copper production is silver and in 2011, Chile produced 42.1 million ounces of the precious metal. Chile is now the 5th largest silver producing country in the world.

For Chile to be able to produce those so-called 70,000 metric tonnes of silver reserves, it will have to mine a great deal of copper to do so. In order for the Chileans to be able to mine their huge copper reserves, they will need a growing supply of energy (especially liquid energy such as diesel to run the massive earth moving machines).

When I was researching diesel consumption in the mining industry, I came across an interesting trend taking place in Chile’s copper industry. In the past six years (2005-2010) when Chile’s copper production remained virtually flat, its consumption of diesel and fuel oil in the extraction of the ore has increased a staggering 50%.

The Future Silver Supply is at Risk

This huge increase in consumption of liquid fuels was due to falling copper ore grades and the aging of the mine as well. As open-pit mines age, the haul trucks transporting the ore will have to burn more fuel as the mine expands and deepens. If Chile wants to grow their copper and silver production, they will only do so if they can grow their energy base. This is where the situation gets interesting.

In a recent news article, “Chile $100 Billion Copper Push Under Threat by Energy Scarcity”, it was made clear that if Chile did not make massive upgrades to its electric power generation, a $100 billion worth of copper projects could be in jeopardy.

chile mining diesel consumption

From the article:

The biggest-ever pipeline of copper projects is under threat as Chile, the world’s top producer, struggles to contain rising opposition to new power plants.

… “Chile will have to shelve many of the country’s mining investments due to the high cost and scarcity of electricity,” Joaquin Villarino, president of mining lobby group Consejo Minero, said in Santiago on April 19. Delays will jeopardize a “significant” part of the proposed mine investments, he said.

and from another article concerning the same subject:

There are no easy fixes for tumbling ore grades at massive mines in northern Chile, protests over key energy projects that are threatening mining expansions and possible disruptions from extreme weather and labor unrest.

…. World No. 3 copper mine Collahuasi’s output dipped in the first quarter of the year due to weather disruptions and grades, Anglo reported on Thursday, while the world’s No. 1 copper mine Escondida saw its output plummet 25 percent last year due to a shock two-week strike and ore grade slips. (Link to the article: HERE)

Chile faces several daunting challenges in the future if it plans to increase its overall copper production. Furthermore, these two articles failed to mention the future threat of peak oil and the declining net oil exports on top of their rapidly increasing domestic mining problems. If we consider all of these factors facing the future of Chile’s mining industry, it may be prudent to believe that a good portion of its copper and silver reserves may just stay where they lay.

https://www.ainsliebullion.com.au/gold-silver-bullion-news/the-future-silver-supply-is-at-risk/tabid/88/a/109/default.aspx?109

7 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Yep. Energy consumption in copper mining is increasing due to declining ore grades. Output is levelling off and prices are going up. Those high prices are going to pay for a lot of renewable energy infrastructure at mine sites, because that’s cheaper than using petroleum.

7 09 2017
mikestasse

But Jonathan, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to run those 255 ton Tonka trucks on electricity….. don’t you understand that?

7 09 2017
Chris Harries

Jonathan, be happy that you’re in a majority. Most Western people vaguely believe in the magic pudding. But not everyone is still quite so enamoured by Adam Smith economics, nor believe that the growing array of costs borne from trying to meet resources demand are acceptable and noble – these including widespread social and environmental disruption borne by others.

These sort of tit-for-tat debates don’t ever lead us to agreement. Time will eventually prove who has got the better take on all this. Perhaps not a lot of time either. I would love to see the world through rose coloured glasses but have seen too much to conclude that we’re in safe hands.

7 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Mike, electricity can and does run mine haul trucks. Has done for decades.

http://www.newsmonitor.co.za/newsmonitor/view/newsmonitor/en/page28457?oid=1236745&sn=Article%20Detail&pid=558&highlight=

“By applying trolley assist, open cast mining activities may save up to 50% in the fuel cost and improve the productivity of the fleet by 10% or more.”

Click to access TROLLEY%20ASSIST%20TO%20OPTIMISE%20HAULING%20CYCLES%20WITH%20ELECTRIC%20TRUCKS%20.pdf

8 09 2017
Chris Harries

Ah, now I understand where you are coming from re electric mine trucks, Jonathan. There’s no such thing as such.

Diesel-Electric power is very old and, might I say, a good technology. Tasmania’s very old locomotives were diesel-electric. As are many ships, military tanks and other large scale machinery.

