US National Academies Workshop on Peak Oil (DC, 10/05)
View PDFs of these talks while listening to my audio recordings of industry reps, geologists, and economists presentations on "peaking" of the world's oil supply flow, and how effectively other hydrocarbons could be scaled up to mitigate this supply constriction.
|Play this intro if you wish ...||
UNC/Duke Robertson Seminars on Energy in Transition
2005 lectures by Robert Hirsch (Mitigation of Peak Oil), Andrew Weissman (North American Natural Gas Crisis), Matt Simmons (How Do We Dig Ourselves Out of Our Energy Hole?), and other analysts. 2006 lectures
Some of my Talks on Peak Oil
2010 poster with PHYS 071 students on Peak Oil and transport in the Carolinas
In the plots that you will generate, historical energy usage patterns in the USA through 2005 are extrapolated to 2040 with ASPO's oil depletion curve controlling the decline rate of that energy source. You control the exponential growth/decline rates in our use of the other energy sources, adjusted once each decade to reflect market penetration. (This delay attempts to introduce asset inertia into the model.) Adjust the values however you want, but THINK HOW you can justify your choices. Jump down to the simulator or continue reading.
The natural gas default domestic figure is from the EIA 2005 Midterm Update (slide 12), whose Base Production category seems to lump conventional depletion of USA fields and Canadian imports together! It is kept flat until 2015 by producing up to 0.35 trillion ft3 of shale gas domestically, followed by Alaskan depletion to 2040.
Beyond Oil (1991) by Gever et al estimated that by 2020 without growth in consumption, USA coal would have too low an Energy Returned over Energy Invested (ERoEI) to be worth mining; to handle technical improvements since their study, I increase the peak to 2025 and drop coal extraction by 1% annually thereafter.
The default USA domestic oil curve assumes that ANWR and adjacent areas are drilled.
The nuclear entry is fission at 91% of rated capacity. Plutonium production is for all grades (weapons and reactor grades) in a uranium/MOX, not thorium, based fuel cycle without breeders and is scaled from US stock of 502 tons in 2005. Nuclear reactor construction must first replace the 4% annual decline from decommisioned reactors as their license extensions start to expire.
The thumbnail output image at left shows how simulation results are reported. You will see not only the fuel mix at various times (top left), but also what the consumption implies in terms of operating power plants (right) and plutonium produced. (Eventually I'll include the running total of emitted CO2 and its atmospheric concentration in parts per million, scaled assuming that other countries use an energy mix identical to that of the USA. The red CO2 curve will assume an enhanced natural/human CO2 drawdown/sequestration of 3 Gigatonnes of carbon per 100 ppm increase in gas concentration, as justified here at (TheOilDrum.com).)
These numbers are reported in comprehensible units where possible. For example, solar energy generation is reported in millions of 1 kWe (rooftop) installations, both solar thermal and PV. A PV installation today produces at most 20% of its rated value, so this represents at least 33 150W panels in the real world (and a $20 billion investment per million rooftops for PV, 1/10 this for thermal). Similarly for wind, the experience of e.g. Denmark, is that wind facilities have so far delivered only 17% of their rated capacity; I boost this to 25% for the simulations, assuming that we site this hardware optimally. Biofuel production cannot be increased until after 2025 because current biofuels consume at least as much fuel as they produce. Geothermal and hydro aren't adjustable because they can't grow significantly.
A blue curve on the top plot shows relative per capita energy consumption. The pie charts at bottom right show the fuel mix and per capita (LO) energy available in 2003 vs. 2040. Vehicular mobility consumes much of the former, and perhaps of the latter.
Finally, at bottom left the implications on vehicle mileage are reported, with power hungry military+airlines+trucks separated from cars+vans+SUV's. The default values assume that the LO population maintains its 2001-level of personal mobility (same 2001 miles per capita driven annually thereafter). You can adjust this from zero growth/decline with the Tripmiles rate.
For each of the following, update the average rate of change over
each decade by clicking in the appropriate row in the white area
and then backspacing/overtyping the revised number. (An abbreviation
for constant growth is to enter the number of decades followed by *
then the constant growth rate e.g. 3*2.5 == 2.5,2.5,2.5 ) Then press PLOT
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|Fuel Source: 2004-10,11-20,21-30,31-40|
In the bottom rows at left you can tweak the conversion efficiencies of various evolving technologies. The "Extra MB daily" field can be used to explore the implications of the Hirsch et al maximum effort to mitigate shortage of liquid fuels developed under a DOE contract. In brief, they calculate that (5,10,15) years after GO worldwide an additional (2.5,13,22) million barrels daily of crude could come from gas-to-liquids, coal liquefaction, and heavy and shale oil deposits (we consider improved mpg separately). Cutting these to 24% to apply just to the USA you can enter 0,0,1,4 assuming the GO decision for a crash program occurs soon after 2020. You can also use this field to add/subtract MBs from the market depending on the whims of OPEC and the White House.
Please bear in mind that the default values for the plots are based on optimistic assessments of available supplies because they assume that the USA will be able to retain its current global fraction of oil+natural gas even though those resources that remain to consume are increasingly in foreign lands and are coveted by others. It also assumes rational response to declining supplies of oil and natural gas! It is possible (likely?) based on past practice that fuels will be used inefficiently, for example burning precious primary liquid fuels to make biofuels or hydrogen to consume in a hypothetical fleet of fuel cell vehicles.Comments, suggestions for enhancements, and bug reports please to email@example.com unique visitors since revision of 2/9/05. Revised again in 4/2013.