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PEAK OIL AND THE FATE OF HUMANITY Chapter 3A – Other Non-Renewable Sources of Energy By Robert Bériault.

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Presentation on theme: "PEAK OIL AND THE FATE OF HUMANITY Chapter 3A – Other Non-Renewable Sources of Energy By Robert Bériault."— Presentation transcript:

1 PEAK OIL AND THE FATE OF HUMANITY Chapter 3A – Other Non-Renewable Sources of Energy By Robert Bériault

2 But there’s lots of oil in Canada isn’t there? For example, you have the Queen Charlotte oil fields. I’m sure the moratorium will be lifted.

3 You are likely correct about the moratorium. When the oil becomes rare, environmental laws will go by the wayside.

4 There’s about 10 billion barrels of oil and about 25 trillion cu. ft. of natural gas in the Queen Charlottes on the coast of BC… Pacific Ocean

5 A huge find … … enough gas and oil to supply the world for 4 months*. It’ll make some folks very rich… …but it won’t delay the oil peak by more than a few weeks *

6 The Germans made gasoline from coal during WW2. What’s wrong with that?

7 Liquid fuels from coal  The Germans were desperate for liquid fuel to run their war machine.  When the oil decline starts we will be desperate for liquid fuel to run our economic machine  There’s little doubt that we will have to increase our reliance on coal There’s an interesting analogy here:

8 Advantages of coal:  Cheap  Easy to transport  Found in most parts of the world  Can be mined with primitive methods  Abundant

9 Advantages of coal:  It is the main source of energy used to generate electricity in many parts of the world

10 Liquid fuels from coal  Making liquid fuels from coal requires energy  It would take less energy to replace some of our oil-fired power plants with coal than to make gasoline from coal

11 Problems with coal - 1 Extremely polluting  Produces much more greenhouse gas than oil or natural gas  Acid rain  Mercury pollution  Smog  Particulate build-up  Much of the coal resource will never be mined because it contains too much sulphur  Produces much solid waste (5 – 20% of its original volume)

12 Problems with coal - 1 A great source of greenhouse gasses For a given amount of energy, burning of carbon- rich coal produces much more CO 2 than burning oil. The hydrogen atoms in a hydrocarbon molecule contribute energy but not greenhouse gasses. Coal is mostly carbon. After peak oil we will burn a lot more coal, thereby increasing our greenhouse gas emissions.

13 Problems with coal - 2 Causes thousands of deaths every year Mining accidents Diseased lungs But in a world of diminishing energy sources people will be ready to pay the price.

14 Problems with coal - 3 Not efficient:  Oil is needed to mine coal, to transport it and to build the mining equipment  When coal is used in a power plant, only 35% of its energy is converted to electrical power Electrical energy 35% Waste heat 65% Obtained from “The Party’s Over”

15 Some analysts conclude that: COAL will continue to play a major role in electricity generation in spite of its environmental drawbacks – and in spite of the Ontario Government’s pious pledge to decommission all its coal plants. But it is unlikely to contribute to fuelling transportation.

16 Yeah, but they say that the Athabaska Tar Sands have enough oil for the whole world

17 It’s a huge operation, no doubt…

18 Advantages of the Tar Sands  Abundant  Canadian

19 Problems with the Tar Sands - 1 Slow recovery: The world needs 85 million barrels a day (Jan. 2007)  Will increase production to 2 million barrels a day by 2010  Presently (2005) producing 1 million barrels a day

20 Problems with the Tar Sands - 2  Tar doesn’t spurt out of the ground the way oil does  It has to be dug out with a shovel.  It consists of very thick goo mixed with sand.

21 Problems with the Tar Sands - 3 The process uses natural gas TO EXTRACT ONE BARREL OF OIL, YOU NEED: To heat up 2 tons of sand 1000 cubic feet of natural gas All told it takes ¼ barrel of oil- equivalent in energy

22 Problems with the Tar Sands - 3 Therefore gasoline from tar sands is responsible for more greenhouse gasses than gasoline from oil wells

23 Problems with the Tar Sands - 3  sulphur dioxide (SO2)  nitrogen oxides (NOX)  hydrogen sulphide (H2S)  carbon monoxide (CO)  volatile organic compounds (VOCs)  ozone (O3)  polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)  particulate matter (PM)  others Other pollutants resulting from Tar Sands processing: Canada’s Oil Sands: Opportunities and Challenges to 2015, NEB report

24 Problems with the Tar Sands - 4 The process uses vast quantities of fresh water  Competes with other water users such as farmers, natives, tourism, industry and municipalities.

