Thoughts on electrically powered vehicles

Volvo has announced it plans to switch over to hybrid and electrically powered vehicles by 2019. The United Kingdom declared its intention to ban internal combustion vehicles by 2040 at the latest. Last year the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) passed a resolution calling for a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030. I first thought that these were silly ideas, but then my memory dredged up something I read almost 30 years ago.
In the late 1980’s I was reading a book I got from the Library about power sources. One of the things mentioned was that we had only 60-70 years before the supply of oil ran out. The oil companies stepped up exploration and internal combustion engines have been getting steadily more efficient since the 1970’s, but there are far more of them today than 30 years ago.
A few years back, I saw the film “Fuel” by Josh Tickell. In it, Tickell said that it takes more energy to extract and process a barrel of crude oil than you would get out of it. What this says is that the remaining deposits of oil are of lower quality. It’s a warning sign that the current fields we have will soon be spent.
There are alternatives to crude oil. One is to produce oil from coal. Various methods to do this exist. The Bergius Process was invented by Friedrich Bergius in 1913 and is the oldest such process. Nonetheless, all coal to oil methodologies are expensive and only economically viable in times of high oil prices.
A second alternative to crude oil is biofuels. Concerns about food crops have led to the investigation of making biofuels from grasses like switchgrass. These can be grown on soil that is not rich enough to sustain crops, so don’t threaten food security. Other sources of biofuel include expired food, microorganisms, sewage, and plant material like wood chips. Yet it seems unlikely (but still possible) that these will produce enough fuel to supplant crude oil.
The bottom line is the world’s reserves of oil will be finished within a few decades at most and we don’t yet have adequate replacements for oil. Changing over to electric powered vehicles before that happens would be a wise thing to do.


About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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