Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

World3 computer model

Output from the World3 computer model.

Prof. Ugo Bardi of the University of Florence is an authority on the Club of Rome’s much maligned but now vindicated “Limits to Growth” model, having provided it with a recent book-length update. Ugo Bardi concludes that the computer model from 1972 is reasonable accurate.

[Wikipedia – Limits to Growth]
[Amazon – Limits to Growth Revisited]
[Club Orlov]

Colin Campbell sums it up

Olduvai Theory

Theory that predicts that in 2050 the planet Earth will inhabit merely 2 billion people as a consequence of resource depletion. And that man will return to the stone age eventually. We respectfully disagree with that latter notion.

Richard C. Duncan
[Die Off – 1996]
[oilcrisis – update 2006]

Read more…

There is no tomorrow

Here is an excellent new animated short video that ties resource depletion, environmental destruction and the end of growth into a single tidy package. For those of you already versed in this subject matter, this might still be good review.

The Thorium Solution

Gerald Celente advises Iran on how to avoid catastrophe: use thorium rather than uranium.
Read more…

Rembrandt Koppelaar on World Energy Consumption 1830-2010

Today’s post goes into the global consumption of energy and provides a dataset in Excel for researchers on global primary energy consumption from 1830 to 2010. In other words, the energy contained in fossil fuels, uranium, and biomass in their raw form before processing into electricity, heat, or liquid fuel, and direct electricity production from hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal. Read more…

Interactive Oil Depletion Atlas

Detail information about oil situation from country to country.
Visit the original site… [David Strahan] … for the interactivity to work.

Internet as the backbone of future economy

When a large part of the workforce does office work, as is the case in advanced economies, there is no real necessity to be physically present in the office anymore, provided a high speed internet connection is available so solutions like Skype can replace face-to-face communication. Take Holland. Average commuting distance 37 km. That’s at least a gallon a day of fuel. Here is an example of a 24 inch monitor that merely consumes 2 Watt. iPad’s can consume as little as 2.5 Watt, that’s nothing! According to the New York Times, Google needs 260 MW to power all these google search requests, youtube video and gmail. So what? That’s 52 of these 5 MW windturbines at a cost of 250 million euro/340 million $, a fraction of google’s yearly profit. The car may be heading for the exit, but IT is here to stay. And if there is no electrical power available use this 20 Watt gadget to power your computer and stay warm at the same time.

[Der Spiegel]

What Gazprom does with fossil fuels, namely pumping huge amounts through pipelines, Google does the same with data, pumping huge amounts of bytes through glass fiber cables. Google has future, Gazprom has not.

Heavyweight world oil supply debate

Video of a spirited debate on peak oil between John Hofmeister (Shell) and Ted Patzek (University of Texas and ASPO-USA).


Saudi oil reserves possibly 40% overstated

Leaked diplomatic cables from US ambassy in Riyadh. Official reserves: 716 billion barrels. In reality reserves are 40% overestimated according to senior expert.
P.S. video is one year old.

Energy slave

We can think of no better way to illustrate the impact of fossil fuels on modern society than using the concept of energy slave. An energy slave is to be understood as an imaginary adult man, who is located in your basement, sitting on a bicycle and tirelessly generating electrical energy. He does not need food, social life or sex, he merely generates energy for you without complaint. Picture this:


The average American citizen is on top of the global energy consumption pyramid (for how much longer?) and is so lucky to have some 147 of these imaginairy slaves working for him day and night to garantee him a western life style. These slaves do everything: heat your home, keep your computer, fridge, television, vacuum cleaner going, your car, your bus, your train, your flight and your industries. Everything. Today’s energy supplies provide the equivalent of the work of 22 billion slaves, according to former oil industry man Colin Campbell [*].

Slavery was abolished in the US around 1865. Usually this event is portrayed as a triumph of morality over greed. But in reality it is more likely that at that time Uncle Tom was outperformed by fossil fuels and rising industrial society. It simply was too much trouble to keep human slaves any more. Interesting hypothesis to test.

The prospect for the future is that every year a few imaginairy energy slaves will leave your basement, never to return. The interesting question is how many energy slaves we will keep when the situation will reach the bottom. Hopefully enough to prevent the return of human slavery.

[*] A total of 22 billion slaves does not match 147 slaves per capita. Different people make different assumptions as to what a human slave can achieve in a day. But the point is that if you switch on a light, it means that in a world without fossil fuels you would need a football team worth of energy slaves to accomplish the same effect.

[] – Vermogensmeting in de Tour de France

Uranium in short supply soon

A nuclear expert gives uranium supply three more years – at most – before it seriously falls behind demand from the nuclear power industry.
Bad news for France and Belgium whose electrical power industries depend largely on nuclear fuel.
Related info here.

Realtime Data

This post is going to be used to collect sources of real-time online data of interest to this blog. This blogpost will be updated regularly.

Goldprice in euro
Exchange rates (dollar-euro default)

Real-time oilprices
eex (European Energy Exchange, trading in electric energy, natural gas, CO2 emission allowances and coal)
Prices for Dutch electricity

Iran fossil fuel infrastructure


World in debt

This is China. Click link below to see similar pictures for additional large economies:
For people who are afraid that the world might run out of paper to represent all this debt remember that with computers there is no limit to debt creation. One might wonder though if suppliers of resources and labour will accept this kind of money ‘out of thin air’ ad infinitum. Paper money can work if there is a real independent central bank that regulates the money supply with the aim of limiting inflation. Usually these institutions can’t resist pressure from politics to bail out the ‘too big to fails’, like major banks and countries like Greece. The long term consequence is that this virtual money will be blown up Weimer style and return to ‘sound money’ (like gold or silver standard) will be inevitable, that is money that can’t be printed and is scarce by nature. Or to resort to barter trade like was the case in Nazi-Germany.

Energy matrix

Tom Murphy comes up with a matrix evaluating all sorts of properties for each and every energy type.
[Do the math]

BHP Biliton largest mining firm

Even after the merger between Glencore und Xstrata, BHP Biliton remains the world’s largest mining firm. Iron ore is a major source for profit (38,5 billion $).

[Financial Times Deutschland][In German]

[BHP Biliton Wikipedia]

Chris Martenson

[72 minutes]
There are several good educators aroud like Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler or Michael C. Ruppert. Chris Martenson is another one, who can present the peak-oil predicament in a down-to-earth condensed way and link it to finance (FED, exponential growth and debt) and economy.
November 16, 2011 during a meeting in Madrid.

Surviving peak-oil in Denmark

Energy predictions made about Denmark by English journalist and former energy trader. Author predicts migration from towns to rural areas when fossil fuels run out/become much more expensive. Buy a farm before everybody else wants to. Expect Thor to outperform Jesus. Bottom line: Denmark is well-positioned to survive the coming energy downturn, no surprises here.


[How Denmark is leading the way in renewable energy]
[Denmark aims for 100 percent renewable energy in 2050]

Seabed mud contains large quatities of rare earths

Here is another recent discovery concerning rare earths. It turns out that those elements are so abundant on the bottom of the ocean that the mud covering just one square kilometre of ocean floor in the Pacific Ocean could supply one-fifth of the current annual world consumption, according to a new study published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience.

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