Oil and Sustainability. Charles A. S. Hall SUNY ESF January 31, 2013. What are humanity’s critical resources ?. Water Energy (including food) Soil Breathable air. ). 33 HP animal power (controlled by 5 workers plus Land for feed, Human work, Water and soil, Stables.
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Oil and Sustainability
Charles A. S. Hall
January 31, 2013
What are humanity’s critical resources ?
Energy (including food)
33 HP animal power (controlled by 5 workers plus
Land for feed, Human work, Water and soil, Stables
200 HP mechanical power (controlled by 1 worker)
The Epoch of Fossil Fuel Exploitation
(after Hubbert, 1969)
Trillion kwh per year
Villagers Su Jia Hong, 69, and Yan Man Bairen, 74, stand on the edge of the six-mile-wide toxic lake in Baotou, China that has devastated their farmland and ruined the health of the people in their community
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html#ixzz2L0RHvIogFollow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
As every beer drinker knows:
“Glass starts full, and ends empty”
How has this self-evident reality been concealed ?
Peak oil? Then Peak petroleum? (Courtesy of Colin Campbell)
Oil Problem II. Declining EROI
Technology is real and important. But so is depletion
The integral of their effects is reflected in EROI
EROI: Origin of concept
We used Yield per Effort concepts from fisheries…..
IV. We have a lot of new information about EROI
1. We have many studies now that are based on physical data 2. These studies tend to be consistent with our earlier studies 3. All show relatively high but declining EROI for conventional fuels and low but occasionally increasing values for e.g. new solar4. All show decreasing EROI when effort is high
Special issue of Sustainability on EROI:
declining growth rate of US GDP
Systems science has often been concerned with STABILITY
4. Every recession since 1970 has been preceded by a spike in the price of oil
McKinsey GEM, 2010 using IEA, Wood Mackenzie, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
Why is this the case?
Why is the economic growth in the US (and OECD and maybe the world) slowing down?
Are we just in an economic downturn or are we on a slope?
Average EROI for gas wells in Indiana County Pennsylvania. It is an EROI for gas at the well head only.
EROI - tight gas wells in Appalachia
Scope of the problem.
This concentrator photovoltaic collector can generate 138 kilowatt-hours per day, half the energy consumption
of an average American.
So I hope to have shown you that:
The evolution of human society has been mostly about sequestering more energy
That additional energy has allowed the human population to grow
That fossil fuels, and especially oil, are the main reason that human numbers and economies have grown
Human societies cannot possibly be sustainable at anything like our present level without a large flow of cheap (i.e. high EROI) energy
That the availability of oil in the immediate future is of considerable concern
That this may be our greatest issue related to sustainability of humans and civilization
As far as I know it I and my students are about the only to think about this.
My final professional goal
Thanks to the Santa Barbara Family Foundation
Another way of looking at the same data