Total Energy Used and petrochemicals

By Andy May

It came up in conversation: How much oil and gas goes into plastics and fertilizer production? It turns out the IEA has a 2018 report on this very topic. They have a separate 2020 report on total energy used in 2019. The reports contain some interesting graphs and data. Below is a comparison of total energy use in 1973 and 2018, from the Key World Energy Statistics 2020 Report.

Figure 1. Comparison of total energy used in 1973 and 2018 by primary energy source.

In the 45 years between 1973 and the end of 2018, the energy share of oil dropped significantly and most of this energy was replaced by coal, natural gas, and nuclear. Wind and solar (part of “other”) increased a little, but the increase makes little difference. Biofuels, mainly wood burning, dropped nearly as much as “other” increased.

In The Future of Petrochemicals IEA 2018 report, we find that about 14% of the world’s oil and 8% of the world’s natural gas are used as feedstocks for producing petrochemicals. The petrochemical industry produces thousands of products we use every day. They include plastics, fertilizer, clothing, electronic devices, medical equipment, medicine, tires, solar panels, wind turbine blades, batteries, and insulation. The report points out that the demand growth for plastics and fertilizer are outpacing the demand growth for steel, aluminum, and cement. Petrochemical product demand has nearly doubled since 2000 and the U.S. and Europe use twenty times as much plastic and ten times as much fertilizer as India, Indonesia and other developing countries on a per-capita basis. This means the explosion in growth will not abate anytime soon. Figure 2 compares the growth in plastic production to the growth in other areas and GDP since 1971.

Figure 2. Global plastics production compared to the production of steel, cement, aluminum, ammonia, and to global GDP. Each quantity is shown as a dimensionless index where 1971=100.

Of the nearly 10 million b/d growth in demand for oil projected for 2030, the petrochemical sector accounts for more than 33%. The sector also accounts for more than 7% of the expected increase in demand for natural gas. Petrochemicals are the largest component of projected demand growth for oil and gas until 2030.

The conclusions are obvious.

  1. The growth in solar and wind powered electricity makes no difference, the impact on fossil fuel use is lost in round-off.
  2. Petrochemicals are critical for our lives today and they are growing faster than total energy use.
  3. Coal, oil and natural gas are here for a long time to come. They will probably be replaced someday as a source of energy, but the only candidate on the horizon is nuclear.
4.9 32 votes
Article Rating
102 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Zig Zag Wanderer
December 22, 2021 2:17 pm

I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. . . . . . . plastics

I remember when our toys were all metal and wood. They were horrendously expensive. Now they are plastic, and available so freely that huge numbers are just given away. How far we’ve come in such a short time…

Last edited 30 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
C.L Rhodes
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 22, 2021 2:38 pm

Don’t worry the decarbonization of the chemical and plastics industry will make these cheap materials at least twice as expensive as someone has to pay for the doubling and tripling of capital and operating costs.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 22, 2021 2:44 pm

And many of them were purportedly made in Usa, Japan, and of even poorer quality than today’s Chinese products.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 22, 2021 3:20 pm

We have come far since “The Graduate.”

gringojay
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 22, 2021 3:27 pm

Z.Z.W., That 1st sentence should be in quotation marks attributed to The Graduate motion picture because I’m not sure how many WUWT readers are familiar with that line.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  gringojay
December 22, 2021 3:49 pm

Fair enough. I thought it was widely known, but probably not.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 2:28 am

Half the people in the world at present were not born when The Graduate released. I have to keep reminding myself that the Vietnam War, which was the central issue for many of us, is ancient history for young folk at present

bonbon
Reply to  Rafe Champion
December 23, 2021 6:50 am

They grew up with the Afghan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, Chechnya, Bosnian wars. Graduates today are Woke.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rafe Champion
December 23, 2021 10:53 am

Unfortunately for us skeptics, most WUWT commenters and by implication, readers appear to be approaching our use-by dates. As a group, we’re doing a terrible job influencing our descendants. If I’m not very mistaken, there are few here who do not remember the 1960s at least as children. Some even recall the 1940s and comment about it.

