Can Solar Fuels Avert an Imminent Petroleum Fuels Crisis?

In 2004, humanity used 471 EJ of energy2, and while the relative proportion of each contributing energy source has remained modestly constant, it is clear that at a rise to 504 EJ in 2010, the demand placed upon these energy sources is rising relentlessly. This follows not merely a growing human population per se, but an increasingly affluent industrialised consumer society. We need to consider two aspects: firstly, that the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels is believed to contribute to global-warming and this may lead to unwelcome or even catastrophic changes to the global climate3. Secondly, and more immediately, the fossil fuels and uranium too (for nuclear power) are in finite supply, and there is compelling evidence that each source will meet its own production peak within the next two decades. Most vulnerable appears to be crude oil (petroleum), world supplies of which are predicted to peak (“peak oil”) probably during the next 5 years4.

via Energy Balance: March 2012.

Categories: Energy