The important thing to note is that they are powered by burning diesel fuel or heavy bunker fuel. The electric part is simply a more efficient way to organise transmission to the wheels (or propeller) instead of a having a clumsy mechanical drive train. This advantage also means that the energy from the DIESEL ENGINE can be simply delivered to each wheel by having an electric motor in each wheel. This can help with traction (especially useful in trains where there’s not a lot of friction between the metal wheels and metal tracks).

Yes, diesel-electric power systems can be very good but they are primarily run on diesel fuel, generating electricity, and this being used directly to the wheels enabling a more efficient transmission system. I think the article says there’s a gain of about 10 percent efficiency when done this way in mine haulers.

7 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Mike, mine haul trucks have run from electric wires for decades. It’s done at around a dozen mines, most of them in Africa.

http://www.womp-int.com/story/2011vol09/story024.htm

http://minesupport.blogspot.com.au/2008/01/mining-truck-applications.html

Even the ones which don’t are frequently electric drive. Up to 500 tonnes.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/environment/worlds-biggest-dump-truck-goes-electric

http://www.e-mj.com/features/1444-the-case-for-trolley-assist.html

7 09 2017
mikestasse

I’ve researched this before, it only assists the trucks, it doesn’t drive them… it even says “electric assist” in the URL!

7 09 2017
mikestasse

that 500 tonne truck… The AC electric drive is powered by two 16-cylindar-diesel (sic) engines that each have an output of about 1,700 kW

ALL those trucks are diesel electric, and the overhead wires reduce, but do replace, the need for diesel…… all that happens is that the trucks go faster uphill, which they need to as the ores get worse and worse.

7 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Chris,

“These sort of tit-for-tat debates don’t ever lead us to agreement.”

Well no, not when Mike is still making a point (with the very same words, “tonka trucks”) for which I showed him counterexamples FOUR YEARS ago (almost to the day):

https://theconversation.com/peak-oil-is-alive-and-well-and-costing-the-earth-17542#comment_221939

8 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Electricity directly replaces oil for the climb out of the pit, which is the most energy-intensive part. The trucks do still use diesel *today*, with or without part-time assistance via catenary, but electric drive means ripe for increasing hybridisation and even for full electrification.

There have been fully electric catenary heavy-haulage trucks in the past as well, for both construction and mining. Not in the hundreds of tonnes, admittedly, but the existence proof is there.

http://hutnyak.com/Trolley/trolleyhistory.html#Valtellina

8 09 2017
Chris Harries

Yeah a bit of wishful thinking there. But I think lots of people have trouble with understanding the maths of scale.

A diesel-electric train can be made so that it can be electrically driven on those parts of the rail system that’ve been electrified (and then the electricity is normally generated from coal anyway), but for heavy mine dump trucks and for shipping and military vehicles not on fixed routes – where it is not possible to have a cabled network – this is not an option. Nor are batteries.

Direct sail power can slightly enhance the efficiency of commercial shipping and thus increase their engine efficiencies slightly.

But then… we keep talking as if even these marginal advances can just be done in a trice. Most infrastructure is what it is until it wears out, so you are talking long phase-in times, even for quite small beneficial efficiency improvements.

A complete transition to electrical energy for all industrial uses would entail the building of some 10 to 20 thousand nuclear power facilities around the world (what my pro-nuclear friends lustfully dream of). I just wonder if they have any idea of what that would take and how long.

8 09 2017
mikestasse

Electricity directly replaces oil for the climb out of the pit

NO it doesn’t…… the catenary wires merely assist, otherwise WHY bother carrying around whopping great heavy diesel engines that could be replaced with actual payload? I even put it to you that they now do this because more and more overburden has to be gotten rid of just to keep the production of metal steady.

Entropy at its best……

9 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Sorry Mike, these trucks really do run primarily on mains electricity for the steep run up the ramp. It saves — directly *replaces* — a hell of a lot of liquid fuel. The diesel engines are still needed for when the trucks are moving beyond the fixed catenary. In the case of severe price hikes or shortages of liquid fuels, further hybridisation using batteries (much improved by 2017 versus the state of the art when most of these systems were installed) is possible, as is extending the catenaries and the use of cords (“trail cables”), which is exactly how electric rope shovels and the enormous Bagger excavators are powered.

A majority of the mines where the catenary trucks are installed are coal mines in South Africa. It’s been done there since the Apartheid boycott days, starting in 1981. It was first implemented because liquid fuels were scarce and expensive in South Africa at the time (the country also invested heavily in coal-to-liquid technology, which still produces over 50 million barrels of liquid fuels per year). Electric catenary trucks have continued to be used and further expanded even since the end of the boycott, and in mines elsewhere in Africa, because it saves money even when petroleum is more widely and cheaply available.