ATheoK
Reply to  Rafe Champion
December 23, 2021 12:36 pm

Except the “Graduate” is repeatedly shown on TV and some small theaters.

Hades, I’ve never watched the graduate and I know the phrase. Partially because that fragment is used frequently to advertise the film.
Along with Dustin staring at the ladies leg.

The phrase and the film are not unknown.

Just a few seconds of typing brings up the phrase.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 9:09 am

Unfortunatelly. Great movie, great actors.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 10:43 am

ZZW:

I know of that movie, but, it looked like a dirty movie to me, so I never watched it.

For a wholesome (and delightfully romantic, too 😊) movie mentioning plastics see “It’s a Wonderful Life” (my favorite movie EVER).

In this scene (below), Sam “Hee Haw” Wainwright is on the phone *trying* to get Mary and George to invest in PLASTICS.

At 1:22 and passim in this youtube clip (“… plastics out of soybeans … Dad’s going to build a factory… biggest thing since radio…) :

George’s passionate response (to Mary, not so much Sam, heh) is at about 5:55

Mary [~2:48]: He says it’s the chance of a lifetime…

George [~5:55]: “I don’t want any plastics… and I don’t want to get married ever to anyone! … and … .”

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 23, 2021 11:11 am

Edit: 2:55.

Ron Long
Reply to  gringojay
December 22, 2021 5:20 pm

There are certain scenes in the “Graduate” I remember vividly.

Capn Mike
Reply to  Ron Long
December 22, 2021 7:13 pm

Elaine!!!!

Rich Davis
Reply to  gringojay
December 23, 2021 10:40 am

You have an unreasonably low opinion of the cultural knowledge of WUWT commenters based on the many references I have seen over the years.

Hivemind
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 22, 2021 11:25 pm

I remember when our TVs were made from wood, with a metal frame to hold the valves & other components. I still don’t understand why the toxic greens want to push us back to the past. They won’t be happy until we’re burning animal dung for heat.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Hivemind
December 22, 2021 11:58 pm

Took ages to warm up too!

Oldseadog
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 2:26 am

Just like the Earth.

Redge
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 9:28 am

The animal dung? 🤣

ATheoK
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 12:30 pm

“I remember when our toys were all metal and wood.”

Back then, wage earner paychecks were mostly spent on three things, shelter, food, heating.
What was left was spent on other things.
Which made the “other things” like toys horribly expensive

Remember our perspectives back then. Toys were few and only on special occasions which made us treasure them.

Steve Case
December 22, 2021 2:22 pm

Coal, oil and natural gas are here for a long time to come. They will probably be replaced someday as a source of energy, but the only candidate on the horizon is nuclear.
_________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile local governments are shutting down steam powered electrical generation to include coal, gas and oil fire power plants plus nuclear. Ask your average left-wing liberal democrat if they really believe the world economy can be run on wind “Turbines” and solar panels and you get a simple “Yes”.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 2:30 pm

I have enough solar panels to charge my laptop and cellphone but not enough to run my furnace fan. And that pretty much defines their potential usefulness to society as well…

Alex
Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 22, 2021 4:37 pm

My solar panels produce approximately 50 percent more electrical power than my household uses. 6.6kW system 5kW inverter I paid $3500 fully installed. I still pay a significant bill as power costs me more than double what I receive for it. I also have gas for my hot water and BBQ. We go through as a family about 60 to 70 litres of petrol a week.

Climate change is a hoax but pollution is a serious problem especially in industrial areas currently we rely on coal and oil and gas as our main energy sources. There are lots of possible solutions solar among them but we need to look at the pollution created in making these panels (and all possible energy solutions). Of course these decisions are made by psychopaths I just hope they are thinking far enough ahead.