25 Problems with the Tar Sands - 5 The process uses more fresh water every year Adapted from data from the Suncor website Cubic kilometres of water Year

26 Problems with the Tar Sands - 6 The process produces a lot of waste water Adapted from [ ]http://dieoff.com/page143.htm  The Syncrude pond measures 22 kilometres in circumference  It has six meters of murky water on top of a 40-meter- thick mixture of sand, silt, clay and unrecovered oil. For every barrel of oil recovered: 2 1/2 barrels of liquid waste are pumped into huge ponds.

27 Some analysts conclude that: TAR SANDS will play an essential but minor role in the world energy balance. However, it has the potential of producing all the oil Canada needs for a long time.

28 There’s lots of Natural Gas in the world. Won’t that save the day?

29 Advantages of Natural Gas  Clean burning  Produces less greenhouse gas than oil  Easy to transport through pipelines  Convenient for central heating, hot water heating  Has many petrochemical uses  Used for making nitrogenous agricultural fertilizers  Could be used in transport if only there were enough of it

30 Problems with Natural Gas - 1 Natural gas will peak too… maybe a decade later than oil

31 Problems with Natural Gas - 2 It has already peaked in North America. The Sable offshore gas deposits have turned out to be a big disappointment Photograph by Zoe Lucas

32 Problems with Natural Gas - 3 Whereas an oil well can go on producing for decades, a gas well drains very rapidly after it’s reached peak. It’s a little like letting the air out of a balloon. United States Geological Survey

33 As a temporary measure for Canada and the US: The US is planning to build LNG (liquid natural gas) terminals along the coasts to unload LNG from Russia. This is a temporary measure to tide us over until Russia peaks too.

34 And LNG might present added problems: Because the gas is so flammable, the ships and the terminals would be tempting targets for terrorist. Would you like to live next to an LNG terminal?

35 Some analysts conclude that: NATURAL GAS will play less and less of a role in the North American energy balance.

36 What about this gas-ice I’ve heard about?

37 We’re talking about methane hydrates, or clathrates

38 What methane hydrates are:  A solid consisting of gas molecules, each surrounded by a cage of water molecules  Looks very much like water ice  Holds loose sediments together in a surface layer several hundred meters thick  There are very large stores of it

39 Where are they?  Very deep ocean  Arctic permafrost

40 Problems with Gas Hydrates - 1  Processing hydrates would release methane into the atmosphere  Impacts on the environment are very poorly understood Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas

41 Furthermore… There's 400 gigatons of methane locked in the frozen arctic tundra A temperature increase of merely a few degrees would cause these gases to volatilize and "burp" into the atmosphere This would further raise temperatures. Yet more methane would be released. This would result in heating the Earth further, and so on, resulting in mass extinctions. When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time”, Michael J. Benton

42 Problems with Gas Hydrates - 2 Very difficult to reach Located in water 2 to 3 kilometres deep Beyond any known technology

43 Problems with Gas Hydrates - 3 Controversy as to how much there is – estimates vary vastly from one research group to another

44 Could nuclear power reduce your dependence on oil?

45 Making electricity from nuclear frees up oil used in oil-fired generating plants for other uses. DEFINITELY!

46 Advantages of nuclear:  Nuclear fuel is cheap  Power plants can be placed close to consumers  Produce no smog

47 Problems with nuclear - 1 Nuclear plants very expensive to: build maintain and decommission

48 Problems with nuclear - 2  Nuclear wastes last hundreds of thousands of years.  We still haven’t devised a safe way of disposing of them  For the past 50 years we’ve been stockpiling them in pools of water  We’re still conducting research in permanent safe disposal methods

49 Problems with nuclear - 3  There is a serious negative perception on the part of the public

50 Problems with nuclear - 4 Nuclear fuels will also peak this century

51 Problems with nuclear - 5 Electricity produced from nuclear energy has a low Energy Return On Energy Invested: “The Party’s Over”, Richard Heinberg

52 Canada is self- sufficient in oil and you’re even exporting a lot of it. Why should you worry about peak oil?

53 1) Even in Canada the amount of oil is finite 2) We’re not alone in the world.

