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 user 2005-08-31 at 10:15:00 am Views: 50
  • #12544

    Energy Consumption: Return of the Dark Ages?

    The future of Oil Production

    The presentation, by
    Martin Sereno, of the UCSD Cognitive Science Department, is a series of
    charts and analysis that clearly point out future declining oil
    production – and its consequences.

    Obviously, the accelerating pace of fossil fuel use by an expanding and
    increasingly industrialized global population is a disturbing factor.
    Professor Sereno, and science in general, see fossil fuels as a finite
    resource. One day we will run short, then, perhaps, run out.
    Environmental concerns aside, the economic impact has the potential to
    be devastating to energy-dependent nations like the U.S. Sereno’s
    presentation details the supplies available, a likely time frame for
    their exhaustion, and possible courses of action to mitigate the

    Basic Energy Facts Everybody Should Know
    • oil and gasoline are extremely energy-dense & convenient
    • a car is a 100,000 watt device (accelerating a 100 hp car
    is like turning on 1,000 one hundred watt light bulbs)
    • manufacturing a car uses almost as much oil as the car
    uses in its entire lifetime (also: 100,000 gallons of water)
    • one gallon of gas (2.84 kg) contains 36 kW-hours of energy
    (before losses), enough to power a small house for a week
    • batteries have low energy-density (Prius NiMH battery is
    ! 0.07 kW-hours/kg – 1/45 that of 25%-efficiency-gasoline)
    • solar radiation is ubiquitous but has very low energy density
    • a “one kilowatt” photocell covers 100 sq feet and generates
    3-4 kW-hours of usable power per day (=about 1/10 gal.
    gasoline); must be used as generated or stored with loss
    • the deployed military is 70% fossil fuel by weight
    • current per capita US energy use: 250 kWh/day

    Summary of the Main Difficulties

    • total oil used since 1850 – about 1000 billion barrels (Gb)
    • total world reserves remaining – about 1000 billion barrels
    • percent oil currently in use discovered before 1973 – 70%
    • time left, current world usage (29 billion/year) – 33 years
    • time left, US uses only oil still left in US fields – 3 years
    • time left, US grabs/uses all of Iraq’s oil for itself – 15 years
    • time left, whole world uses oil at US’s current rate – 6 years
    • percent US oil used in food production (not including
    packaging, refrigeration, trucking, cooking) – 25%
    • physical human work equivalent of energy used to generate
    US diet for 1 person, 1 day – 3 weeks
    • oil in US strategic reserves (0.66 billion) – 1 month US use
    • percent world oil used by non-US-ians – 75% and growing