DrEd
Reply to  Alex
December 22, 2021 6:10 pm

“..thinking far enough ahead.” You’re being sarcastic,right?

Hivemind
Reply to  Alex
December 22, 2021 11:29 pm

You’re obviously heating with gas and not using an airconditioner. In many parts of Australia (think inner-urban greens councils) they’re demanding the end to gas. Try to think about what that would do to your power consumption in the winter.

Alex
Reply to  Hivemind
December 27, 2021 12:11 am

No we use electricity for heating and use the air con we also have a pool. Solar panels will be well over 1000kWh this month.

Kit P
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 2:53 pm

Which local goverment and what steam plant are you talking about?

In 1973 there were some small 50 year old coal plants downtown including the city I grew up in.

Good that they are gone.

The only thing when it comes to making power that local goverment runs is the mouth of the mayor.

The steam plants are under new management someplace else.

Steve Case
Reply to  Kit P
December 22, 2021 3:26 pm

Which local government and what steam plant are you talking about?
_______________________________________________________

Coal, Oil, Gas and Nuclear all boil water and run the steam through a turbine. There are some gas turbines for overload because they are quick start-up units.

So far I cant find any hydroelectric dams shut down for environmental reason, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. Oroville was to be shut down last August for a low reservoir.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 4:01 pm

SC, used to be true but no longer. CCGT uses large natural gas turbines as primary power (jet engine derivative, but bigger and heavier) and the exhaust boils water for a secondary steam turbine. So two generators, hence combined cycle. Typically maybe 600-800 MW per gas turbine. Our new CCGT Port Everglades station has three gas turbines feeding one steam turbine, combined nameplate 2400 MW. 61% net thermal efficiency at full power, and still 58% net efficiency at 40%. (Won’t run at all below 40%, not enough gas exhaust heat for steam.) Took only 2.5 years to build including old resid tear down, since most everything is factory built. No more big cooling towers (now just use Port Everglades sea water), no tall chimneys and boilers, overall smaller plant footprint both horizontally and vertically, noticeably cleaner local air, cheaper electricity bill, nothing not to like.

Scissor
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 4:45 pm

That’s a nice looking plant!

If you zoom into the water discharge you can see a couple of groups of manatees lined up to take advantage of its warmth.

https://www.google.com/maps/@26.0839388,-80.1240746,368m/data=!3m1!1e3

Last edited 30 days ago by Scissor
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Scissor
December 22, 2021 5:50 pm

Yup.

eck
Reply to  Scissor
December 22, 2021 6:26 pm

Wow.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 4:54 pm

Rud,

Nit-picking here: CCGT combustion turbines are typically industrial turbines and not not aero-derived turbines. One difference is that industrial turbines take longer to start up and shut down that aero-derived turbines.

Important upshot is that CCGT are inherently base load plants and not good for peaking – makes for a poor fit where regulations are tilted to favor renewables. Downside is that peaking plants have a significantly lower fuel efficiency than CCGT plants.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Erik Magnuson
December 22, 2021 6:01 pm

EM, since GE makes both, stuff like thermal alloys and fatigue engineering are similar. Granted, generation ones are inside heavy metal shells, while jet turbines are not. Bigger shafts, bigger power per.

Semi disagreement on peakers. Yes, those are different. Part of the point of the CCGT GW increase was to replace some previous south Florida summer peakers (6, not all). Since CCGT remarkable ability to cycle from 40% to 100% without much loss of efficiency, if you a bit oversize baseload because it is so cheap, you can remove expensive seasonal peakers. FPL did here.

PCman999
Reply to  Erik Magnuson
December 23, 2021 1:11 am

That’s easy to fix, get rid of the renewables.

PCman999
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 23, 2021 1:09 am

I’m a nuke guy by training, but ccgt are amazing and should be the main part of most areas power mix. I was wary of natural gas being increasingly used for electrical generation, since that would drive up the cost for home heating use, but the frack revolution made that issue moot. I still like the idea of a utility having a mix of power sources, and areas with lots of coal should definitely utilize that in the safest, cleanest and most efficient way they can. It’s more than just the cost, there’s also the local economy to consider.

