Personality Cafe banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In 1956, M. King Hubbert, a geologist, calculated the known amount of oil in the world and predicted that petroleum production in America would peak between 1965 and 1970. Hubbert described the global supply of petroleum in the form of a bell curve which showed its rise, peak, and inevitable decline. Despite receiving a significant amount of criticism, his prediction came true in 1970. Hubbert believed that after this peak the supply of oil in the world would terminally decline and that the world will eventually struggle to produce enough cheap, economically extractable oil to meet the demands of the growing global population.

Since that time, there has been much debate in regards to whether or not peak oil is real. Many have stated that oil will become scarce within this century while others claim it's absurd. However, the possibility isn't quite as absurd as it seems if recent history suggests anything. We have seen arguably more resource-based wars specifically related to oil than in other times of history as America controls or at least bears significant influence on the majority of the world's important oil fields in the Middle East. Certain individuals link 9/11 and the War on Terror to peak oil based on the total known petroleum supply calculated at the time. I think that of all types INTJs are among those who possess a significant form of assertion in relation to what is the truth of the matter, hence why this is being posted here. This thread functions as a discussion to ask us INTJs this question, are we in danger of seeing within this century a time in which oil will become scarce and the entire global economy collapsing as the world descends into disorder? If so, what solution do you think is necessary to resolve such a significant issue? Please inform me of your opinion in regards to this matter below.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Human beings have a clear track record demonstrating a complete inability to predict the future reliably, whether in the realm of economics, politics, culture, science, or nature. And paired with our incapacity for predicting the future is a psychological need to convince ourselves that we actually are very good at predicting the future. So we generally suck at predicting the future but think we are good at it. For more on this and related epistemology, I suggest the book "Black Swan".

Putting that aside, if we allow markets to set prices, then the price of oil will slowly rise as it becomes more scarce and more expensive to extract. The increase in the price will cause resources to shift to alternative sources of energy. There will be various price points at which the economy will switch over to, for example, natural gas, vegetable oil, solar, hydrogen or fusion, because markets are very good at allocating resources based on scarcity as reflected in prices. We switched an entire economy from horse power to the internal combustion engine without missing a beat. It is very unlikely that we will wake up one day and find ourselves saddled with an economy that needs oil to run and no oil to run it with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
To be honest? I hope oil becomes scarce as soon as possible, the powerful oil industry is (directly and indirectly) responsible for a lot of suffering and technological stagnation.

Oil itself is a replaceable resource. In the early days of car industry, oil powered cars actually competed with electric cars. I used to know quite a bit about this topic and if I I recall correctly oil powered cars had many drawbacks (compared to electric cars), but the fuel was so ridiculously cheap, that everybody could afford it.

In fact, a lot of technologies could have replaced oil in the context of cars by now. I wonder, how many of you knew that during WW2 Germany still had trade with the USA? For example, Nazi Germany had the technology to power cars/tanks with firewood, and that rather efficiently. However, they had to sell this patented technology (to Ford I believe) during the course of the war. I was a trade... patent for an assured flow of resources from the USA (since they couldn't buy cheap resources secretly through their former alles in the east).

Or just think of the struggles Tesla has against the oil lobby, but I am also thinking about technologies like Hydrogen or gas fueled cars which never took off.

I am sure the man had good intentions when he made his "peak oil" theory, but I think his work has been misused by the lobby to create the image of artificial shortage... which leads to higher prices... which leads to more profit.

The low prices we currently see is actually a fight of the wealthy oil nations like Saudi Arabia who want to starve their competitors so they can increase the prices in the long term again. And I am kinda glad for this actually, since this means that the use of hazardous fracking will be brought down to a minimum (thankfully).

Btw. it is the same country responsible for a lot of suffering in the middle east, kindly supported with weapons to maintain control over the population by the west.

War on terror was clearly resource oriented, there is simply no denying it. 9/11 has been shamelessly abused. After all, name at least one non-politically motivated conflict (like Vietnam) that was not set in a resource rich country... I count none.


We don't need oil, the oil lobby needs us.
... Well, actually this is not true since we do need oil for drugs, chemical components and the creation of plastic. However, I am sure we are far enough advanced in terms of technology to overcome those issues with plastic (and maybe can finally replace plastic with something less environmentally hazardous?).

And the less oil is needed, the longer we have time to use it on crucial components like chemicals or drugs. Not to mention the acidification of the seas because of the emitted CO2 (which is far, far more dangerous than the green house effect imo).

