Natural Gas to Liquids:
South African CTL company, Sasol, recently announced the intent to create a natural gas to liquids plant in Louisiana to take advantage of the large reserves increases that have resulted from the 'fracking' revolution. That is just the latest in projects that Sasol is exploring. In the second article, Sasol representatives stated that they believed that they could undercut the cost of oil produced diesel by 25%.
As to scale, the U.S. produces natural gas, at the 10,000 cf to the barrel rate of Sasol, equivalent to about 6.2 million barrels per day of oil. Total natural gas reserves in oil equivalents would be 145 billion barrels. Considering the numbers above, natural gas reserves are good, but as a NGTL it is probably of limited appeal. A reasonable level of production would probably bring price parity Natural Gas rather quickly.
Oil Shale is one of the largest oil resources in the world. By some estimates it represents over 1.5 trillion barrels This DOE report suggests that there may be as much as 6.0 trillion barrels, domestically, of which 1.8 trillion barrels is ultimately recoverable. That is nearly 50% more than the total proven reserves of the whole world. It is the largest single deposit of hydrocarbons known. It is, however, not all the oil shale that there is. In total there may be as much as 3.3 trillion barrels of technically recoverable resource, with the next largest deposits in Russia.
The resource of shale has changed dramatically with fracking. While the emphasis has been on the natural gas that has become available through improvements in the technology
Estimated Global Energy Usage:
|U.S. Total Energy Use per GDP 198h-2t1t|
DP in the Information Age will become progressively more dominated by design and social content. As the graph shows here, the process of decreasing the energy component in GDP has been going on for quite some time. While China is often mentioned as strong future demand per GDP $ produced, they have actually reduced this metric by over 75% from 1980 to 2010 (ibid).
The U.S. consumed 29.26 Petawatt hours in 2006, compared to 138.41 Petawatt hours for the world as a whole. In order for the whole world to consume energy at the rate of the U.S., the global energy consumption would need to increase 4.58 times to 634 Petawatt hours. Since world population will begin to stabilize and energy consumption per capita in the U.S. has been falling for the last 30 years, despite the 40 fold income projected for GWP in 2040. this is likely a conservative estimate for the energy requirements of 2040.
Total transportation energy will likely increase modestly to remain flat. Telepresence and boutique villages will likely decrease the average miles per driver. However, total people driving globally will likely triple. Electric automobiles, though less polluting, are somewhat less energy efficient full cycle. The trend toward more local production, especially in agricultural goods, will tend to lower commercial transportation costs per capita in the West. However, growing incomes in BRIC et al will cause commercial transportation costs to at least double. In total, transportation energy consumption will likely increase to 2X to 2.5X by 2050.
It will not take long before the boutique village phenomenon will result in a growing number of offboard source electric cars with the villages being built from the start for this type of main transportation. Also, starting from scratch, the infrastructure easily be created so that the cars are driverless from the outset. It will be similar to Heinlein's PRTs save that most will be privately owned.
As incomes explode, homes will increase in size about three fold from the current 2,400 ft² to nearly 8,000 ft² in the U.S., Canada, Australia, etc. Europe, which typically has smaller house sizes will likely continue to lag behind in size, though the average will increase dramatically, perhaps three fold as well. Home size in BRIC, et al will explode. The current indication is that Russia, as its income explodes will approach U.S. house sizes. Because it is a heat oriented climate, they may continue to utilize their natural gas reserves, which are enormous, for quite some time.
Brazil home size will also will likely grow to something similar to U.S. and Russia. India and China are still too far from the end point to make prediction of the cultural reaction to affluence reliable. However, it is reasonable to assume that they will grow to at least 2,5
As the population moves toward the equator home energy costs will skew toward electricity. The installation of 'smart home' technology will continue the reduction in per ft² energy costs and enhance the transition from oil and natural gas to electricity. While new homes are already reaching the limits of effective insulation, the inventory as a whole is still well behind state of the art. As the inventory turns over into larger, more tropical homes, total inventroy energy efficiency will continue to improve. Also, for several reasons, the percent of the population living in high rise multi-family buildings will increase which are inherently more energy efficient.
The two trends of larger homes and demographic shifts southward will both contribute to growing energy demands for HVAC, especially air conditioning. However, it is important to recognize that this will be contemporaneous with the shift from carbon fuels to electricity. Consequently, it will likely not place undue demands upon world hydrocarbon reserves. Overall HVAC will likely increase 50% in the U.S. and increase fivefold globally. The latter is the most significant risk of energy shortages over the whole of energy supplies.
Industrial energy use is clearly a matter of industrial activity. While it will grow only modestly in the West with most GDP gains being created in design, knowledge and association value added, the BRIC nations will experience substantial, three fold or more, increases.