End of Conventional Oil Energy Consumption Oil is the most invaluable resources we have ever discovered. This energy is so dense, that at 55 $/barrel it’s nearly free energy, providing the equivalence of 11.5 worker years of work or 25,000 hours of human labour.
The liquids that come out of oil as it’s processed and refined, create the building blocks for all our petrochemical, chemicals, materials, plastics and fuel used by engineers. The most valuable part of oil distillates are the ultra dense portable energies of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. A gallon of gasoline (roughly 4.5 liters) weighs approximately 6 lbs, occupies a mere 230 cubic inches but contains the equivalent of 36 kWhs of electrical energy. There are no know substitutes for the energy density of these portable transportation fuels. All the oil was created over earth’s 4B years, its all non-renewable and humans, using machines and systems designed and built by engineers, will use up in one or two centuries. We are entering a new world of unbelievable oil shortages and it’s only a few years away. The end of the oil ear could result in increased unemployment, poverty, bankruptcy, starvation, there are all kinds of things that happen when a society collapses. This paper on the end of conventional oil discuss what will happen to society and the engineering profession as we move from an era of cheap abundant energy to an era of scarce hard to get expensive energy. What type of engineering innovations will be required during this transition? Which engineering majors and specialties will be in demand as the world seeks solutions as it adjusts to a lower level of energy consumption?