TECHNOLOGICAL, STRUCTURAL AND STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENTS ON THE PATH TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY - AN INDUSTRIALIST’S PERSPECTIVE
BIRGER FLYGARE
 Former Executive at global industries within Automotive-, Aerospace-, IT- and Telecom fields.
 
High level summary
 
In this paper I will repeatedly refer to the concept of exergy, a term that signifies the quality of energy and thereby the ability of energy to perform work and where energy e.g. can be defined as exergy-rich or exergy-poor.
 
“Exergy is a new term for the energy’s ability to perform work, “Arbeitsfähigkeit””.  Zoran Rant 1956
 Humanity faces two threatening scenarios, Green House Warming and a shrinking economic availability of fossil fuels. How much time do we have at our disposal to carry out a reengineering of the global society?
 
In the longer perspective we inhabitants of Planet Earth must also be made to realize that the banquet is over and start adapting our lifestyle to other values than those prevalent in today’s society. I believe that we have ample opportunities to do that and to create necessary technology for a reengineering of society systems.
 
The total global energy utilization 2006 amounts to 120 PWh: fossil fuels 80,7 %, nuclear and hydropower 8,4 %, bio fuels 10,0 % other (incl. solar and wind) 0,5 %
To produce ethanol for transport needs from forest- and field produce is not advisable, given that besides the high production cost and the impact on food availability and -prices, the energy net is marginal, or even negative. Biogas/natural gas for transport use can though be produced using waste from households, industry and farming.
 
A reengineering of society (individual nations and the global community) must begin now by taking on the weakest link on our way to a sustainable future society, the individually oil powered transport units. On a 500 km journey a lonely traveller by car causes 76 kg. CO2 emissions, and by train (at a 90 % seating) 1,5 kg CO2 emissions and uses more or less its equivalence of energy.
 
Oil was ready in wells to extract and after adding marginal cost for refinery could be put into building our technical society. In the thirties, we had to enter 1 energy unit for an output of 40. We now depend on deposits, which are not so easy to exploit and require more energy. By 1970 the ratio between employed and extracted energy had fallen to 1:30 and today it is under 1:10 for the actual oil production.
 
Urgently needed are decisions for investments in a new transport system, which to start with requires a thorough analysis of transport needs. National and continental railroad networks driven by electricity should be built at such a rate that they will be able to assume 70-80 % of long distance hauling within 20 years.
Meanwhile whatever can be done must be done by the automotive industry to speed up the development of the fuel cell and other alternative energy technology to replace gasoline for cars and light trucks.
 
This is not feasible with contemporary economic and monetary procedures and principles. Ignorance of Exergy as a measure of potential makes it impossible to consider more accurately its value, its price, its cost, and so on.
 
In this context it deserves to be mentioned that China’s railways account for 25 % of the global railway traffic on only 6 % of China’s total rails, all due to the huge volumes of coal transports. Between 2006 and 2010, 200 billion dollars are expected to be invested solely in its railways, four times more than during the preceding five years. For the time being the Chinese railways can handle only 40 % of the goods transports, but with the planned expansion the capacity for goods handling will, according to the Railway Ministry, exceed demand by year 2020, a capacity that with depletion of coal and changeover to other energy sources also can be used for passenger traffic.
 
Hopefully 60 % of the current use of fossil fuels can be replaced by electricity from alternative sources. Let us therefore start with a better utilization of sunlight radiation.
New technology evolution for solar energy utilization will start increasing heavily from 2030-2040 and will at the end of the century be the biggest energy source.
 
The global awareness of and focus on the green house effect and the risk of a collapsing Earth due to heating, today takes all public attention. Little attention though is given to the scenario when oil is no more available and with our global community having run
out of oil and coal and without an initiated reengineering of the society systems with sufficient alternative persevering energy resources.
 
The decline in oil, gas, coal and uranium will force the nations to a fast reengineering of the Global Society. We depend entirely on fossil fuels for a number of products as well as for the production of metals and also for the use of metals for the switchover to
renewable energy, why we have to ask ourselves what will be the fate of Earth if sufficient precautions have not been taken in time to replace it by other alternative energy sources.
 