John
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 10:51 pm
Reply to  Kit P
December 22, 2021 3:35 pm

State governments are in the process of shutting down coal fired plants. Our coal burn has dropped from a billion tons a year in 2000 to 600 million tons, mostly replaced by gas, although wind and solar now do about 13%, which is a lot more than round off. A lot more coal closures are scheduled, many ahead of schedule due to green mania.

The utilities love it because they are rebuilding their asset base, upon which they get a guaranteed profit. Plus if the cost of juice goes up they get even more guaranteed profit.

Coal will be with the world for a long time but with the USA not so much.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  David Wojick
December 22, 2021 4:07 pm

DW, I last ran the FERC coal numbers in 2014 for essay ‘Clean Coal’ in ebook Blowing Smoke. So a bit dated. But then the average age to coal plant retirement was 42 years. And based on the age inventory, that meant about 30% of the remaining inventory would be shut for age/obsolescence by 2025. Given coal and nuclear antipathy, almost all of this is being replaced by CCGT, which is both capital and fuel more efficient. The sole exception is Turk in Arkansas, an about 680MW super critical coal plant burning Powder River basin sub-bituminous, the only SCC in the US to date.

Scissor
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 5:01 pm

Public Service of Colorado’s Comanche 3 plant in Pueblo is a 750 MW supercritical unit.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Scissor
December 22, 2021 6:05 pm

True. Third unit, older two are conventional. I missed that, looking stand alone construction like in China. My bad.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 5:27 pm

Coal plants are good for 60 or more years since they basically have only one moving part, the rotor. But the modern history of US power generation is interestingly strange.

Back in the mid 70’s we had an incredible building boom, probably in reaction to the monster blackout in the late 60’s. We quickly doubled our generating capacity, building something like 350,000 MW, almost all coal and peakers. The energy crisis made oil and gas too valuable to burn.

So very little was built after that, except the nukes that finally limped in after being grossly over regulated.

Then in 2000 we had another boom, with about 200,000 MW coming on line, all gas because the war on coal was well along. That is when coal lost the war.

Now we are rapidly and unnecessarily phasing out the coal fleet, replacing it mostly with gas plus wind and solar. On a capacity factor basis we are still building more gas than wind and solar combined. Unlike the two prior booms this transition is more slow and steady, but the coal burn rate is pointed down pretty steeply.

Fracking hit big after the 2000 gas boom or juice would be far more expensive and that could still happen. But the cost of juice has been rising steadily and will continue to do so. Coal really was and is cheap. Wind, solar and gas combined are not.

Peter Morris
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 9:56 pm

Isn’t Plant Bowen in GA a supercritical boiler? I hope it hasn’t been shut down. It provided power for most of NW GA.

Mason
Reply to  Peter Morris
December 23, 2021 5:17 am

Peter, yes it is as well as several in Duke’s system. Marshal, Belews Creek (the 2 most efficient coal plants in the US.)

Kit P
Reply to  David Wojick
December 22, 2021 6:24 pm

David

State governments are not local governments. Please state what process the states are using to shut coal plants.

My point is people in government spout lots of BS and maybe you should realize they have little power (pun intended) and stop worrying about idiots at least in the US.

Coal is currently a close #2 and will be #1 again. It depends only on the demand for power and the price of fuel.

I retired from the nuclear industry about 20 years after POTUS Clinton tried to kill the nuclear industry and declared it dead. Nuclear is still a strong #3 and not the predicted zero.

Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 3:57 pm

” you get a simple “Yes”.”

Do you expect any other answer? These are among the same simpletons that ignore natural immunity, think massive social spending will not cause inflation, claim that there’s more than 2 sexes, think national borders shouldn’t exist, think real criminals shouldn’t be punished while political dissent should be asymmetrically punished, think anyone not like them must be a horrible person, are intolerant of any point of view other than their own and accept so much more that’s on the wrong side of logic and reason. Unfortunately, stupid can be more contagious than Omicron, especially when emotional manipulation is enabling it.

