Graham Palmer, author of the recent book “Energy in Australia: Peak oil, solar power and Asia’s economic growth” (reviewed on BNC here), has just done an excellent ABC radio presentation on Robyn William’s “Ockham’s Razor” show. This is Robyn’s intro:
Robyn Williams: Now I wasn’t in the room at the time, but it is claimed that George W Bush once complained about the Arabs: “Why is our oil under their sand?” Well, whether he said it or not, the question has become even more stark as the Middle East gets even more fractious. Would you really want to depend much longer on secure oil supplies from the region? As for coal: As more and more coal mines close in Australia and disasters recur from China to Turkey, you’d have to ask whether that technology is also about to hit the ashcan of history. Perhaps, but not yet, says Graham Palmer in Melbourne. He’s an engineer and has done research in the field of energy futures. And by the way, bear in mind that PV stands for photovoltaic.
You can download the audio and read the transcript (with supporting references) here.
But there’s more! Graham has just written a new analysis on electric vehicles for BNC. On this topic we can find opinions ranging from “EVs are great because they’ll mop up daytime solar!” through to “EVs are great because you can charge them cheaply on overnight off peak!”. Confusion reigns…
The take-up of electric vehicles in Australia – rethinking the battery charging model
Graham Palmer, July 2014
Between 2007 and 2013, the global motor car fleet grew by 3.6% annually, reaching 1.1 billion , but during the same period, the annual growth of crude oil including total liquids averaged only 0.9% . Driven by demand in China, but also Russia, India, and Brazil, the growth is projected to continue indefinitely , but given a crude oil price of around USD$100 bbl, we have already entered a prolonged period of inelastic supply, and regardless, capital investment in the oil supply industry has tripled in the past 10 years .
It is obvious that there simply isn’t the ready supply of conventional liquids to accommodate the growth of motorcars. Further, any discussion of the sustainability of motorcars should encompass a broader discussion of urban planning , public transport, and a re-examination of the travel task . Comprehensive assessments of the life-cycle analysis of EVs shows that they can be better than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, but still a long way from “sustainable” [7,8]. But whether we like it or not, the egg has been scrambled, and motorcars will continue to be the primary mode of transport in Australia for the foreseeable future.