The Future for Oil – in Pursuit of a Reliable Alternative to Oil
The Future for Oil – in Pursuit of a Reliable Alternative to Oil - Griffith Hack
|11 April 2011|
|The price of crude oil is at an all time high. Whilst fields such as medicine, computing and communications have seen major innovation in the last three decades, no alternative effective, large-scale commercial solution has been found to fossil fuels.|
According to this study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the US Department of Energy, the US government spent nearly US$4 trillion on research on Research and Development (R&D) from 1961 to 2008. Of that amount US$172 billion was on energy technology development. However the study also found that since the mid 1990’s energy R&D has only accounted for 1% of all federal investment.
So what are the reasons for the lapse of innovations in the energy technology? Well, for one, oil is an attractive energy source, it is abundant, easy and cheap to produce, store, transport and can be converted to many usable forms of energy. For example, one litre of oil gives more energy than any other resource.
Many expert commentators believe that solar and natural gas sources represent the alternatives with the best potential for future development. Other experts are of the view that the achievable solution lies in fostering a culture that promotes the use of low carbon energy technologies, including by regulating a price for carbon emissions (such as in Australia with the Federal Government’s proposed Carbon Tax). It will certainly be interesting to see whether initiatives such as directly taxing emissions prompts innovation in the energy sector, and especially in finding an alternative to fossil fuels.
A more detailed discussion on this issue can be found in an article titled”Out of Fuel: Why Hasn’t Innovation Provided a Reliable Alternative to Oil?”. Click here to read the article..
|This article has also been published on our Clean IP blog.|