While one or two of the mines using electric trucks are indeed copper mines, I don’t think today’s low ore concentration levels were specifically a reason for adopting catenary electric assist. It’s just a good idea overall.

10 09 2017
Chris Harries

And you believe the all large-scale mining equipment can run off solar panels and such? Because mains electricity that’s powered by fossil fuelled thermal is less efficient than direct driven diesel. This is where the electrical argument inevitably runs into spruiking for pro-nuclear power – because dilute energy sources just can’t be scaled up enough to undertake dense energy jobs.

10 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

The grid manages to take power from gigawatt-scale power stations and distribute it to devices on the scale of street lamps, phone chargers and refrigerators over a vast area.

The same technology can achieve the reverse without difficulty as required.

17 09 2017
19 09 2017
mikestasse

““If all goes as planned, the electric dumper truck will even harvest more electricity while traveling downhill than it needs for the ascent. Instead of consuming fossil fuels, it would then feed surplus electricity into the grid.””

Well THAT is complete bullshit………. defies all the laws of thermodynamics. One immediately cannot rely on anything that article says.

19 09 2017
Chris Harries

Well it may be theoretically possible in a rare situation where the mine materials have to be transported downhill and the empty mine trucks go back up hill. But in general it’s another one of those magic pudding ideas. Rather like that concept that gets bandied about…. like ‘Zero-carbon Sydney’. And you look down on this huge mega city with all of its buildings and industry and freight and several million people consuming their hearts out… and you just look at the purveyor of that magic thought and wonder what’s going on between their ears.

On the other hand, those rah rah sales pitches, as dishonest as they may be, are seen as a way of giving people laudable targets to aspire to.

But, Mike, I think Jonathan is just having a it of fun being a devil’s advocate.

19 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

You’re right Mike, the “feeding surplus electricity back to the grid” bit seems a bit of a stretch, but in this case the quarry really is at the top of a mountain and the trucks are bringing their loads down, so it’s *almost* credible; approximately as realistic as the schemes for storing grid electricity by carting rocks up and down hill by train. Of course most mines are literally pits, with overburden and rock coming out and up, so the trucks in use there will as ever remain large net consumers, not producers, of energy.

Chris, yes I might be having a bit of fun, but I’m deadly serious that petroleum is optional. Electricity already works very well for most stationary energy applications and with the advent of light-weight rechargeable batteries it is starting to work very well for transportation. This is a cause for great optimism on the “energy cliff” front, but could equally be taken as a reason for great pessimism: it reconfirms that petroleum scarcity is insufficient to curb overall demand for resources (not that it ever was), and that we will without a doubt retain the option of the whole gamut of fossil fuels for electricity generation and resource extraction. Only in conjunction with the push to renewable electricity can we be confident of a reduction in carbon dioxide pollution — and of course then we must still deal with every other flavour of pollution and depletion.

27 08 2017
EtyerePetyere
27 08 2017
mikestasse

Believe that, and you’ll believe anything…

29 08 2017
EtyerePetyere

Sir ! this is not a matter of belief or believe . This a working prototype running on an inexhaustible fuel source so much that they giving it away for free with the purchase of the vehicle . The kinks have been all worked out . Range but also improved communications and load assignment efficiency . This business model is also being adopted by Toyota giving away fuel for 3 years free with the purchase of their zero emission hydrogen electric car and also Of course Tesla has its free recharging station infrastructure (which is all electric ) all these companies show us that it is not that we are hitting some sort of a ceiling in powering our transport systems but that operating them as fueling concerned becomes cheaper of even free .

29 08 2017
Chris Harries

Etyere, I know you are sincere and earnestly want a magical solution (don’t we all?) but none of these ‘inexhaustible’ technologies are real until they are proven and accepted. I’ve heard it all before many dozens of times. So many times that a while ago I wrote a response to the phenomenon here: http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/764/66/

At this late stage we also have another, bigger problem on our hands. For every bloke who believes we have a quick easy solution the problem is that we needed that solution not today or tomorrow, but yesterday. Twenty years ago we still had a window. Time is now the biggest factor running against us, then money, then basic physical laws of themodynamics and energy accounting.

I gave good friends who are nuclear enthusiasts and they have the same ebullient language as yours, and with stars in their eyes.

