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  •  Some of the data indicate (11+ / 0-)

    That peak oil may have happened in 2005 - others put it out just past 2020, but not matter what, the average difficulty of extraction gets harder each year, which means rising prices and scarcity.

    •  yeah, different definitions (8+ / 0-)

      I've seen some say peak conventional oil was 2005, as was peak net exports of liquid fuels, both on a yearly basis; peak conventional oil on a monthly basis may have been 2008.  Peak oil including syncrude may have been 2010 or 2011 but we won't know for a few more years, and peak all liquid fuels seems likely to be 2011-2015, but it's not clear yet.

      It's the peak net exports among all these that's the killer, and it's probably the least understood.  I'm waiting for the day (that probably won't come) when Jeffrey Brown gets to write a column in a major newspaper explaining it.

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 08:50:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Peak Oil or Peak Net Oil? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barath, G2geek, Matt Z, radarlady, A Siegel

        Checking out this graphic from Do the Math (thanks barath for the link, a different article than you cited)

        There is a succession of available and progressively more expensive (and lower EROEI) liquid fuels.  The total volume of available fuel is huge compared to consumption to date.

        I can see a scenario where peak oil does not appear to have occurred because the gross production may plateau or even increase doe to extraordinary effort, but the disguised peak oil is a peak of net oil, being:

        (Energy value of extracted fuel) - (Energy for extraction)

        Is Peak Net Oil a term that is in use?

        Oil Resources

        We shall not participate in our own destruction.

        by James Wells on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:45:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've seen peak net energy from oil as a term (5+ / 0-)
          I can see a scenario where peak oil does not appear to have occurred because the gross production may plateau or even increase doe to extraordinary effort, but the disguised peak oil is a peak of net oil, being:

          This is theoretically possible---that higher prices will bring more oil out of the ground from poorer quality sources (tar sands, shale, synfuels, etc.).  Most projections I've seen of peak oil end up finding that it really comes down to flow rates of:

          1. Existing fields and their production decline rates.

          2. Planned megaprojects and their projected rates. (See here for a list of planned megaprojects.)

          On balance the geologists I've seen analyze these have concluded that in the next couple of years we won't have enough new megaprojects any more to substitute for the loss of existing production.  (Chris Skrebowski does a nice analysis of this.)  And in the longer run, a 2-3% annual global production decline rate from existing fields (which is a pretty conservative number) would basically require finding and bring up to max rate a new Canadian tar sands every year.  I'm not sure despite all the reserves that exist that it'd be physically (let alone economically) possible do that.

          contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

          by barath on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:06:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  not to mention the climate impact. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            barath, A Siegel

            A number of climate scientists are on record saying that if we go for oil shale extraction in a big way, we're fucked.  

            Ultimately that's what the fight over that Canadian pipeline comes down to.  

            OTOH:

            NASA just went on record saying that they have produced results that support LNER (low-energy nuclear reactions, aka "cold fusion"), and that it will change the world.  And while any such announcement should be met with appropriate skepticism, it still has much rhetorical value when combined with news of other clean power sources, for example advances in photovoltaic materials, to demonstrate that we do not have to rely on carbon-based fuels.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 12:47:53 AM PST

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            •  I was looking at their LENR stuff (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, radarlady, A Siegel

              I'm a little confused by it.  I don't have it in front of me right now, but was I reading it right that the guy who NASA had working on it wasn't really a domain expert in nuclear?

              I do generally give quite a bit of credence to something out of NASA.  The question is whether this is an interesting scientific curiosity or whether it's something that actually has some near-term energy production viability.  I guess we'll hear more soon, but so far the only non NASA sites covering it were slightly questionable blogs.

              contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

              by barath on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 12:55:06 AM PST

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              •  it's not clear to me either. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                barath, radarlady, A Siegel

                From what I was able to figure out, it appears they have some empirical basis to say that there is at least one route to successful LNER.  

                I don't know about the credentials of the person who was quoted.  

                If I had to guess, I would say that there are probably some interesting findings, but nothing to suggest near-term viability as an energy source.  

                In any case, my general rule for these things is:  Make plans only on the basis of what is presently viable.  What do we have right now that works?  Use that.  