In other words we also have to count with that not even coal is an unlimited resource, which leads me to think over whether it is really worthwhile to take on the huge investments in CCS, Carbon Capture and Storage systems instead of putting all that money into renewable energy technology.
 
My Estimation of global energy sources 2100:
Solar 62%, natural gas 5 %, biomass 8 %, oil 5 %, wind 6 %, hydro 6 %, and other renewable 8 %. This could be changed though by an earlier realization of nuclear fusion.
 
“Energy technology is incremental, cumulative and assimilative; it must be demand driven, and the demand is driven by policies that value the benefits of efficiency and charge the externality costs of risky and polluting systems” (Owen 2004).
 
 
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In the longer perspective we inhabitants of Planet Earth must be made to realize that the banquet is over and start adapting our lifestyle to other values than those prevalent in today’s society. Then a lot would be won. Humanity with prevailing lifestyle and carelessness about Earth’s resources is facing a serious threat. Dystopian futures of Earth are presented on a wide scale. Can we instead by aid of technical and structural developments that on one hand reduce energy use, on the other decrease emissions of e.g. green house gases, achieve a sustainable environment and society? With the depletion of oil as well as coal the next 30-40 years, this would also enable us in time to find a transition to a reengineered global society based on non-carbon renewable energy. This adds up to a set of issues that I will attempt to throw light upon in this paper. Right from the start I want to stress the need to get away from the scientific “verticalities” and rather spend our time to find viable all-embracing structures and strategies for sustainability.
 
The global energy utilization 2006 amounts to 120PWh:
 
Fossil fuels                             80,7 %
Nuclear and hydropower          8,4 %
Bio fuels                                 10,0 %
Other  (incl. Solar and wind)    0,5 %
 
Total global emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2006, 27,5 Gigaton:
 
Transport                                 16 %
Electricity and heating             25 %
Logging                                    18 %
Agriculture                               15 %
Industry                                    14 %
Garbage and waste                     4 %
Other                                          8 %
 
And remember this; 0,12 % in reduced GDP-growth is what it costs to see it that CO2 content in the atmosphere remains the same year 2030 as it is today.
 
The prerequisite for development of motorism was oil, and oil was cheap (in prevailing economic terms) and it was available from “unlimited” sources. We know now that the truth is different and that oil is a finite resource object of rising price. This forces us and not least automotive industry to find replacement technology as well as alternative energy for the propelling of vehicles.
 
With a growing awareness of coming problems caused by CO2 emissions media have managed to make public opinion believe that the mere transport of people and goods is the biggest sinner which is not correct. But if we include the processes required for manufacturing of the road vehicles, aircraft, trains, ships and add the material and resources for extraction of fuel plus the infrastructure needed for the transports, then we get a true picture.
 
And this leads us to a much bigger problem to deal with, our dependence on coal-fired power plants producing electricity for households, business, public illumination and not least for industry, coal still being so cheap and abundant that it can hardly be replaced by alternative fuels for price reasons alone. China, U.S.A., Poland and gradually more Germany and India cause the worst emissions from coal-fired power plants. More than 50 % of US electric energy is generated by carbon power, and new coal-fired power plants are being built at a fast and continuous rate in U.S.A. as well as in China.  80 % of electric energy in China alone is generated by carbon power, which constitutes more than 40 % of Earth’s total carbon power consumption. The most urgent need of mankind is to find replacement for these power plants within the next 20-30 years.
 
The share of CO2 emissions from Logging, industry and from production and distribution of food products increases constantly.
 
NEW METHODS FOR MEASURING EFFECTIVITY NEEDED
Whenever energy is used the extent of effectivity is low, and a first step in order to satisfy our very best ambitions should start with introducing rational methods to measure net outcome of energy used i.e. exergy. Let us start with an example on how resources are wasted, from the most significant industry, the automotive industry.
 
A car manufactured by electricity from hydropower contains as much energy as a car manufactured by electricity from fuel or coal but in this context a large loss of exergy lies in the manufacturing of the material for the car. To manufacture an average American car 1995 800 kilos of steel, 180 kilos of iron, 85 kilos of aluminium, 112 kilos of plastic was required. The industries supplying these four materials are the most resource demanding and polluting of them all.
 