29 08 2017
mikestasse

Listen mate…… I know a woman with a PhD in this stuff who invented fuel cell materials……. she reckons it was the biggest wate of time in her whole career, she has absolutely convinced me 100% there will never be a hydrogen economy, you are truly wasting YOUR time on this website.

Hydrogen has a NEGATIVE Energy Return on Energy Invvsted. Current fossil fuels are failing us witj ERoEI of less than 10. Just where do you think negative ERoEIs are going to take us?

Unfortunately you’ll have to right click the image and open it in a new tab to get the whole picture

30 08 2017
EtyerePetyere

I think you are mistaken Sir ! You are saying that hydrogen is not a fuel . Why would you say that ? Hydrogen is a combustible gas : it has a higher combustibility than all the distilled forms of hydrocarbons gasoline diesel kerosene etc . Now you are wrong on this one as the examples i have shown, there is a small scale working infrastructure and finished product in working order already you can`t deny that. yes scale is an issue so was for gasoline and diesel transportation and air travel . Now the time has come for this . And as horse carriages , gasoline and diesel will also go away . You Sayig hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels . yes , maybe some but that will change and intermittent renewable`s are perfect for producing hydrogen from the endless supply of WATER here on earth .

30 08 2017
mikestasse

Where are the hydrogen mines…? and stop calling me sir… furthermore, using ANY source of electricity to make hydrogen is a waste of electricity.

Geez, even if Amory Lovins has given up on hydrogen…………………….

30 08 2017
EtyerePetyere

Exactly sir ! I have studied the graph where it shows the energy return of Hydrogen on the bottom part of the chart . Just like to point out on the top of the chart wind and sun energies in the green among the top EROEI sources are the ones which will produce the hydrogen in a no pollution fashion for transportation which will also be in turn no polluting . With this it wont matter if we are producing hydrogen in a low efficiency manners since renewable`s are going to produce them for us for free

30 08 2017
Jonathan Maddox

The problem is one of terminology. Hydrogen most certainly is a fuel, but it is not a primary energy source.

It really doesn’t belong on the chart. Neither does methanol, because it too is a manufactured product. The only reason it can be it shown at 3:1 is because the author was discussing the production of methanol from biomass feedstock. Like the generation of electricity and the manufacture of hydrogen, the ERoEI of methanol synthesis is strictly negative. The primary energy for it must come from some another source.

The chart is quite silly in isolation because it isn’t comparing apples and oranges. Only some fossil fuels are shown on the chart, namely crude petroleum feedstocks. Coal and gas are missing. Wind and solar PV deliver electricity, not liquid fuels. Hydrogen and methanol are manufactured products, not primary energy sources.

I traced your chart via “jpods.com” (car-sized overhead suspended tramways) to a video from Chris Martenson’s 2008 “Crash Course”. In that context it’s much less silly, because the voiceover and photographs interspersed give plenty of context, including mentioning that solar and wind aren’t really part of it. He does make the same mistake of failing to recognise that hydrogen and methanol are quite alike … and he doesn’t push hydrogen down below the origin either, just puts it at the end of the curve. He finally puts hydrogen in at 9:40.

It should be recognised that even with all the info given, it’s still an oversimplification using figures from a decade ago.

30 08 2017
EtyerePetyere

Dear Madam – MOM – Ms or Mss Mikestasse ! There are no hydrogen mines ( you can look at the oceans as mines if you like ) but we can produce Hydrogen from our unlimited water supply using high EROEI renewable`s like solar and wind (Just look at your graph – You unfortunately have to right click on it to see ) In this case it doesnt matter how inefficient this conversion is since this will come from renewable limitless clean energy .

1 09 2017
mikestasse

Renewables do NOT have high ERoEI. Here is a short video that explains why ERoEI is so important…….

https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/losing-our-energy-slaves/

5 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

correction: I wrote above about “strictly negative” ERoEI for energy transformation processes like manufacture of methanol or generation of electricity. Of course ERoEI is a ratio between quantities (energy in, energy out) that can’t meaningfully be negative, and so can never itself be negative.

What I should have written (indeed what anyone who ever wrote about “negative ERoEI” should have written) was “strictly below unity ERoEI”.

28 08 2017
outdoorsalice

I’ve updated this post thanks to reading it again after Mike republished it — see http://energyskeptic.com/2017/transportation-how-long-can-we-adapt-before-we-fall-off-the-net-energy-cliff/ Alice Friedemann

31 08 2017
Chris Harries

Etyere, have you any idea how many solar panels you would need in order to provide hydrogen from water hydrolysis…. just to fuel one large freight truck? Please work out how many thousands and report back.