54  Think of our big neighbour to the south We are obligated under the NAFTA agreement to sell our oil to the US at the same price as Canadians pay

55 Okay, so what? You’ve got lots.

56 Suppose the US… Suppose the US wanted to replace its 3% annual oil deficit with nuclear energy… – What would it cost? Remember that no nuclear plants have been ordered since 1978 in the US and that they take 10 years to build.

57 Now get your calculator out. Now get your calculator out

58  The US consumes 833,000 barrels of oil per hour

59  3% of 833,000 means that every year the US will run short 25,000 barrels per hour (next year it would be 50,000, etc.)

60  The US consumes 833,000 barrels of oil per hour  3% of 833,000 means that every year the US will run short 25,000 barrels per hour (next year it would be 50,000, etc.)  There are 1.59 megawatthours (MWH) of energy equivalent per barrel

61  The US uses 833,000 barrels of oil per hour  3% of 833,000 means that every year the US will run short 25,000 barrels per hour (next year it would be 50,000, etc.)  There are 1.59 megawatthours (MWH) of energy equivalent per barrel  This comes to 40,000 MWH

62 One respectable nuclear plant runs 1000 MegaWatts (or 1 billion watts)

63  This comes to 40,000 MWH Now to calculate the number of power plants required, simply divide 40,000 by 1000 And you get 40

64 So our friends would be building 40 nuclear plants …every year, Year after year …just to keep up with declining oil

65 And the cost? $200 billion per year, year after year, assuming oil prices don’t go up. $5 per watt x 1,000,000,000 watts x 40 plants =$200 billion

66 The moral of the story: Building nuclear plants requires not only lots of money but large amounts of oil …and the US would pressure Canada for more oil

67 The sun uses nuclear fusion. Why not mimic the sun on Earth?

68 Nuclear fusion hasn’t been perfected yet. Tokamak  And it won’t be before 50 years according to the experts (ITER)  It requires having plasma et millions of degrees Celcius play around with magnets at –273°C  The intense neutron flux generated by the plasma (from which comes the energy) rapidly destroys the confinement container.  Just as regular fission, fusion won’t contribute to transportation Source Confinement container

69 Nuclear fusion hasn’t been perfected yet.  Fusion has been known as the energy of the future for the past 40 years.  It’ll probably still be the energy of the future 40 years from now. Source

70 Hybrid cars use half as much gas as regular cars. What if we replaced all cars with hybrids? Wouldn’t that help ?

71 Probably not…Here’s why:  People would respond by increasing the number of kilometres they drive per year  They would have extra money to spend and they would spend it on things that are energy dependent (There are very few ways of spending money without resulting in energy being used) Increasing efficiency increases consumption. (Google Jevon’s Paradox)

72 Building a car takes energy. - Lots! 35 to 45 barrels of oil equivalent per car …and there are 800 million cars in the world Data obtained from the film: “The End of Suburbia”

73 Supposing we replace the world fleet over 5 years, Okay?  Then we would have to build 160 million cars per year instead of the 40* million at present  i.e.: we would have to find oil to build 120 million more cars than at present  Present world consumption of oil is 29 billion barrels per year  Oil needed 40 (barrels) X 120,000,000 (cars)  = 4.8 billion additional barrels per year  Equivalent to 16% of actual world oil consumption *Worldwatch Institute

74 There just isn’t enough spare capacity to supply that much oil

75 Wouldn’t that kill the economy?

76 It would hurt it for sure. The 1973 oil crisis took place following a 6% oil drop. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that this situation could repeat itself.

77 In this chapter we dealt with non- renewables. Chapter 3B will deal with “free energy” from wind and sun. Click icon for Chapter choice


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