DrEd
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 6:08 pm

A stupid and ignorant “Yes”.

John
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 10:46 pm

Its far better than that

Cyptocurrencies are the thing
just created out of thin air and massive amounts of computer power

OH NO – I need electricity to run the computer
Silicon, gold, silver copper plastic steel, glass +++++ to create the computer

Data houses optic fibre servers

holey crap where is all this energy and materials going to come from

you guessed it non existent existential climate change

Tom Halla
December 22, 2021 2:26 pm

Of course, the green blob will have it’s usual hate-fest on plastic grocery bags and straws, when the alternative uses more energy and does not work as well. (One does have to wash reusable grocery bags, or spread salmonella,listeria, . . .)

lee riffee
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 22, 2021 3:28 pm

Yes…the town I live in recently banned plastic bags – not bags per-se, just the plastic disposable ones. So retailers simply switched to paper bags. I feel like Ive gone back to the 1970’s. And everything I remember about fold up paper bags from 70’s and early 80’s is still true – they get wet, they fall apart, things put in them with pointy edges rip thru, and simply too much weight is asking for a disaster! Yes, they allow people to bring their own, but you have to be sure to have some in your vehicle for impromptu grocery stops, and of course keep them clean.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  lee riffee
December 22, 2021 3:52 pm

S’funny. I don’t think any other country has tried to introduce the idea of mass use of paper bags for shopping. It’s almost as if the idea was too silly to entertain…

Rud Istvan
Reply to  lee riffee
December 22, 2021 4:14 pm

We long ago went to reusable cloth bags. Cost a Buck, last almost forever. An occasional wash and dry.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 4:30 pm

Yeah, that was about 15 years ago iirc.

MAL
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 5:04 pm

So you like spreading disease, if we had functioning health departments reusable bags would not be allowed near any food store.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  MAL
December 22, 2021 6:08 pm

So you throw out your used underwear? We wash ours.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  MAL
December 22, 2021 6:55 pm

I think reusable shelves in shops should be banned. In fact, lets just destroy every shop if it’s been used once. We can’t be too careful you know!

I’m sure that you have evidence that Australians are dying in droves from reusable bags. Maybe it’s not so bad, because we actually have functioning (free) health departments?

Kit P
December 22, 2021 2:30 pm

In 1973 milk came in reusable glass bottles and diapers were reusable cloth. Reuse required a lot of energy.

Plastic bottles are pure energy. IIRC, HDPE is 22,000 BTU/lb.

I have a deck board made from disposable diapers.

Just saying it is a lot more complicated than it used to be.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kit P
December 22, 2021 2:46 pm

I have a deck board made from disposable diapers.

My condolences!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kit P
December 22, 2021 3:22 pm

Yours or kids?

Steve Case
Reply to  Kit P
December 22, 2021 3:29 pm

Synthetic deck boards aren’t as strong as wood.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 3:45 pm

But with Brandon’s new economy they are cheaper.

MAL
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 5:06 pm

I wonder how long they would last in the Arizona heat, a plastic bucket here lasts about two years before it shatters just like glass.

meab
Reply to  MAL
December 22, 2021 9:45 pm

I lived in the high desert in New Mexico above 7,000 feet. The sun was intense. I had a deck where the deck boards were made from Trex, an artificial wood material. The stringers, shielded from the sun by the Trex boards, and the railings were real wood. The artificial deck surface lasted just fine, it actually looked great after 15 years, no discoloration or warping. The real wood stringers and the real wood railings rotted out and I had to have the whole deck rebuilt.

Hivemind
Reply to  meab
December 23, 2021 12:14 am

Plastic can be made to last in the sun. It’s just that most isn’t; especially packaging.