Look, you need to do your sums really well before backing a lame horse that’s weighed down with lead.

1 09 2017
EtyerePetyere

From here you can see it for yourself and this excerpt is only on electrolysis
http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/3157/hydrogen-production-from-renewables/ “A 100% efficient electrolyser requires 39 kWh of electricity to produce 1 kg of hydrogen. The devices today require as much as 48 kWh/kg. So, if electricity costs are 0.05 US$/kWh, the power cost for the electrolysis process alone is 2.40 US$/kg of hydrogen. (NB: In the USA, average residential electricity cost is approximately 0.10 US$/kWh and industrial 0.06 US$/kWh).
——————
The worldwide electricity production potential from renewables is staggering. If addressed and utilised aggressively, there is sufficient resource to support not only large inputs to the electrical grids across the planet, but also significant hydrogen production. As an example, by itself the available wind power resource in the USA is estimated to be more than 2,800 GW (today, total US electricity generation capacity is roughly 1,100 GW), enough to produce over 150 billion kg/year of hydrogen, which exceeds the US gasoline quantity consumed annually in terms of energy equivalency.

1 09 2017
mikestasse

You’re leaving out the cost of cryogenic storage and very expensive and (very!) high pressure vessels.

“The worldwide electricity production potential from renewables is staggering”

Pity it’ll never happen…….

You have to look at the BIG PICTURE. The world is bankrupt, and we are already heading for a fossil fuel energy cliff. Without fossil fuels and free running money presses, NOTHING of the kind wil happen.

5 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

“Without fossil fuels and free running money presses…”

Unfortunately we have both, but we do not have a coherent policy to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution.

2 09 2017
EtyerePetyere

there is no need for storage since hydrogen will be supplyed on demand and will be produced locally everywhere where there is wind and solar or biomass rtc available some places maybe fossil fuels in the meantimes. And to say that storage will be the inhibiting factor is ridiculous. I have read a few things about hydrogen and difficulties but never really mentioned storage as something prohibitive . You have to just admit that this is a feasible option . we have so much fossil fuels left still we can fry the planet 5-6 times over enough energy to build this infrastructure . Money printing no problem . After this is in place we will have anyway clean economic nirvana where all debt can be retired since limitless energy will pay for everything .

2 09 2017
mikestasse

At this stage, you have completely lost me……… you OBVIOUSLY have no idea what ERoEI means, nor do you understand the energy density of gaseous hydrogen.
H2 at atmospheric pressure, roughly the equivalent of 1L of petrol/gasoline, has a volume of 0.85m3……. enough to drive the average car maybe 10km.

2 09 2017
Chris Harries

I’ve no doubt that Etyere means well. The world is full of earnest blokes who think we don’t really have a problem. Inside themselves though they are clutching at straws, because they don’t want to confront what’s really happening. I can’t blame them. Who does want to? In time they will come around. The pity of it is the false hopes that are abounding are preventing humanity from doing what it ought to be doing at this point.

2 09 2017
EtyerePetyere

Dear Madam Mikestasse ! I would like to remind you as one of my videos showing a Toyota hydrogen car being refueled the Toyota representative telling you that this car on this single fill up will go 320 miles he finishes the refueling process in 5 minutes . It is obvious tthat this car is not being refueled by atmospheric pressure hydrogen . But why are you bringing this up anyway ? this was never a question here . EROei in case of hyrdogen production is not applicable since as was also shown we have so much renewable energy capacity that we can produce with that hydrogen for transport at a huge energy loss and we still have enough fuel for transportation and electric energy left for other uses

2 09 2017
mikestasse

You’re the one who wrote…… there is no need for storage since hydrogen will be supplyed (sic) on demand

2 09 2017
EtyerePetyere

Yes no storage or just very limited scale . Not like oil has to be pumped in foreign countries, other continents out to sea etc, has tp be pipelined supertankerd piped again refined maybe piped again or delivered by trucks. All stored and moved by different means thru huge distances . With renewables hydrogen production is being produced in the immediate environment where it is used basically from production into the vehicles hydrogen tanks immediately where these vehicles than can go huge distances like my videos presented to you

4 09 2017
Chris Harries

Isn’t it great show we don’t have a resource problem and how the planet is infinite after all and how life is going to be happily ever after for everyone!