Only a tiny fraction remains in the finished car. The rest of the energy is gone, lost, and this loss (exergy cost) appears as losses of heat, scrap, more or less poisonous chemicals etc., i.e. waste (exergy-poor matter, earlier raw materials) and heat (exergy-poor energy).
 
Conclusion: This is not sustainable. Immense improvements are required here. Today we know theoretically how to increase efficiency 4-5 times. But, not even that is enough, as processes always necessarily consume exergy. A sustainable society presupposes techniques that supply the life supporting system with at least as much energy as it consumes. This in its turn presupposes processes that draw more exergy from sunlight than they themselves consume.
 
TECHNOLOGIES FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INTAKES
 I will therefore present a few technical developments for alternative energy intakes as well as for economizing fuel usage and improving the efficiency of processes, all in all leading to less CO2 in the atmosphere, or in any case to a slower increase of carbon dioxide proportion. Let us start with a better utilization of sunlight radiation. Enormous quantities of solar energy beam in over Earth. Globally we make use of one ten thousandth of this energy. Suppose we
could catch a fraction of that energy and transform exergy-poor waste into exergy-rich resources, then the problems with finite resources and harmful energy sources would be gone.
 
Of the approximately 1000 KWh solar energy hitting 1 square meter arable land during one year, 1-2 KWh can be transformed into ethanol. A solar-cell installation with present technology yields slightly more than 100 KWh from the same area. These days a number of various technologies and processes for taking advantage of solar energy are under development with the goal to achieve powerful improvement of capacity and economy.
 
The well known, ubiquitous photovoltaic solar cell based on silicone, lets light interact directly with semiconductor materials to generate power. Mostly used on home rooftops
but far from an optimal balance of capacity and cost. Solar cells made of plastic material with the property to conduct electricity can be produced at an economic cost that will allow a mass market. There are a number of new developments for the generation of electric energy out of various shapes of solar cells. One is the Grätzel cell where nature is copied through a process with sensitive coloured titan dioxide acting like chlorophyll. Another one is the CIGS cell of copper, indium, gallium and selenium. The efficiency of these processes can compete evenly with silicon, but first and foremost the expectation is that it will be possible to manufacture these cells at a cost that will enable quite another spread of solar cells than what is the case today. Even higher expectations are put on nano technology, and a number of projects in U.S.A and Europe focus on nanotubes, composed of just carbon atoms, to bring highly effective and material saving cells to a mass market.
 
We also see a number of projects in U.S.A., China and Australia for Solar Thermal Energy, where the technique is to concentrate solar rays on large arrays of solar collectors that through a heat transfer fluid can store energy at extremely high temperatures and then drive turbines to produce electricity. A pre-requisite for taking electricity from solar power plants to distant consumers in less sunny areas could be the new Direct Current technology, which allows transport over long distances with minor loss of energy.
 
China has strong ambitions to improve its environment and builds in the Gansu province at a cost of $1 billion a huge solar power plant that will produce 100 MW 2011.
Another one in Australia, the Solar Tower, will produce 200 MW. A number of such plants are planned in these two countries and in the U.S.A.
 
STORING EXERGY
 However. Whatever good these described techniques do to replace fossil fuel energy systems, they still loose large quantities of exergy in the conversion from solar beams to electricity. It is therefore important to find a system that captures the exergy as well as stores it without
immense losses. That is what organic plants do, when they proceed from renewable raw materials: water, exergy-poor matter like carbon dioxide and various diluted salts.
 
Teams of scientists in Europe and in the United States now attempt to do as the plants – convert exergypoor matter into exergyricher matter, i.e. resources with exergyrich energy from the sun – in other words emulating nature’s photosynthesis. If they succeed – hopefully
in a reasonably near future – it will be a great step forward providing energy in the state of hydrogen and oxygen, which can be used as fuel and then only emits water as a remainder.
 
Hydrogen as a carrier of energy plus oxygen is like electricity, exergy-rich and can be used for driving vehicles and for heating houses. When releasing these gases by means of splitting water molecules, exergy from the sun can be stored, far better than what other solar energy systems are accomplishing today. My hope is that we will have working systems ready in 10 years from
now, and it is interesting to observe that hydrogen fits like a glove with fuel cells. We can also identify a number of green technology or bio mimicry projects in Europe and the US, all with the same objective.
 
