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Re: Reduced Dependency on Oil?



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On Thu, 15 Mar 2001, Sanjai Kukreti wrote:
 Some envision time when oil won't be king
 By Tom Carter THE WASHINGTON TIMES
      "Technology is the real enemy," the sheik warned members of the
 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting States (OPEC). "It will reduce
 oil consumption and increase production from other areas.

That much is undoubtable. But the why/how of it is not. Oil numbers, for

starters are just not available outside of the corps/govts; the only
things reliable are their profit earnings, which has been increasing,
always. The supply and demand of oil is unknown in real terms. That's an

important first point when trying to understand its usage or otherwise.

      "You should see my little green car. It is green just like the
 technology it represents," she said. "It is so good, technologically
and
 in terms of saving gas."  ...which are powered by a hybrid electrical
 and internal combustion engine "If everyone drove [a fuel-efficient
 car], we wouldn't have to import oil from OPEC." The United States
 consumes almost 20 million barrels of oil a day, more than half of that

 - some 13 million barrels - for transportation."Commercial-scale
 technology will be introduced in the next two or three years. The
 technology is there. The problem is the high cost. There will be market

 penetration when the price comes down."Several analysts noted that
 developing countries are embracing the newest technologies, for
 instance, by adopting cell phones and satellite communications without
 ever going through the stage of telephone lines strung on telephone
 poles.

Fuel cells need hydrogen. To be supplied like oil anywhere and
everywhere.
At current consumption levels the energy required (in joules) is far out

of the reach of the hydrogen production systems imaginable. Either the
consumption patterns have to change/reduce or we should start thinking
seriously about those astrofuels or whatever. Energy efficiency can go
only so far.  Leap-frogging ? Do we have any idea as to what is the
embodied energy in a silicon chip ? (embodied: the total energy through
the whole chain required to produce a product). It's very well with
telecomm, but if we are going to have a transport system TOO alongside
the
telecomm (without the one replacing the other; how much could it anyway,

we are all so peripatetic), then we might as well ignore the telecomm
consumption. Once everyone has a device and is connected then the cost
of
maintaining the system is small (in the process of producing so many
devices, we will definitely spend a lot and if those companies are
forever
innovating, add that) compared to the energy required to maintain a
transport system of the current type, whether on hydro, solar or oil. We

are merely leapfrogging technologies here, not the energy-intensities. I

am not aware of any studies, but I guess the new-economy technologies
may
be increasing the energy-intensities after all, as most of its drivers
(chips, 24/7 servers, comm towers etc) embody a high amount of energy.
In
sum, I don't understand the basis of the report. Do you have any info ?

      "For all practical purposes, oil is abundant and inexpensive,"
said
 Ibrahim Owiesz, a professor of economics at Georgetown University who
 has studied the oil industry for 50 years.

I shall take the time to read this man.

Thanks.

Padmanabha Rao



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