5 09 2017
5 09 2017
mikestasse

At first glance, hydrogen would seem an ideal substitute for these problematic fuels. Pound for pound, hydrogen contains almost three times as much energy as natural gas, and when consumed its only emission is pure, plain water. But unlike oil and gas, hydrogen is not a fuel. It is a way of storing or transporting energy.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a926/4199381/

To be honest, I don’t even know WHY I am arguing this with you……. cars or how we will power them is THE LEAST OF OUR PROBLEMS……

https://lokisrevengeblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/no-soil-water-before-100-renwable-energy/

4 09 2017
EtyerePetyere

Peak oil and the coming electric vehicle disruption

5 09 2017
5 09 2017
Chris Harries

Etyere, are you speaking for those people in famine-ravaged not Africa, flood ravaged India and Texas, war torn Syria and Iraq or those suffering from the Oil Curse in places like Venezuela and Nigeria. These millions of people are just some of those whose lives aren’t getting better and better… thanks to resource competition and pollution disruption.

And we ain’t seen nothing yet… as they say.

But go on, sing their praises for now.

5 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Famine, flood and war are definitely not new. Hunger and vulnerability to natural disaster are actually at an all-time low now. So is infant mortality. Vulnerability to violence from other humans is also near its all-time historical low, despite Syria’s civil war which is a minor squabble compared with the Congo wars before it, or even in comparison with the better-publicised and somewhat less murderous imperial attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan (Arguably Syria’s strife is just a logical extension after the disruption of Iraq, which enabled and caused it, and which served the same policy goals for the powers most in a position to encourage or halt it).

The resource curse is also not especially new, and it’s more-or-less possible for a government to manage it, providing that it’s not in denial about it and has a reasonably functional society. The Venezuelan regime tried to use both petroleum and expropriation as a means to fund its social programmes while maintaining a currency peg against the US dollar. If Venezuela’s government had decided not to antagonise and expropriate foreign capital holders causing capital and talent flight and a production crisis in its oil industry, and not to peg its currency, it could have let the Bolívar deflate, paid for Venezuelan labour for social development domestically at no external cost, worn some consumer inflation (inevitable with increased demand) with relative impunity due to improved domestic production of the necessities of life, and still sold petroleum (at whatever price) to pay for vital imports.

Poverty, crime and warfare are all on an improving trajectory. Resource competition is of course a factor in all three — no more and no less than it always has been.

5 09 2017
Chris Harries

Here’s a sobering article regarding the supposed inexhaustibility of fossil fuels and what happens if we do down that path with rose coloured glasses:
http://e360.yale.edu/features/the-world-eyes-yet-another-unconventional-source-of-fossil-fuels-methane-hydrates

5 09 2017
Jonathan Maddox

Well exactly, Chris! There are ridiculously vast quantities of stuff on earth that we could burn. We need to stop it as soon as humanly possible, through political and economic action. Fossil fuels aren’t just going to force us to stop burning them by running out.

5 09 2017
Chris Harries

Well we finally come to full agreement, Jonathan. The end of fossil fuels never will be and never would bring an end to global warming. I do think some hopeful people did latch on to the oil issue for that reason, but it was never a mainstay argument. The opposite is, in fact, true. Extraction of fossil fuels gets dirtier by the year as low-grade sources, like tar sands, are being tapped in order to meet demand.

5 09 2017
EtyerePetyere

Madam Mikestasse ! i Thought we have a discussion here and not arguing . I or you bringing up and exchanging ideas . my idea is and i have laid out my case that we have enough solar and wind energy potential to produce all the needed hydrogen for transportation i have shown this in a mathematical form . This article speaks about transportation and I have shown that all the transportation fuels can be replaced with renewables energy generated fuels . So this article is wrong on that . It might be right on fossil fuel based transportation but the discussion is about how can this made be possible. And it can . The math and the physics are all showing that it is possible and it is possible at an environmentally sound non-polluting way. We are not discussing here food and soils like you have brought it up. I also know that individual he is not a scientist nor somebody of an expert on that field he is a self-admitted drug addict who is working as a manager or sort of a labourer in a trailer park please check your sources and present them carefully and in in relevance to the subject being discussed here

5 09 2017
Chris Harries

Etyere, reading between the lines your are young yet and have a lot to learn about the world and what we’ve done to it and what is possible to really do about the human predicament at this late stage. By all means put all of your energy into whatever wonderful solution you think is going to happen, but I need to gently warn you that you will eventually face a lot of disillusionment because you are trying to defy basic laws of physics and mathematics… and the perversity of human nature.

If you are truly confident that our future will be peacefully, harmonious and prosperous then you wouldn’t feel the need to challenge the notion that there are limits to growth.

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