With world oil production about to peak and inexorably head toward steep decline, what fuels are available to meet rising global energy demands? That question, once thought to address a fairly remote contingency, has become ever more urgent, as a spate of books has drawn increased public attention to the imminent exhaustion of the economically vital world oil reserves. Deffeyes, a geologist who was among the first to warn of the coming oil crisis, now takes the next logical step and turns his attention to the earth's supply of potential replacement fuels. In "Beyond Oil," he traces out their likely production futures, with special reference to that of oil, utilizing the same analytic tools developed by his former colleague, the pioneering petroleum-supply authority M. King Hubbert.
The book includes chapters on natural gas, coal, tar sands and heavy oils, oil shale, uranium, and (although not strictly an energy resource itself) hydrogen. A concluding chapter on the overall energy picture covers the likely mix of energy sources the world can rely on for the near-term future, and the special roles that will need to be played by conservation, high-mileage diesel automobiles, nuclear power plants, and wind-generated electricity.
An acknowledged expert in the field, Deffeyes brings a deeply informed, yet optimistic approach to bear on the growing debate. His main concern is not our long-term adaptation to a world beyond oil but our immediate future: "Through our inattention, we have wasted the years that we might have used to prepare for lessened oil supplies. The next ten years are critical."
About the Author
Kenneth S. Deffeyes is Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. His previous book, "Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage," was published in 2001 by Princeton University Press.
"We are all hooked on oil, and oil is getting scarcer. Like it or not, changes are coming. But do we understand our choices, or even the variables that control our choices? Using aggressive analysis, common sense, and a liberal dash of humor, Deffeyes lays out our options. It's your life, your choices, your future; you can't afford to miss this book" --Brian J. Skinner, Eugene Higgins Professor of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University
"With his folksy style and penetrating vision, Deffeyes tells it like it is. This book is another nail in the coffin of the age of oil." --David Goodstein, Vice Provost, California Institute of Technology, and author of Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil
"Worldwide oil production is now in the process of peaking and will soon begin an irreversible decline. With compelling, down-to-earth reasoning, this book explains both why the decline of our most precious fuel is inevitable, and how challenging it will be to cope with what comes next." --Richard E. Smalley, University Professor, Rice University, and Nobel laureate in chemistry, 1996
"A valuable encore to Hubbert's Peak, this new book by Professor Deffeyes offers a wide-ranging overview of the world’s energy alternatives 'beyond oil.' Its crystal-clear prose, easily understood by the layman, is peppered with anecdotes, memories, and scientific insights, mirroring the author's half century of first-hand experience in the industry." --A.M. Samsam Bakhtiari, senior expert, National Iranian Oil Company
"In his new book, Professor Deffeyes stands on the world's peak oil output, like Moses peering from the mountaintop to the Promised Land. Beyond Oil is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced." --Matthew R. Simmons, chairman, Simmons & Company International