Monday, January 5, 2009

Update on USAF Oil Reduction Strategies

The Admiral Moorer Energy Security Forum held at NDU last December began with a fantastic talk from  an oil industry insider, PFC Energy's Chairman and Founder Robin West. His presentation included many sobering insights for eager advocates of renewable energy. In particular, one word from West communicated more than any other spoken that day, and it was "Scale" ... as in a current global appetite for oil of "85 million barrels/day." Nothing on the new energy road map looks like it's anywhere close to being a replacement for a tenth of that, let alone the expected peak supply of 95 million barrels/day.

Well, while some of that oil, especially for electricity production, can eventually be replaced by other means including nuclear, wind, solar, etc., the majority of it is consumed by the transportation sector, including autos and trucks, airlines, commercial air freight and the largest single user in the Federal government: the US Air Force.  Nothing else has the energy density of petroleum. Sohbet Karbuz's recent piece called "US Air Force Energy Plans" provides an early/mid-course update on how the service is doing with its efforts to reduce its oil demand. In particular, he goes into detail describing the ill health of syn-fuels companies who are trying to create jet fuel out of other sources like coal, natural gas and biomass. Short take: at this point in time, there's not much reason for optimism that a solution is anywhere close. Better keep at it.

Photo courtesy of Rob Shenk @ Flickr

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