Nano solar cells, Grätzel cells, CIGS cells, fluidbased/wetchemical cells, molecular solar cells, nanochrystalline solar cells, nanochrystalline dye substance sensitized solar cells, nanochrystalline electrochemical solar cells, photovoltaic cells and nanostructured solar cells.
 
These are all denominations for third generation solar cells in which energy is extracted in a manner resembling the’ photosynthesis of plants. And perhaps we see here one of the utmost long sight hopes for future energy conversion, provided that the manufacturing of such solar cells can be carried out with a reasonable exergy balance. We can also build large arrays of solar panels with best possible technology for distribution over large dessert areas
of which we have abundance in the world.
 
Whatever we can expect from these solar energy techniques, we still have many years to bridge with other technologies as complement to fossil fuelled power plants for electricity.
Large efforts are being made to refine technologies for geothermal energy, wind power and wave power, but the amount of electricity the grid can accept from these highly variable energy sources is still limited. But expectations are high that they will play an important role as future suppliers of renewable energy
 
For all of these techniques, similarly as in the example from the automotive industry applies that before extracting electricity, in our calculation we must take into consideration the loss of exergy from the change of state of and the manufacturing of the equipment for our completed wind- or wave-power plants, since this converts exergy-rich raw materials into exergy-poor waste in addition to the desired product. This expresses an important leading criterion for further research- and development efforts.
 
TECHNIQUES TO REDUCE ENERGY USE, PROPERLY SPEAKING, EXERGY CONSUMPTION, AND THEREBY REDUCE THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS AND CO2
EMISSIONS.
Illumination, heating and transport differ from other industrial processes by not consuming other resources, to any higher extent, i.e. exergy from other resources apart from exergy in the mere fuel. It is pleasant and hopeful to see the amount of applied research pursued to bring out energy saving products for households, business and industry. I will spend a few minutes on the development of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), which we recognize from all types of electric and electronic products where they for decades have been used as indicators.
Globally 20 % of all electricity is used for illumination. The classic Edison bulb yields
(only 5 %) of spent energy as light; the remainder disappears as unneeded, exergy-poor heat. The fluorescent tubes, filled with mercury vapour are around four times more efficient. LEDs are already more efficient than light tubes and contain no mercury. Till now, LEDs’
limitations have been that they have not emitted white light and that they have been too expensive for public illumination. Through a number of development steps it has been possible to create white LED-light, and we now see LED-lamps in a number of applications. The LED-lamps in finished technological condition, yet to come, will emit more than 90 % of the energy they are supplied with as light and are expected by and by to halve the global need of electricity for illumination. This renders immense financial savings as well as a substantial reduction of energy expenditure, environmental pollution and green house emissions.
 
The US administration has sponsored “Next Generation Lighting Initiative” which has financed more than 70 various LED-projects with the objective to increase the illumination
technique’s efficiency by 300 % within 8 years. Here too we will find Nanotechnology when nano tubes are expected to function as light diodes.
 
New technology for insulation and heating will also contribute to huge electricity savings. Architects also believe that biologically inspired designs can help to reduce the environmental impact on buildings. They are copying functional systems found in nature to provide cooling,
to generate energy and even to desalinate water and they insist that doing this makes financial sense; and buildings should be able to pay for themselves.
 
In other examples houses are equipped with insulation and mechanical devices to retrieve heat from out-ventilated air. The heat pump is already an important contributor to reduced energy consumption in buildings. Water is heated by energy from roof mounted sun panels. 80 % of heat in the air is made use of. The energy need for heating is reduced from 115 KWh per square meter to 30. Also important to observe is that a 1-degree lower in-house temperature reduces electricity use by 5 %.
 
Industry itself will have a substantial number of opportunities to cut down on electricity use. Here is one such initiative. Pneumatics and hydraulics can at sight be phased out and replaced by a good deal less energy demanding electro-mechanic devices. I take an example from point welding. A robot welds 20 points per car on about 200 000 cars per year. This means 4 million welding points in a year. If the robot has pneumatic actuators it consumes 50 000 KWh. If we instead equip the robot with compact mekatronic actuators it only needs 5000 KWh, i.e. 90 % less energy.
 
