The peak oil crisis: technology update

All this new technology seems to say there may be some hope for life after oil. For now the two biggies seem to be cold fusion and cheap hydrogen, but neither of these are as yet sure for the immediate future. It seems likely we are going to have much more efficient motor vehicle within the next 10 years and probably longer range electric vehicles. There might even be enough biofuels to run our airplanes.

The hydrogen dream

Cesare Marchetti proposed hydrogen (H2) as a large-scale energy vector almost fifty years ago. The main concern then was to find a simple way to feed transport systems with what seemed to be a fountain of energy about to come from the expanding nuclear park. The nuclear dream is largely gone, but hydrogen lives on. Is this dream about to come true as a piece in the transition puzzle to a post-fossil fuel world? That’s what I was expecting to find out at a renewable energy / efficiency conference the University of Lorrain.

Review: Life Without Oil by Steve Hallett With John Wright

“Imagining a world without oil” describes in stark detail what might happen if one day the world decided to decommission all its oil tankers, rigs, pipelines and strategic reserves. The authors, environmental scientist Steve Hallett and journalist John Wright, expect that we’d initially see sky-high prices and long lines at pumps. After a few weeks, fuel wouldn’t be had at any price and even first-world citizens would struggle to stay fed and out of the elements. This is no Hollywood doomsday scenario—it’s a levelheaded extrapolation from current trends in the fast deteriorating world energy situation. [An essay prefiguring the book originally appeared in The Washington Post.]