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
King HubbertAmerica’s greatest Scientist? • Geophysicist at the Shell lab in Houston, Texas • In 1956, he wrote a paper with predictions for the peak year of US oil production
The Epoch of Fossil Fuel Exploitation (after Hubbert, 1969) 300 200 Trillion kwh per year 100 +5 +1 2 +3 -1 +4 -5 -4 -3 0 -2 Mayan Steam culture Stonehenge Built Parthenon Engine completed Pyramids “Hubbert’s pimple” Iron in constructed Black Middle Death East Inquisition Magellan's Circumnavigation
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
Depletion is Easy to Grasp As every beer drinker knows: “Glass starts full, and ends empty” • The quicker you drink it, the sooner it is gone • The same principle applies to oil and gas How has this self-evident reality been concealed ? • It is so obviousyet it is a DEVASTATING REALISATION
Oil Problem II. Declining EROI Technology is real and important. But so is depletion The integral of their effects is reflected in EROI
1981 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:
Energetic cost of petroleum production in Norway in 1991 – 2008. Leena Grandell
The evidence: declining growth rate of US GDP
4. Every recession since 1970 has been preceded by a spike in the price of oil
Break-Even Cost 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.