Edit: @Acala
Nice idea, but the more expensive oil becomes, the more profitable it will be to produce oil from places which were originally calculated to be unprofitable, namely fracking. And through this technology, oil can be produced almost everywhere (even in my home country which was completely unthinkable before that).

So scarcity is not an issue for the current generation. Furthermore, we cannot "simply make a switch to alternative technologies", simply for the fact that the oil lobby will not allow it without fighting it with everything they have.
Seriously, if you would be the head of a gigantic company and have to assure your share holders a bright future, we would need to take EVERY step you can take to prevent anybody investing in something differently. It's just pragmatic business to do so...


And a bit offtopic, I do think we can make sane estimates about the future...

More than 6 years ago I predicted 2 things in terms of hardware. First That there will be eventuall technologies that combine the CPU and GPU into one single processor for gaming purposes.
Why that? Originally the GPU was only supposed to be an extra, but became has become a crucial part of a PC, much like the CPU itself. Therefore I saw it only as the logical conclusion that those two technologies will come more closely together to increase efficiency.

Today, we know this technology as APU (from AMD) and it has been used in gaming consoles and budget laptops. Secondly, I predicted that RAM and hard drives will become one technology eventually as well. Intel just recently presented this as extremely-fast, non-voletile Xpoint Ram.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,197 Posts
Oil will last for over a century after supply depletes, in lower volumes. This allows flexibility in terms of switching over technologies to alternatives. Some uses of oil will be difficult to replace, other uses we already have alternative technologies.

However the real problem with peak oil is the impact on climate change. The easiest technical solution to the problem is non-conventional oil. Such as tar sands and shale oil. These types of oils requires high temperatures and significant burning of fuels use to process, they can double to triple the amount of co2 being released per unit of energy.

We don't need oil, the oil lobby needs us.
... Well, actually this is not true since we do need oil for drugs, chemical components and the creation of plastic. However, I am sure we are far enough advanced in terms of technology to overcome those issues with plastic (and maybe can finally replace plastic with something less environmentally hazardous?).
One of the major uses of oil, and one of the more difficult to replace uses is modern agriculture. Today agriculture is based around petrochemicals, and it could be described as an industry that converts oil into food.

Here is a break down of petrochemical derived energy use by the agricultural industry:
· 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer
· 19% for the operation of field machinery
· 16% for transportation
· 13% for irrigation
· 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
· 05% for crop drying
· 05% for pesticide production
· 08% miscellaneous



One must look around their home and count the number of products that are manufactured with petrochemicals. I can assure you it will be almost everything around you. And the car and bus you use to get around. One must then consider that the food you eat is grown with petrochemicals, that is to say our own bodies are largely grown from energy derived from petrochemicals.
The task ahead of us to slowly replace it's use is a monumental one. But we will have many decades to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,309 Posts
Oil shortage is a problem that will solve itself. We have the technology to replace oil completely right now - gasoline can be replaced by ethanol and diesel can be replaced by biodiesel, both of those alternatives are renewable in a way. The alternatives arent any worse either, biodiesel is standardized to be identical to what we've got today and ethanol is actually better than gasoline in terms of octane rating (allows for higher compression and therefore more efficient combustion).

Im not a fan of hydrogen since its volatile, difficult to store and producing it makes little sense. Sure, youve got an excellent fuel and 0 emissions but if the fuel was made through electrolysis, youve used electricity to make it and lost energy in the process. Instead, the electricity could be used to charge an electric car. With electric cars gaining range with every battery improvement, its not likely that hydrogen is going to be a big thing in the future. Producing electricity is simpler as well - production is localized in single facilities and we already have the grid to transport the electricity. Electric cars also have the innate ability to recover kinetic energy which adds to their efficiency. That is why I think electric is going to be the standard for future cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,197 Posts
Oil shortage is a problem that will solve itself. We have the technology to replace oil completely right now - gasoline can be replaced by ethanol and diesel can be replaced by biodiesel, both of those alternatives are renewable in a way. The alternatives arent any worse either, biodiesel is standardized to be identical to what we've got today and ethanol is actually better than gasoline in terms of octane rating (allows for higher compression and therefore more efficient combustion).
Except... both of these are produced agriculturally. Biodiesel is grown with petrochemical fertilisers and diesel powered farming equipment. Hence these are no solution.
Also, in a peak oil world, some oil will need to be reserved for agriculture for food production. It will be foolish to waste agricultural capacity on biodiesel.