                And on that basis we can lick the climate crisis right now, if we have the will.

                Everything else goes in the R&D category with appropriate financial support, until there is a viable demonstration of something that can be scaled up to commercial level.  

                However for rhetorical value, I also lump together a bunch of the theoretical stuff and point to it as "energy sources of the future."  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 01:22:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ok, found a little more on LENR (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek

                  From the NASA scientist's personal blog:

                  When considered in aggregate I believe excess power has been demonstrated. I did not say, reliable, useful, commercially viable, or controllable.  If any of those other terms were applicable I would have used them instead. If anything, it is the lack of a single clear demonstration of reliable, useful, and controllable production of excess power that has held LENR research back. As a non-technical piece aimed at the general public, my limited media training has taught me that less information/detail is generally better than more. I did not produce or direct the video. While I saw the video before it was released, I did not learn of it’s release until the email started pouring in Thursday morning.

                  There have been many attempts to twist the release of this video into NASA’s support for LENR or as proof that Rossi’s e-cat really works. Many extraordinary claims have been made in 2010. In my scientific opinion, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I find a distinct absence of the latter. So let me be very clear here. While I personally find sufficient demonstration that LENR effects warrant further investigation, I remain skeptical. Furthermore, I am unaware of any clear and convincing demonstrations of any viable commercial device producing useful amounts of net energy.

                  contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

                  by barath on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 08:32:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  O.M.G. I shared an office with Joe Zawodny (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    barath

                    He is an atmospheric scientist at Langley.  He has no experience in this area.

                    Don't propagate this stuff.

                    "Don't dream it, be it" - Brad, Janet and Frank

                    by captainlaser on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 09:07:36 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Interesting, great. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      G2geek

                      Well that matches what I had read (as I commented above) about the scientist in question not being a domain expert.  Thanks for the confirmation.

                      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

                      by barath on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 09:17:52 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  oh I'd say it's OK to propagate, just as long as.. (0+ / 0-)

                      .... it comes along with the usual precautionary notes to maintain healthy skepticism and not expect any applications any time soon.

                      Though I will admit to a certain mischievous hope that various apparent anomalies prove out, if for no other reason than the fact that such findings would push the boundaries of theory.

                      For example apparently-FTL neutrinos: I don't think they're likely, but I have to grin just a bit about the idea that a whole new area of physics could open up if the pesky little buggers persist.

                      The key to all of this is to not go investing one's "self" in apparent magic and miracles.  We won't get runaway climate change if we don't have LNER, ZPE, and so on: we still have solar, wind, and nuclear fission.  We can solve our problems using existing technologies, if we'd just get off our asses and use them for all they're worth.  

                      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                      by G2geek on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 10:31:04 PM PST

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                  •  he seems reasonable, and it looks like convergence (0+ / 0-)

                    Looks like we're all convergent here: interesting, probably some empirical results, no clear path to applications right now, and healthy skepticism is still in order.  

                    Understood he's not speaking from within his specific expertise.

                    And I also understand well how theory sometimes gets mistranslated into wild ideas for applications that aren't going to work (I knew Bernie Haisch, co-developer of the zero-point theory of inertial mass, from which came a bunch of wild garage inventors seeking "over-unity" energy devices).  

                    So this is about what I expected.

                    And amidst all the hype, something important gets missed:

                    This is going to be really interesting in terms of physical theory.  Not a revolution by any means, but a start in a direction that hasn't been explored a whole lot yet, and that always means interesting theoretical implications.

                    Too bad Zawodny turned off comments, I wouldn't mind just saying "You're OK, don't worry about all the wild-eyed crazies, I understood what you were trying to say the first time.  As did many who are at least reasonably scientifically literate."

                    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                    by G2geek on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 10:22:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Can you post the link to NASA? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              I know that DOE and Northrop-Grumman are still working on deuterium soaking of palladium and platinum as a way of getting low temperature nuclear events.  

              However, from what I have seen this could only be used as a seed to a fusion reaction... it cannot be sustained in platinum nor does it generate more than a few free electrons which give a current.

              "Don't dream it, be it" - Brad, Janet and Frank

              by captainlaser on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 09:05:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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