Hivemind
Reply to  MAL
December 23, 2021 12:13 am

I was once given a presentation by a guy that claimed that every piece of plastic ever made was still around. I didn’t have the heart to point out that plastic ice cream containers left out in the sun in Australia would fall apart in your hands after a couple of years.

Oh, and he was also the CEO and I wanted to keep my job. Sometimes you need to think about the longer picture.

Kit P
Reply to  Steve Case
December 22, 2021 6:53 pm

Strong enough! The bridge over a small fish pond is synthetic.

I like wood. Redwood if someone one else is buying the wood like the one at my sister’s.

I only had a couple of boards from recycled diapers for the purpose of giving demonstrations on the energy saved by recycling. There are two clear winners.

Aluminum cans is one but I like my beer in glass.

Oddly enough, the second is nitrogen in the bacteria in compost.

Try explaining that to the germ a phobs.

gringojay
Reply to  Kit P
December 22, 2021 3:37 pm

Bottled milk used to be delivered in the early dawn to one’s door in the USA towns & any empty milk bottles collected. A common family jibe was how one child is just like the father/mother but a sibling, aaahhh “looks like the milkman.”

Last edited 30 days ago by gringojay
Scissor
Reply to  gringojay
December 22, 2021 5:06 pm

We have our milk delivered from a local dairy just that way still. The only difference being that you can change your order online. The quality is very much better than store bought.

AndyHce
Reply to  Scissor
December 22, 2021 5:45 pm

I used to get milk fresh from the cow. The taste is incomparable with processed milk.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  AndyHce
December 22, 2021 7:01 pm

A few years ago, I accidentally bought some organic milk from a servo (it’s all ridiculously expensive therein so I didn’t notice). When I tasted it, I said “this is what milk used to taste like!”

We’ve been jipped along the way. I don’t care for organic anything, but I’ll buy organic milk. Unfortunately we don’t get dairy in the tropics except at high altitudes, so I cannot get it from the source as we used to in the UK.

And don’t get me started on semi-skimmed and skimmed milk. It tastes ‘off’ to me. I like Jersey milk!

ATheoK
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 1:35 pm

None of the “organic milk” that I have tasted, tastes like fresh real milk used to taste.
I agree, milk fresh from the cow tastes wonderful compared to the days old milk sold in supermarkets.

Many of the cows in New Jersey back in the 1950s-1960s produced a milk with higher milkfat levels. Local dairies frequently delivered milk with a 5%-6% milkfat.

Of course, that was before dairies became corporate giants. And we had to collect the milk quickly in winter.
The milk in those days were not homogenized. The cream rose up into the bottle’s neck and froze, affecting the flavor.

Nik
December 22, 2021 2:40 pm

A 4th conclusion should be added: all the time and money being lavished on wind and solar are a colossal waste, made worse by the accompanying regulations that raise the costs of the other technologies.

Steve Case
Reply to  Nik
December 22, 2021 3:34 pm

“A 4th conclusion should be added:…”
______________________________

That should be as obvious as the the north end of
a southbound goat to everybody, but sadly it is not.

Robert W Turner
December 22, 2021 3:11 pm

The demand for lithium is set to greatly outpace supply and the deficit will be substantial by around 2028. The leftish dictators think they can dictate economically recoverable resources into existence, but that’s run-of-the-mill for someone that has never had a real job and makes a career out of dictating based on ideology and delusion.

The hard part will be convincing the useful idiot masses that the collapse of the economy sometime later this decade is on account of unsustainable policies from the leftist dictators and not that of the free market, which the leftists blame for all the problems they create.

meab
Reply to  Robert W Turner
December 22, 2021 9:54 pm

They just found a large deposit of Lithium in Northern Nevada. There are a bunch of environmentalists camping out there trying to prevent the deposit from being mined. I suspect that the massive amount of mining needed for EV batteries is going to see more and more opposition of this sort.