Natural gas, hydrogen and battery powered equipment shows more promise.
Hydrogen and batteries are both energy storage technologies. Hydrogen is manufactured using electricity. A battery and hydrogen society will find itself replacing oil with energy derived from electricity production. That means coal, nuclear, solar etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
Oil shortage is a problem that will solve itself. We have the technology to replace oil completely right now - gasoline can be replaced by ethanol and diesel can be replaced by biodiesel, both of those alternatives are renewable in a way. The alternatives arent any worse either, biodiesel is standardized to be identical to what we've got today and ethanol is actually better than gasoline in terms of octane rating (allows for higher compression and therefore more efficient combustion).
Ethanol and biodiesel both use huge amounts of water in the production of these fuels. And 40% of our corn crop in 2012 was used for ethanol. If ethanol is to be a true replacement for gasoline, it needs to be able to be made from sources other than corn and other food products (unless of course we want to see food prices much higher than they are already). There also needs to be a way to reduce the amount of water used in the process. And it's not just the water in the process of making ethanol itself, it's the irrigation of corn fields drawing down groundwater reserves because it's so profitable to grow corn, people are doing more irrigation to grow it in marginal areas (check out the Ogallala aquifer if you'd like to learn more about this issue). If you think oil is a problem now, consider the problems of clean drinking water in 20-50 years. In its current state, ethanol is no where near the answer. Also, ethanol and biodiesel are terrible in the winter in the north.

As for the OP, it doesn't really matter if oil scarcity is a real thing. Even with gas prices as low as they are now, there is still a big push toward renewables that is likely to continue. At some point, the technology for renewables will be able to directly complete with traditional energy production on a broader scale, reducing/limited dependence on the current non-renewable energy sources. I think the bigger challenge with energy as a whole is 1) creating a better "battery" (I use the word battery loosely, it could be another fuel source, just something that can store energy) 2) and improving the electrical distribution system.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ae1905 and EyesOpen

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Interesting Topic, I live in country exporting oil (Algeria) and I consider Oil as a curse, because in wrong hands totalitarian regimes (Like here) have enormous power over everything. Because of Oil most exporting courtiers rely heavily on one recourse and hinder the development of all other aspects of economy. In my country the government rejected a 500 Billion$ Project (DESERTEC) to use solar panel to produce electricity (the projected was initiative of German group of companies led by deutsche bank). Without oil we would suffer for maybe 10 years but the people will survive to live in extremely better place.

By the way the DESERTEC project would end the need for fossil fuel in Europe, the Germans proposed to install all the manufacturing facilities locally and using local man power and expected to drive the economy to the 21st century with a very big push, Sadly it was rejected


desertec_map_copie_1.jpg
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,984 Posts
In my country the government rejected a 500 Billion$ Project (DESERTEC) to use solar panel to produce electricity (the projected was initiative of German group of companies led by deutsche bank).
Disappointing. I think humankind's ability to only focus on the short term small picture is inevitably what will lead to its own death.

Oil shortage is a problem that will solve itself.
It will once it becomes a pressing enough issue for people in power. Unfortunately, at the moment, it is not optimal for people with shorter time horizons to seriously devote resources to switching fuel sources.

Im not a fan of hydrogen since its volatile, difficult to store and producing it makes little sense. Sure, youve got an excellent fuel and 0 emissions but if the fuel was made through electrolysis, youve used electricity to make it and lost energy in the process. Instead, the electricity could be used to charge an electric car. With electric cars gaining range with every battery improvement, its not likely that hydrogen is going to be a big thing in the future. Producing electricity is simpler as well - production is localized in single facilities and we already have the grid to transport the electricity. Electric cars also have the innate ability to recover kinetic energy which adds to their efficiency. That is why I think electric is going to be the standard for future cars.
Absolutely agree. The other thing about electricity production is that it is centralized. If we just have to plug cars etc into a grid, we don't have to worry about inefficient old models being on the market (as such) because as electricity production in plants becomes cleaner and better, the efficiency savings are passed on immediately to the end user.