Technological developments to reduce fuel consumption and emissions in the transport sector
I try to imagine a society without cars by looking back to the 40s and 50s when my generation grew up, and we did well without cars. Local transports were undertaken per bicycle and tram and the longer journeys by train and ship. Without access to car- or air transport before 20,
I had myself seen half Sweden and both U.S.A. and half of the countries in Western Europe.
The change that we have lived through is of course due to the cheap oil and large-scale production of cars and aircraft. Even if emissions irritate us, we have difficulties refraining from that part of our lifestyle.
 
It is however important to distinguish two main scenarios when it comes to our dependence on oil, one where oil is still available, and the other where we are out of oil. Given that oil is estimated to be economically available for another 20-30 years, we must ask ourselves if during this time we will get access to alternative fuels produced at lower total cost, and I mean total cost, with less exergy consumption and less harm to environment and green house effect. I do not believe that is the case. It is not likely that hydrogen can become such an alternative other than as a carrier of energy in conjunction with other technology, and very recent research has also hinted that methane, instead of being seen only as a risk factor, could be extracted in a controlled way, a process yet to be developed. Hence, it remains to live with oil until further, and do our utmost in order to limit its harms on nature.
 
Within the automotive industry ambitions as well as pressure from legislators are high to find solutions for the improvement of gasoline- and diesel engines’ fuel economy as well as techniques for reducing CO2 emissions. Some truck suppliers in the years 1970-2000 have reduced emissions of CO2 per ton kilometre by 50 %, and their target for 2020 is set at another 50 %.
 
Technology development is taking place along a number of main lines; more efficient diesel engines, diesel hybrids, hybrid engines for gasoline and electricity, diesel plus electric, fuel cells and also hydrogen gas and bio fuels. We are flooded by information on these techniques through media. In the medium long run, we will also see an ever-increasing share of smaller-sized vehicles and engines. The most hopeful visions are electric motors. If you can transfer kinetic energy to electricity, and if some time in the future we have access to super-conductive magnets we will be able to produce small electric motors generating 400-600 Hps.
 
Of utmost interest is to follow what is going on in the development of diesel engines in the heavy commercial vehicles’ industry. There are two main lines, Exhaust Gas Recirculation, EGR, which in principle handles the emission in the combustion chamber and Selective Catalytic Reduction, SCR, which cleans the exhausts by adding the ingredient UREA.
EPA 10 in the US and EURO 6 in Europe reduce the emission of particles and nitrogen oxide to very close to nothing.
 
Suppliers of heavy commercial vehicles develop engines for a variety of fuels, bio diesel, synthetic diesel, DME, Ethanol, Methanol (CH3OH), Biogas, Hydrogen gas and biogas.
Biogas/natural gas can be produced locally using waste from households, industry and farming as well as from forest raw material or energy crops. This also reduces the garbage mountain. There are also industrial plans to create bio fuels by hydrogen gas microbes.
 
With the hard legislation in California standing behind these requirements, my opinion is that this will be of considerable significance for setting the standard for all types of vehicles.
The Automotive industry also, as soon as battery- and hydrogen gas problems have been solved, counts on having fuel cells ready for all types of vehicles within 10 years from now.
 
Also in Aviation industry efforts are being made to reduce CO2 emissions. The EU project Newac works with a short-run goal to reduce emissions by 6 % with the aid of heat exchangers.
The US Air Force is testing a new fuel based on 50 % of the ordinary JP8 fuel and 50 % of synthetic oil produced out of coal by the Fischer and Tropsch process, which is worth something only as long as coal is economically available.
 
Even if we manage to keep consumption of oil unchanged or even reduce it in the transport sector, the unprecedented exergy consumption remains for the manufacturing of cars, 60 million units 2006. To me, the manufacturing of cars stands out as the main issue, and my hopes about a future drastic reduction of exergy consumption are extremely feeble, bearing in mind that now also China, India, Brazil and many more countries are exploding industrially.
 
