Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gasoline Refineries Slowly Come Online, Long Term Oil Prospects Better Than Stated

R Squared Blog provides a rough timetable of Texas gasoline refinery recovery after Hurricane Ike. Short term shortages of refined petroleum products are likely so long as refinery capacity is overwhelmingly located in the direct path of violent storm systems.

As for oil itself, the long-term prospects are much better than the news media reports. Better means of exploration, discovery, and recovery will continue to expand proven reserves. With the addition of unconventional oil-equivalents such as oil sands and shale oil, oil reserves expand into the next century. With the use of ever increasing reserves of oil and gas via CTL and GTL, reserves of liquid fuel from fossils expands even further.

But if you then add the exponential improvements in development of algal biofuels, oilseed biofuels, a growing range of other biofuel crops, and improved methods of making liquid fuels from sunlight + atmospheric CO2, and you discover that the long-term prospects for liquid fuels are not only very good, but they are extremely good.

The news media is in the business of manufacturing crises and angst--to attract viewers and readers. Perennially frightened and anxious viewers and readers boost advertising revenue for media conglomerates. Reality is not what you read in the papers or see on the boob tube. It's a lot bigger, brighter, and more intense. To deal with reality requires thought, logic, wisdom, contemplation, and anticipatory vision. These are all things the media is lacking.



Blogger John Nicklin said...

Sunlight and CO2. How does that work?

If it does work, on an economically viable basis, it would seem to be the best of all the solutions.

12:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

There are many different ways of using sunlight and CO2 to produce energy. The most common way is by using photosynthetic plants and microbes as the workhorse intermediaries.

Some scientists are trying to "skip the middle man" and produce fuels from CO2 and solar photons without the plants.

You need energy, catalysts, and substrate (feedstock). You have to drive your reactions in the right direction and in the proper sequence. You have to quickly remove the byproducts that slow your main sequence reactions. And so on.

9:08 AM  
Blogger John Nicklin said...

Thanks. Using a biological "middle-man" makes sense. The direct method is intreaguing, if it can be made to produce usable product at a competitive price.

9:42 AM  

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