Secondly, I predicted that RAM and hard drives will become one technology eventually as well. Intel just recently presented this as extremely-fast, non-voletile Xpoint Ram.
I sort of saw this as well, though from a position of less technical know how probably. I did wonder what was so special about the RAM bus that meant we couldn't potentially use that for fast non-volatile memory. Aside from speed, it should also make desktop enclosures much more efficient if you just need more slots on a motherboard and no space for drive bays.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
I haven't studied the peak oil stuff but I suspect it is just another of those Malthusian scarcity 'theories' that time and again have been pulverized by human ingenuity and imagination which continues to create abundance out of seemingly 'scarce' resources. Those who expect the world to end because oil (or food, or minerals, or arable land, or fish stocks etc) will run out are the same kind of people who 5,000 years ago were scared that the copper age would end because humanity would run out of copper
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
I haven't studied the peak oil stuff but I suspect it is just another of those Malthusian scarcity 'theories' that time and again have been pulverized by human ingenuity and imagination which continues to create abundance out of seemingly 'scarce' resources. Those who expect the world to end because oil (or food, or minerals, or arable land, or fish stocks etc) will run out are the same kind of people who 5,000 years ago were scared that the copper age would end because humanity would run out of copper
Yes. I actually read an article a couple years ago by someone proclaiming that the REAL threat to humanity is an iron shortage!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,309 Posts
Except... both of these are produced agriculturally. Biodiesel is grown with petrochemical fertilisers and diesel powered farming equipment. Hence these are no solution.
Also, in a peak oil world, some oil will need to be reserved for agriculture for food production. It will be foolish to waste agricultural capacity on biodiesel.
Youre overestimating how much fuel a tractor/harvester uses and underestimating agricultural capacity of the whole world. Biodiesel can be produced from pure vegetable oil, used cooking oil and algae. The last option requires minimal space and is only limited by sunlight.

Natural gas, hydrogen and battery powered equipment shows more promise.
Hydrogen and batteries are both energy storage technologies. Hydrogen is manufactured using electricity. A battery and hydrogen society will find itself replacing oil with energy derived from electricity production. That means coal, nuclear, solar etc.
Why natural gas and hydrogen? Why not pure electricity for passenger cars and diesel for trucks, buses and ships?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,309 Posts
Ethanol and biodiesel both use huge amounts of water in the production of these fuels. And 40% of our corn crop in 2012 was used for ethanol. If ethanol is to be a true replacement for gasoline, it needs to be able to be made from sources other than corn and other food products (unless of course we want to see food prices much higher than they are already). There also needs to be a way to reduce the amount of water used in the process. And it's not just the water in the process of making ethanol itself, it's the irrigation of corn fields drawing down groundwater reserves because it's so profitable to grow corn, people are doing more irrigation to grow it in marginal areas (check out the Ogallala aquifer if you'd like to learn more about this issue). If you think oil is a problem now, consider the problems of clean drinking water in 20-50 years.
Sounds like corn isnt a great way to produce ethanol.

In its current state, ethanol is no where near the answer. Also, ethanol and biodiesel are terrible in the winter in the north.
Why are they terrible? Both absorb water as far as I remember, Ive heard filling up all the way whenever possible minimizes condensation. Storing either fuel is not a long term option either because of the same reason.


I probably wasnt clear on where I think ethanol/biodiesel should be used: not on new cars but on older models on the road today that were designed to run gas/diesel. New cars should be electric.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21,040 Posts
Oil is not a renewable resource so is irreversibly depleted as it is consumed. The question of a "peak" depends on total rerserves which depends on exploration and technological innovation, both of which are ongoing. So it probably isn't known with any certainty if we've reached a peak. And it may be moot. If new sources of energy are developed that supplant oil then a peak may never be reached. For example, did we ever reach "peak wood"? Or did coal replace wood and make the whole question of the supply of wood a meaningless one?

I suspect alternatives to oil will be developed before we run out of oil.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
Why are they terrible? Both absorb water as far as I remember, Ive heard filling up all the way whenever possible minimizes condensation. Storing either fuel is not a long term option either because of the same reason.


I probably wasnt clear on where I think ethanol/biodiesel should be used: not on new cars but on older models on the road today that were designed to run gas/diesel. New cars should be electric.
From Wikipedia:
High ethanol blends present a problem to achieve enough vapor pressure for the fuel to evaporate and spark the ignition during cold weather (since ethanol tends to increase fuel enthalpy of vaporization. When vapor pressure is below 45 kPa starting a cold engine becomes difficult. To avoid this problem at temperatures below 11 °C (52 °F)), and to reduce ethanol higher emissions during cold weather, both the US and the European markets adopted E85 as the maximum blend to be used in their flexible fuel vehicles, and they are optimized to run at such a blend. At places with harsh cold weather, the ethanol blend in the US has a seasonal reduction to E70 for these very cold regions, though it is still sold as E85.

Long story short: If it's cold, your car doesn't want to start. To avoid this, get a block heater (which is all well and good if there are places to plug in, but they are not common everywhere).