To produce ethanol from forest- and field produce is not advisable, given that besides the high production cost, the exergy net is marginal, or even negative. Ethanol is promoted as a farm product but is largely a product of fossil fuels. For the production of ethanol with present technology it takes more fossil fuel than the 15% ethanol, compared to using this oil directly as fuel for vehicles. Many energy-guzzling steps on the way to a finished product make it turn out this way, and another serious problem arises from the consumption of energy using living organic matter. This year bio fuels will take a third of America’s maize harvest. Ethanol is the dominant reason for increase in grain prices.
 
At an unchanged car traffic level, and with present technology it would take 300 000 square km productive forest- and arable land (of a total 450 000sq.km) annually only in Sweden, while in the US 100 % of the nation’s corn crop would supply only 7 % of the fuel consumed
by its actual vehicle park. In our European and American case – in order to bring production cost down to an acceptable level - this would rather quickly force us to take fuel from forest- and agricultural products from crops in South America, the Caribbean and Africa. Three quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas where it is inevitable that ethanol production will have a serious impact on food supply.  It is obvious that we have got to cut on “What is impossible to cut in on”, i.e. the growth of automobile traffic, but not even that is enough.
 
Technology to reduce the perils of carbon-powered electricity production
As I mentioned initially coal-fired power plants stand for such a high share of harmful CO2 emissions that it is unbearable for any ambition to put a brake on global heating. Globally two new coal-fired power plants are completed and taken into service every week. It takes 10-20 years for society to take a decision to build a nuclear fission plant. But no such debate foregoes the decision to build the coal-plant.
 
Carbon dioxide has been stored naturally in Earth’s interior for millions of years. And now,
ever so large investments all over the world are poured into technology and processes to reduce, contain and pump CO2 waste deep underground to be stored theoretically for millions of years. This process is called carbon capture and storage, CCS but scientists have pointed at some risks, and found that the dissolved carbon dioxide makes the water more acidic. That water in its turn dissolves some of the minerals in the sandstone, releasing calisite and metals, mainly iron. This could be good or bad; the gas can start leaking in 50 years from now. Even small leakages of 1-2 % can get devastating consequences.
 
By 2030 the enlargement of CCS is estimated to speed up, but even thousands of such very expensive plants will not eliminate more than a minor share of CO2 emissions.
 
The ultimate attempt in recycling is using photosynthesis to reduce the emissions produced by coal-fired stations by growing single-celled algae on the exhaust pipes from power stations.
One of the developers is GS Clean Tech and another one, Green Fuel Technologies, emerging from MIT, suggests that it can remove 75 % of the carbon dioxide from a power station’s exhaust and claims that over the course of a year, a hectare (2.5 acres) of its reactors should be able to produce 30,000 litres of oil which could be used as bio diesel, and enough carbohydrates to be fermented into 9,000 litres of ethanol.
 
STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS OF OUR LIFESTYLE BEHAVIOUR
 I see structural improvements in perspective of the balance between energy fixation and energy utilization. How does our behaviour have an impact upon this balance? If we assume that hypothetically we still have an opportunity to prevent what is threatening us owing to the depletion of fossil fuels and the green house effect, in that case what can we do?
 
Is man, in spite of an ever-expanding society, capable of changing his lifestyle in such a way that adopting a number of measures he can participate in a reduction of exergy drain and increase exergy fixation in the life-sustaining system and thereby contribute to establishing a better balance in the ecological system?
 
My answer to this is an absolute Yes. We have unlimited opportunities to change our habits.
In the household, the industry and business there are hundreds of opportunities for a behaviour change when it comes to use of electricity and water and other resources, simply by
shutting down electrical and electronic appliances and devices when not used, as well as by following simple rules we can more than halve our consumption of water. The same goes for consumer patterns and our choices to transport ourselves. Caution should be given to bio diversity. Plants and animals, besides supplying us with food, also play a role as active
components in the life-sustaining system. 27,000 species are eradicated each year. Whether we also will have a significant influence on the enormous waste of exergy in the production and distribution of foods is to me an open issue but of utmost importance for the global community to solve.
 
