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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Barrel, Fish, Shoot

An abstract from 2003
The Global Energy Outlook for the 21st Century
Lecture by Peter R. Odell, Professor Emeritus of International Energy Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Wassenaar 21 May 2003
Fossil fuel use since 1970 has been much below expectations at that time. Consequently, proven reserves have expanded to an all-time high. These provide a secure base for supply growth of coal, oil and gas. Collectively their present 90% share of global energy use will decline very slowly, viz. near 80% by mid-century and still over 50% by 2080.

Conventional expectations for coal’s growth are unrealistic. ....
Finally, what if oil and gas are NOT fossil fuels? As argued by the inorganic origin theorists of the Former Soviet Union – home of the world’s largest hydrocarbons industry. Enormous implications follow from oil and gas being renewable resources. All concerns for “scarcity” would be undermined and future oil and gas supplies at stable or falling costs could be guaranteed.

Peter R. Odell
May 2003

The lecture notes and slides associated with this abstract contain the main talking points of (1) They (peak oil alarmists) have been wrong before (2) Just look at how big the numbers continue to be and (3) Market forces will help dramatically to forestall future problems. OK, we have heard this framing before, but then at the end he starts accelerating downhill.

The closing paragraph of the lecture notes and the slide postscript creates a big opening for criticism. The argument: If the esteemed professor volunteers up the questionable theory of oil and gas being produced though an abiotic process, why does he not say the same about coal. After all, he spends a good deal of time pontificating on the subject of coal, but doesn't seem to understand that coal, natural gas, oil, tar sands, etc all exist on a continuum of process, namely arising as fossil fuels. Each variation of fuel created by vegetation compressed by different amounts of pressure. Basically, if he ever admits that coal is abiotic (e.g. has this guy ever seen how charcoal is produced?), then he has just stepped on the slippery slope.

In other words, coal has never been offered up as an abiotic (i.e. no vegetation involved) creation, yet it fits as a fossil fuel candidate perfectly. It just doesn't make sense that the other variations of fossil fuel would just magically percolate from the bowels of the earth, while coal remains of biological origin.


Professor Blogger DarkSyde said...

It's really almost comical that we're scrapping over beds of decayed organic rot for energy, when we live on a molten ball of liquid rock and metal orbiting a fusion reacting converting hundreds of millions of tons of H into He every second.

5:17 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

But where does the Sun dispose of all its waste products? :)

8:20 AM  
Professor Blogger DarkSyde said...

Where does the Sun dispose of all it's waste products?I'm not sure what you mean. If you mean a source for commercial hydrogen, I'd look to the Lunar regolith or some other airless body.
The primary waste product is neutrinos of course, and there's not much we can do with those.

2:26 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

You did not see the smiley. If you were to take the bait, you would have said Yucca Mountain, that's where we store the waste :) :)

8:11 PM  

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