And I agree, electric cars are the future, but we need a better battery before that can happen. Having a range of 30-50 miles before needing a charge is fine for people who use those cars for commuting to and from work, but until you can devise a way to either quickly swap batteries, get relatively instant charges, or a much larger range, electric cars aren't going to replace current vehicles (especially semis). Perhaps a better system which would take a lot of investment (and frankly, at this point, switching to any kind of new fuel would be a pretty big investment), would be to energize roadways. You wouldn't need to energize every road, just high capacity roads that most traffic drives on. Vehicles would still have an on-board battery that would charge when plugged in or while driving on these energized roads. When switching off an energized road, the vehicle automatically switches to battery backup.

I can see some promise in cellulosic ethanol, though more as a stopgap rather than a real longterm solution. I could see algae especially being an option. If they grow in varying environments well, we could grow algae at waste water treatment plants, stormwater ponds, and cooling ponds for power plants. The algae could remove excess nitrogen and phosphorus from the water prior to water being discharged back into surface waters, partially solving two problems at once. They've also looked at switch grass for potential cellulosic ethanol sources, and that could be promising as well, encouraging farmers to plant buffer strips in marginal areas that would still be profitable and would improve water quality by reducing run off from farm fields and removing excess nutrients. An added bonus would be providing habitat for wildlife.

As a global society, we need to get a heck of a lot smarter about how we deal with resource management as a whole, not just energy. The next 20-50 years is going to be pretty interesting seeing how these challenges are met.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Skeletalz

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Economically, running out of oil is not likely to be catastrophic because the price will go up steadily as we extract the oil that's easy to get to and move on to reserves that are more and more expensive to extract. As the price goes up, people will find ways to use less or switch to an alternative. Fuel is one of the biggest uses and we do have alternatives for most things: heating (electric), cars (electric, ethanol, hydrogen), trains (electric). The exceptions I can think of are boats (though nuclear submarines exist, so I guess that could be an alternative) and airplanes.

The bigger problem is the environment. Economically, there's nothing to stop us from using most of the earth's oil, natural gas, and coal until the alternatives become cheaper. But it would be terrible for the planet in terms of air pollution, water pollution, and climate change. I've seen some interesting proposals for a carbon tax and dividend system that would be like a combined pollution tax and wealth redistribution scheme. Unfortunately, I think it has virtually no chance of passing in the US because the oil companies have so much influence. Maybe some Scandinavian country will try it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,309 Posts
From Wikipedia:
High ethanol blends present a problem to achieve enough vapor pressure for the fuel to evaporate and spark the ignition during cold weather (since ethanol tends to increase fuel enthalpy of vaporization. When vapor pressure is below 45 kPa starting a cold engine becomes difficult. To avoid this problem at temperatures below 11 °C (52 °F)), and to reduce ethanol higher emissions during cold weather, both the US and the European markets adopted E85 as the maximum blend to be used in their flexible fuel vehicles, and they are optimized to run at such a blend. At places with harsh cold weather, the ethanol blend in the US has a seasonal reduction to E70 for these very cold regions, though it is still sold as E85.

Long story short: If it's cold, your car doesn't want to start. To avoid this, get a block heater (which is all well and good if there are places to plug in, but they are not common everywhere).
Cant that be solved with higher injection pressures (direct injection), more accurate injection timing or glowplugs to heat the incoming air?

If the fuel is injected right before ignition then it wouldnt have the time to form drops (which is the problem from what I understand).

Higher pressure would make the fuel atomize better and the glowplugs could warm up the air that the engine is drawing in, creating conditions inside the cylinder that are similar to a hotter outside temperature, kind of like a diesel. After that all it takes is a few successful combustion cycles to warm up the cylinder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
Cant that be solved with higher injection pressures (direct injection), more accurate injection timing or glowplugs to heat the incoming air?

If the fuel is injected right before ignition then it wouldnt have the time to form drops (which is the problem from what I understand).

Higher pressure would make the fuel atomize better and the glowplugs could warm up the air that the engine is drawing in, creating conditions inside the cylinder that are similar to a hotter outside temperature, kind of like a diesel. After that all it takes is a few successful combustion cycles to warm up the cylinder.
Honestly, I don't enough enough about combustion engines to comment one way or another. I think cars can be tuned to use E85 blends, but even in the winter, they reduce the amount of ethanol in the blend to something like E70. Regardless, combustion engines are highly inefficient with most of the energy lost to heat. As I said before, if we can build a better "battery" that is quick to "charge", electric cars will take over and gasoline, ethanol, and combustion engines in cars will be a thing of the past.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Skeletalz

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,309 Posts
Noice, Ive seen that article a while back. I think that method has potential since there shouldnt be as much byproducts in the fuel like soaps or glycerin, meaning it should burn cleaner and not produce as much soot
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top