It’s good to see a group of anti-mining environmentalist wackos opposing the EV environmentalist wackos.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Robert W Turner
December 23, 2021 6:53 am

In May 2021 the International Energy Agency published a report on ‘The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions’. Below are some extracts

A typical “electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas fired plant.”

” Since 2010 the average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50% as the share of renewables has risen”

“a concerted effort to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement…….would mean a quadrupling of mineral requirements for clean energy technologies by 2040”

“An even faster transition to meet net zero by 2050 would require six times more mineral inputs in 2040 than today”

EVs will massively increase the demand for copper, cobalt, nickel, REES, and aluminium as well as lithium.

Last edited 29 days ago by Dave Andrews
Cam
December 22, 2021 3:15 pm

“In the 45 years between 1973 and the end of 2018, the use of oil dropped significantly…” Not quite. As a percentage of the energy makeup it dropped, but, with the increase of total energy from 1973 to 2018, the total share of oil went from 2,817 Mtoe to 4,513 Mtoe.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Cam
December 22, 2021 4:18 pm

True, oil consumption almost doubled. But the global economy went up much more—see China. The relative proportions were what the post discussed.

ATheoK
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 23, 2021 2:32 pm

oil consumption almost doubled. But the global economy went up much more”

Comparing dollars and inflation to physical units of oil?
You may be able to explain a connection, but a direct comparison is meaningless.

Rick K
December 22, 2021 3:18 pm

The REALLY good news is…

… NO toys for Griff! 🙂

LdB
Reply to  Rick K
December 22, 2021 5:58 pm

Meanwhile Australia will hit a new record of $380 Billion per year in exports but Griff says we need to give it up because there is no future 🙂

Not being stupid and following the crowd certainly pays off.

Last edited 30 days ago by LdB
Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 3:29 pm

I was initially surprised the oil portion declined so much. But it makes sense.
Here in East South Florida, two old circa 1975 resid fueled generating stations were replaced by much more efficient (and larger, 2.4GW each replacing 2GW each) CCGT. Both vehicles and planes have become significantly more fuel efficient since 1973. All the newer Broward Transit busses are hybrids from Europe. Half the diesel consumption, 4x brake life; bus frequent start/stop is an ideal hybrid application. All the newer Fort Lauderdale Yellow cabs are Prius. My 2007 Ford Escape is a Prius architecture hybrid—same net HP as the equivalent V6 (206 HP, AWD and class 1 tow hitch) but a combined about 30MPG compared to combined 20 for the then V6. NiMH traction battery still good at almost 90k miles and 14 years.

Kit P
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 22, 2021 7:07 pm

I was initially surprised the oil portion declined so much. But it makes sense.

My first commercial nuke startup after the navy replaced a large baseload oil plant built in the 60s.

We were working on permitting two more units at that location when gas prices were high 15 years ago. Then the area of played out coal mines became fracking central.

December 22, 2021 4:58 pm

The green zealots oppose burning oil, but I don’t recall any demands to stop making plastics and other products from petroleum. So the question I have, perhaps fpr a future article, is:

Can oil refineries remain profitable if the demand for gasoline drops significantly from the use of electric cars and trucks?

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 22, 2021 5:49 pm

There is, however, a not insignificant demand that the oil stay underground. I don’t think most of them can think through that additional step.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  AndyHce
December 22, 2021 7:03 pm

Eventually plastic will become so expensive that it’ll only be used for jewellery

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 23, 2021 7:10 am

One would hope not 🙂

Single use plastics are essential in medicine to reduce the risk of cross contamination whilst plastic implants and artificial joints etc are used inside the body with lower risks of rejection.

Remember too that petrochemicals provide the building blocks for most medicinal drugs. Nearly 99% of pharmaceutical feedstocks and reagents are derived from petrochemicals. No petrochemicals equals almost no drugs and massive die off (or is this what they want?)

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 22, 2021 10:33 pm

Not allowed to have plastic straws anymore.

