[ExI] Oil will never run out

Samantha  Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Jun 30 07:12:38 UTC 2008

On Jun 28, 2008, at 11:58 AM, Dagon Gmail wrote:

> I want to take a moment to oficially revise my former position that  
> one day the oil will run out and we had better have an alternative  
> ready.
> It was very foolish of me to think this. The infrastructure in place  
> and all the manufacture and existing machines that all require  
> gasoline are almost impossibly expensive to replace - espcially in a  
> short 10-20 year period.

Internal combustion engines handle "flex fuels" including ethanol and  
methanol in any mixture we very modest retooling.  We are not stuck  
with gasoline or nothing event keeping current IC engines around.    
Also the costs of replacement vehicles can be quite modest with a  
relatively few technology improvements.  That said I have a few  
friends involved in converting biomass and/or CO2 feeds plus  
concentrated solar to produce various fuels.  There is a lot of VC  
money chasing such things these days.

> Instead, the easier approach will have to take place. Finding a way  
> to make gasoline and jet fuel that is easier and less expensive than  
> getting it out of the ground and refining it while making it out of  
> something fairly renewable that can be sustained over a long term.
> As soon as I started looking for such things I found dozens of  
> companies already on track to do this. There is no reason why it  
> can't be done. Oil itself already has been made by accident in  
> nature. Making something better faster is only a matter of  
> determination and money. With the current gas prices, suddenly there  
> are both.
> I now think that sooner rather than later, someone will have a  
> readily available alternative way to manufacture gasoline and jet  
> fuel that will work on existing equipment and engines without any  
> modification. The fuel will be made from readily available waste -  
> ie lawn clippings, garbage, industrial waste, etc. The cost will be  
> far less than standard production techniques.

Modest modifications are no real problem.   The cost is project to  
eventually be lower significantly than current prices.  But this is  
not fuel as cheap as when those of us who are boomers were just  
learning to drive.

> Doe to the low production cost the techniques will spread rapidly.  
> The right genetically engineered organisms may very well make their  
> way into an "open source gas production" type of system and many  
> will be able to make their own gas in their own homes. Others who  
> don't want to go through that trouble will be able to buy it dirt  
> cheap. And rather than using  up the very last of the oil in the  
> fields, the remaining oil will be left forever in the wells no more  
> useful or necessary than all the trees.

The engineered organism is only one of many approaches and it is by no  
means certain it will emerge the most successful.

- samantha

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