AMONG ALL OPTIONS, HOW CAN WE DEVELOP A STRATEGY FOR A SUSTAINABLE GLOBAL SOCIETY?
 The global awareness and focus on the green house effect and the risk of a collapsing Earth due to heating today takes all public attention, and so far in this paper I have tried to map some remedies for a safer steering away from those problems. Little attention though is given to the scenario when oil is no more available and to what would be the fate of Earth if sufficient precautions have not been taken to replace it by other persevering energy resources.
In a widely read scientific article Jeffrey Dukes shows that many million years ago it took 400 years production of biomass (solar exergy) to create the volume oil today consumed globally during one year.
Consequently, the global oil supply is limited and will soon (within10years) reach its production peak. Oil companies spent $8 billion on exploration in 2003, but discovered only $4 billion of commercially useful oil. Demand will exceed production capacity, and the remaining oil will gradually be of poorer quality and more and more difficult to reach. By the very fact that the net outcome decreases, the effects of the oil peak on the economic system will occur much earlier than predicted. Fossil coal can perhaps then still drive the economy, but the handling of greenhouse gases will reduce the net, given that the administering of the CO2 (CCS) will lead to further energy use.
 
But we also have to count with the fact  that not even coal is an unlimited resource, which leads me to think of whether it is really worthwhile to take on the huge investments in CCS instead of putting all that money into renewable energy technology.
 
Oil was ready in wells to extract and after adding marginal cost for refinery could be put into building our technical society. In the thirties, we had to enter 1energy unit for an output of 40. We now depend on deposits, which are not so easy to exploit and require more energy. By 1970 the ratio between employed and extracted energy had fallen to 1:30 and today it is under 1:10 for the actual oil production.
 
I have stated that ethanol can never become a viable replacement to oil, and after saying this the question arises: Can the industrial community in its present form function without fossil energy?
 
By switching global economy over 20 to 30 years to non-fossil energy sources, a viable strategy towards a sustainable society must have several options among available methods to choose from. For the next 10 to 20 years though, the global community will have no other alternative than to plan for a society where oil gradually becomes too expensive and eventually will not be available for the individually powered vehicles like cars and trucks.
 
REENGINEERING OF SOCIETY
A structural change must take place soon, and if the understanding of this had been at hand among local and global leaders we would not have had to wait for price- and emission levels
to enforce a reorientation and reengineering of society.
Politicians should be brought to realize that ethanol couldn’t be but a marginal bridge over a limited time to save car driving in its present form. If extended, this results in nothing else than an economic and environmental catastrophe in the end. The risk is enormous if ignorance of a holistic view over all consequences were the base for decisions, which in some cases could lead to the benefit of unscrupulous business interests.
 
A reengineering of society (individual nations and the global community) must begin now by taking on the weakest link on our way to a sustainable future society, the individually oil powered transport units. On a 500 km journey a traveller by car causes 76 kg. CO2 emissions,
and by train (at a 90 % seating) 1,5 kg CO2 emissions. Urgently needed are decisions for investments in a new transport system, which to start with requires a thorough analysis of transport needs. National and continental railroad networks driven by electricity generated by renewable energy sources should be built at such a rate that they will be able to assume 70-
80 % of long haul transports within 20 years, whereas the remaining 20-30 % must be carried
out by air, today responsible for less than 3% of global CO2 emissions.  Aviation Industries are on a wide pursuit of alternative energy techniques.
 
Likewise urban rail bound networks for trams and personal rapid transit systems (unmanned rail taxis) have got to be built during those next 20 years. Exergy utilization will not be much different, but since most electricity will be produced at plants where carbon dioxide hopefully can be eliminated to a certain degree and increasingly at plants using renewable energy, the effects on heating caused by greenhouse gases eventually will be extensive.
Meanwhile whatever can be done must be done by the automotive industry to speed up the development of fuel cell technology to replace gasoline for cars and light trucks. Hopefully
60 % of the current use of fossil fuels can be replaced by electricity from alternative sources.
 
For the nearest years to come it appears to me that the main energy sources for electricity and heating will be coal, natural gas, hydro power and nuclear fission which for coal presupposes a safe disposal of CO2 as well as for nuclear fission a safe disposal of waste and for the latter
also a sufficient availability of uranium. The development of the transmutation technology is proceeding and will allow nuclear waste to be eliminated in future nuclear fission reactors of the SECURE-type where perhaps also Thorium can be used as fuel.
 