Hivemind
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 23, 2021 12:18 am

There are an enormous number of anti-plastic greenies. From plastic bags bans to plastic straws and cutlery, the anti-plastic program is enormous and growing.

Hivemind
Reply to  Hivemind
December 23, 2021 12:19 am

Forgot the anti-styrofoam crowd.

Archer
Reply to  Hivemind
December 23, 2021 11:05 am

Of course, they all wear clothing made from plastic-derived fabrics. Cotton and wool are bad for the environment.

ATheoK
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 23, 2021 2:41 pm

You’ll notice sites where zealots camped while protesting, are littered with abundant trash piles of modern fibers and plastics made from fossil fuels.
The zealots themselves are dressed in synthetic shoes, synthetic clothing, without fur of course.
Zealot use of modern phones, laptops and communication devices/synthetics has not declined.

I suspect, the zealots will suffer the most withdrawal distress when the shut down mining and oil wells.

Kit P
Reply to  Andy May
December 23, 2021 6:47 pm

These are important questions. How much coal is needed? 

Just a finite amount that is well within an industrial world ability to produce. The biggest improvement to air quality when countries modernize is replacing home heating using coal/wood with electricity from coal power plants.

Steve Z
December 22, 2021 5:26 pm

It’s unlikely that the share of the world’s oil used to manufacture plastics will increase much beyond where it is today. Plastics can only be made from relatively light hydrocarbons, from ethane (C2H6, which can be cracked to ethylene) through about ethylbenzene (C8H10, which can be cracked to form styrene).

Most crude oils only contain about 10 to 20 volume% of such light hydrocarbons, and some of them are more suitable for blending into gasoline than to be polymerized in the plastics industry. The kerosene and diesel fractions (usually representing 30 to 50 volume % of crude oil) are easily converted to fuel, but cannot be used for plastics. Heavier fractions can be cracked into lighter molecules, but most of these are blended into gasoline, jet fuel, or diesel fuel, with very few lighter molecules suitable for making plastics.

Natural gas, which normally contains 80 to 90 volume % methane, is particularly useful to make ammonia. It also contains about 5 – 10% ethane, 2 – 5% propane, and small amounts of butanes, all of which can be distilled out of the methane, and can serve as feedstocks to the plastics industry. Most natural gas processors strive to obtain a product with at least 95% methane to be sold as fuel, and sell the remaining gases (or liquids) to industrial users seeking ethane, propane, or butanes. But the 8% figure quoted above is near the limit of the non-methane compounds that can be separated out of natural gas.

Doug Danhoff
December 22, 2021 6:08 pm

The true indicator that the greens are not really serious about alternate energy was obvious early when hydro electric was not considered rentable, and Nuclear power , the safest and cleanest was demonized .. It was all about money and control and remains thus unto today . This is why I pay no attention to my “carbon footprint” ( just like Gore)
it has never been about clean and renewable…It has always been about control of the money spent .

December 22, 2021 6:35 pm

Another major never mentioned consideration is asphalt. It is used for over 90% of sealed roads but derives largely from a 3% byproduct of oil refining. It’s service life is limited to a few decades before embrittlement by evaporation of volatile components requires its resurfacing. The only effective large scale alternative is concrete which is much more expensive and energy intensive, as well as requiring massive CO2 emissions to produce it. This appears likely to become a major problem with no apparent solution or even any recognition.

Eric Vieira
December 22, 2021 10:32 pm

I’ve been curious to find out how much increased use of plastics and steel went into all the disposable masks, syringes, vials, swabs etc… for the whole Corona business, of course including in all the extra energy that’s consumed to dispose of all the used stuff. I would guess the whole hype about plastic bags and straws also gets lost in the round-off.

Bjarne Bisballe
December 22, 2021 10:59 pm

One kilogram of virgin plastic granulate can be burned to make energy (appox. the same energy as i one kilogram of oil) – but how much energy was used to make that kilogram of virgin plastic granulate?

%d bloggers like this: