Excess Oil Profits or Healthy Economies?
Oil prices are moving upwards. Economies across the world are slowing. We must stop the slowing of economies and find alternatives to halt price increases of engine fuels. Only one single solution promises success. We must begin to produce petroleum substitutes from biomass. There is one major constraint. We must never utilize arable lands for energy production. Therefore, we must learn to grow energy rich biomass on arid lands.
Market prices for petroleum are moving upwards. This movement can be stopped only when alternate liquid fuels will become available in large quantities. OPEC (Organization of Oil Exporting Countries) controls and sets global prices for petroleum.
US oil companies follow the OPEC price lead gladly and are reaping excessive profits. Available petroleum reserves are being depleted at a rapid pace. Demand is overtaking supplies. Discoveries of new petroleum deposits are plummeting. Excessive prices for transportation fuels will lead to economic hardships and eventual economic collapse. World economies must find alternate liquid fuel supplies or they will self-destruct.
Remaining petroleum reserves are estimated at 1.3 to 2.3 trillion barrels. These reserves can only last 25 to 50 years at consumption rates that will exceed 50 billion barrels per year on an average for the next fifty years. This huge consumption will add more than 100 ppm of carbon dioxide to the Earth's atmosphere, which is already overloaded.
Transportation fuels are the lifeblood of modern economies. Foods, goods, and commodities must be transported to reach consumers. Short interruptions in transportation lead to economic crises. Long-term interruptions lead unavoidably to economic disasters and collapses. Governments and industries have not been able to develop sensible solutions for secure, future fuel supplies.
Many options for extending or replacing petroleum and its many refinery products have been proposed. Finding new petroleum deposits, making petroleum substitutes from coal or oil shale, producing ethanol from food crops, producing hydrogen using nuclear power, legislating "Cap and Trade" policies, and demanding strict energy conservation measures have been suggested. None of these energy supply options can withstand closer scrutiny and analysis.
If none of these popular proposals is acceptable in the final analysis, is there any solution left that can be developed in time, can be used for several centuries, will not slow global economies, and will in fact accelerate economic growth for all the world's countries?
Only one single option for saving our world from economic collapse exists. We must learn how to convert solar energy into liquid fuels and we must prevent the use of precious, limited, fertile lands that produce food crops, feed livestock, or grow forests. We must learn how to grow and breed high energy yield plants, plants that have high energy contents and produce large amounts of biomass on a single acre of land.
Additionally, we must find energy conversion processes that convert biomass into petroleum substitutes and we must modify existing refinery techniques to produce liquid motor fuels from biotic petroleum substitutes. None of these process steps is utopian. All of them can be developed and tested on a large scale in less than two decades.
The benefits of such an approach are manifold and exceptional. The world will be enabled to produce affordable, plentiful, and secure liquid fuels for centuries. Competition between food and energy producers for fertile lands is not necessary and must be outlawed. The continued use of the world's inventory of combustion engines installed in automobiles, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes is assured. The world's facilities for oil refining and fuel distribution can be used without major changes. A seamless transition from a fossil fuel dominated economies to solar based economies is entirely possible. Millions of new jobs across the globe will be created. Nobody loses, most people win.
How can we create this new, exciting future, how can we prepare for it, how can we implement it?
The world's future critically depends on the achievement of several well defined objectives and tasks. None of the necessary tasks seems to be excessively difficult; none of the tasks is in conflict with established science or with established economic conventions. How do we proceed?
Only the USA is capable of leading the world in developing renewable, liquid fuels. The US must lead by example. The US has all the prerequisite facilities, lands, technologies, scientists, and engineers. Above all, the US must find political leaders with intelligence, vision, and independence.
The US must establish a single mission agency, the Energy Independence Agency. This agency must be charged with developing a range of techniques for producing liquid transportation fuels from biomass and converting solar energy into liquid fuels that can be stored and distributed globally.
The introduction of this new energy technology can be accelerated by inviting the rest of the world to cooperate. This proposal will find many opponents. OPEC and oil interests will be the most powerful and most vociferous adversaries. Other challengers will come from the agricultural community, from scientists and from diverse political, financial, and environmentalist interest groups.
However, antagonists must remember that the world is facing an existential threat. If we do not find a way to effectively and conclusively deal with the approaching transportation fuel shortage, we will destroy economies and cultures. We cannot turn back the clock. We must deal with the situation we are facing today. We must resolve threatening global issues within less than three decades. We must assure the continuing growth of economies, we must stop global warming and climate change, and we must prepare the world for a major increase of its population. We must act very soon or the Earth as we know it will cease to exist.
Future generations will thank us for our efforts and for our concern for their wellbeing.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Hemsath recently published the book: CLIMATE CHANGE - GOLD RUSH OR DISASTER? For 50 years he has worked as scientist, process engineer, Director of R&D, Corporate Vice President of R&D, Company President, CEO, and Inventor. He holds more than 60 US Patents. He is now working on a new book: "THE 100 % SOLUTION FOR ENDING GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE". See his website: Stopping Global Warming and Climate Change" at http://www.thermalexpert.com