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What happens when we don't need oil?

  1. Jan 28, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    With this https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=108344 and other promising technologies coming along, I am greatly encouraged that a true solution [set of solutions] to the energy problem is near. How will world politics be changed as the world's oil economy is displaced by a wind, solar, tide, and nuclear powered hydrogen economy https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=29373 [or whatever form that you think it will take]?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2006
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  3. Jan 28, 2006 #2

    arildno

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    Norway gets broke..:frown:
     
  4. Jan 28, 2006 #3
    Good question, Ivan. I don't know how feasible this situation will be in the near future given the financial interests of the present owners of the global oil corporations; I think fossil fuels will be the primary source of energy until that cow has been 'milked dry' of profits, and the next step is to make massive profits out of nuclear energy (that seems to me to be the way things are going, based on various readings I have done).

    Alternative sources of energy will only be seriously considered once the above sources of profit are depleted. Then, what I think will happen is the Middle East will still be a hotly-contested region because of its location (strategic/military reasons), but of course the current oil-producing countries will lose much of their power (such as it is).

    But I don't think any of this will happen because the way things are going, with the current ruthless pursuit of profits by big capital, humanity is facing annihilation (the nuclear 'option') - and the pity is, all other species will also be wiped out in the process. Sorry, you did ask what we *think*:uhh:
     
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  5. Jan 28, 2006 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    I'm not so sure that the oil companies can do much about this. For example, assuming that the technology really works as well as claimed, just about any decent engineering group of the proper sort could manage a FEG. Note also that the former CEO of one company, I think the former head of Exxon once said that the oil companies are already planning their own deaths; and ideally, I bet the funeral includes the purchase of many FEGs. In other words, the money can follow the technology. The energy alternatives still require large investments which will yield large profits.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2006 #5
    But will we avoid the nuclear holocaust, Ivan? I really, really hope (of course) that we do - but things look pretty grim at the moment. The problem is that the scientists/engineers are employees - they are not the decision-makers. They do what they get paid to do - but perhaps the oil companies are thinking of making a switch, as the ex-CEO said. What are current CEOs saying? Everything I read recently is pointing towards investment in nuclear energy (I mean, that's where most of the investment is going). I may be wrong, and would appreciate it if anyone could point me to sources of information about the bottom line stuff regarding this issue.
     
  7. Jan 28, 2006 #6

    russ_watters

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    Norway has a real economy and will be just fine. The Middle-East, on the other hand, will go from unstable to utter chaos.
     
  8. Jan 28, 2006 #7

    cronxeh

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    Once the high temp superconductors are available I'm sure the US will switch to nuclear energy based maglev infrastructure - the highways should have the maglev lanes with cars, trucks, trains having superconductor upgrades on them. And once they get off the highway - on city streets, they could use the batteries which would be recharged from when they were on highway maglev. This should eliminate the need for oil drastically. The only things we'll need oil for would be industrial processes and not for fuel products. I believe oneday the common sense will prevail and the US will replace all power plants with nuclear power plants.
     
  9. Jan 28, 2006 #8
    That seems like it should be the best goal then, as we cannot eliminate our need for oil entirely. It is used in too many processes as to be fully eliminated, as a lot of the industrial infrastructure was built on it. Anyway, we will still need oil for asphalt and other things.
     
  10. Jan 28, 2006 #9

    cronxeh

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    Not necessarily.. But in any case, we need the oil, true, but there are options to become fully autonomous from any nation.
     
  11. Jan 28, 2006 #10
    No worry about economies. An insider has shown me that known oil reserves expressed in consumptions years including 5% annual growth has been more or less stable around 35 years since 1990. The discovery of the Canadian tar sands is estimated to have added another 10 years to that reserve. So we have some time to transit to other techniques, which should include exploitation of oceanic clathrate fields.
     
  12. Jan 28, 2006 #11
    :tongue2: WOW! Kites in the sky at 30,000 feet! Finally an engineering proposal that can solve the looming energy crisis that is not laughly speculative, wildly unrealistic, or flat-out wrong! THIS IS GREAT! :tongue2:
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2006
  13. Jan 28, 2006 #12
    I know this is off-topic, but it won't be a long post. When you say "we have some time to transit to other techniques", are you taking environmental concerns into account? The way I see it, more pressing than the issue of available oil reserves is the issue of global warming. Sorry all, you can ignore this post as it does not directly address the OT.
     
  14. Jan 29, 2006 #13
    Alexandra, It may help to have a look in the Earth forum for an opinion about the non-relationship between CO2 and climate like this one. CO2 on the other hand is a precious basic keystone of live and not a polluter. Other chemical byproducts of burning fossil fuel may be though but that's controllable and getting in control. Furthermore here live a few hundreds specialists that have this message

    Therefore the aim to transit from fossil fuels to renewables should only be considering avoiding economical depletion. This should be a guideline when choosing between fast but less effective constructions and better solutions that would require a longer time to develop.
     
  15. Jan 29, 2006 #14

    vanesch

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    Nah, the ANTS will survive :rofl:

    Life has suffered already a few "great extinctions". We'll cope...
     
  16. Jan 29, 2006 #15

    Pengwuino

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    What I bet the oil companies would do is probably start building nuclear reactors and other such power sources to conduct hydrogen creation. They do indeed have the money and absolutely most importantly in my opinion, the infrastructure to deliver it. I would bet that a nuclear reactor sitting next to a hydrogen production facility would be much more efficient then little ad-hoc setups/'mom and pop' setups. Maybe the oil companies are already thinking about this (some articles in the past few years have indeed confirmed oil companies are dumping money into researching hydrogen creation). Maybe they aren't. Maybe i don't know what i'm talking about.
     
  17. Jan 29, 2006 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    No doubt, this could yield vast reserves of energy. I have seen one estimate that 400 years of energy reserves have already been identified; given the technology needed to extract the methane.
     
  18. Jan 29, 2006 #17
    What's an "FEG"?
     
  19. Jan 31, 2006 #18
    If oil starts to faze out there will be an enormous effort by some oil companies to stop it while some others will invest in the new energy. After a period of turmoil everything will settle down and the middle east will be broke and powerless. Most muslims will see how much the extremists have been holding them back from civilized technology. They will experience a cultural revolution and vastly improve over a long period of time.
    Oh yeah, and world history changes beyond imagining.
     
  20. Jan 31, 2006 #19
    On the other hand they'll also seize to be a valiable target for western corporations and may actually be able to develop an economy for once.
     
  21. Jan 31, 2006 #20
    I don't mean any disrespect to the middle east, but their ecenomy sucked long before the stereotyped, bigbusiness took over. Oh, most of the oil in the middle east is controlled by their own governments, such as Saudia Arabia and Iran. It's not western companies holding them back, they've always been back since the middle ages. They did indeed have a time of great prosperity, but since then it has resembled pre-renessaince europe. Religious extremists, poor economy, repressive governments, etc. I don't think the loss of oil profits will make them grow, I think it will make them change. Whether for better or worse is yet to be seen. It won't be the destruction of oil companies that bring about a change in the middle east, it will be the abandonment of extreme Islam. Unfortunantly the election in Palestine is not a good indication of people's opinions, so I think it will be a long hard battle between themselves, without foreign interference by the way, before they ever advance.
     
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