NEW PRIORITIES FOR USE OF FOSSIL FUELS
 The decline in oil, gas, coal and uranium will force the nations to a fast reengineering of the Global Society. We depend entirely on fossil fuels for the production of metals and also for the use of metals for the switchover to renewable energy, whereas oil alone is a prime and perhaps irreplaceable raw material for uncountable necessaries.
 
This means that a reprioritization of fossil fuel utilization is necessary for many fields of the global society in order to secure the availability of hydro-, wind-, nuclear- and solar power plants and not least the urban, national and continental rail systems so that they can be built for a sufficient coverage in time. The same goes for the production of solar panels and thousands of other energy saving products like LEDs.
 
Solar energy utilization will start increasing heavily from 2030-2040 and will at the end of the century be the biggest energy source. I do believe that technological developments and structural attitude changes like those I have presented above will help to reduce energy consumption enough to allow a well-planned transition to, in the first place, a surviving society with clean energy like hydro, solar, wind, wave and perhaps safe nuclear power.
 
I have my doubts though that China will come up with necessary remedies for clean carbon power in time, but they are on the other hand planning a large number of reactors with new nuclear technology and are investing $ 3 billion in a number of plants for production of synthetic oil from coal. I can then also hope that a sufficient number of plants for concentrated solar thermal energy will be built in China and worldwide.
 
Provided that these energy sources can support mankind in a sufficiently long run I cannot but think of nuclear fusion as a compelling idea. Substantial amounts of power could be produced
using very little fuel. No greenhouse gases would be released. The fuel is abundant, the process safe and the waste is far less noxious than the stuff left over from fission. As we know the technology a magnetic field must hold large volumes of the same isotopes of hydrogen inside a vessel. The gas must be far hotter than the dense matter of the sun for fusion to
happen. The object of the ITER reactor will be to test these theories, but it also remains to be scientifically proved whether instead laser ignited fusion is the alternative to magnetic
confinement fusion, which then perhaps 50-100 years from now could offer an ultimate energy solution to mankind.
 
My Estimation of global energy sources 2100:
Solar 62%, natural gas 5 %, biomass 8 %, oil 5 %, wind 6 %, hydro 6 %, and other renewable 8 %. This could be changed though by an earlier realization of nuclear fusion.
 
WHAT RISKS ARE THERE IN THE GLOBAL WARMING THAT COULD FORCE US TO MAKE A DRASTIC CHANGE OF OUR STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY?
Considering the global warming’s effect on glaciers, Greenland’s ice and Polar ice we risk a faster increase of oceanic temperatures than predicted, which could release metan hydrates in the bottom sediments of oceans with a 5-10 fold increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Already we also have observations of how permafrost on the Siberian tundra starts to thaw. In a worst case this could lead to releasing methane, a greenhouse gas with a temperature increasing effect being many times more powerful than that of CO2. This would unavoidably lead to bifurcations of unforeseeable size. With this in mind and being aware of the risk of trigging the ecological system through drastic temperature increases of 1, 2 degrees, politicians must be pressed to take necessary decisions now.
 
Not least in view of another threatening scenario with our global community having run out of oil and coal and without an initiated reengineering of the society systems with sufficient energy alternatives.
 
I believe that we have ample opportunities to create technology, to change our lifestyle and increase our awareness of the problems. All processes, industrial and others, effective or not, use up energy. This energy is drawn from the life-supporting system in the state of raw materials and other natural resources, i.e. exergy-rich matter, just to be transformed into exergy-poor waste, thereby polluting the life-supporting system. This takes place through the consumption process, and the results we see are in the shape of smoke, ashes, garbage on the dump and a variety of other so called effluents and emissions, which all together drastically change life conditions for everything alive in the life-supporting system. Exergy expenditure must be reduced and exergy supply enlarged to achieve a balance. We need a more reality-based method to perceive and render account for the true resource costs, i.e. not financial costs, but costs incurred by our activities. It is here accounting in exergetic terms comes into the picture. This way of accounting gives us the opportunity to record and calculate more accurately than at present the cost and the yield to the life-supporting system.
 
“Energy technology is incremental, cumulative and assimilative; it must be demand driven, and the demand is driven by policies that value the benefits of efficiency and charge the externality costs of risky and polluting systems” (Owen 2004).
 
 
 
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