Economic pressure has wrought a revolution in energy wastage reduction for static energy use. Every factory today is built with an eye toward energy efficiency simply because it impacts directly on the bottom line. This has been underway for over thirty years and will naturally continue.
This leaves us with the real problem of wastage in personnel transport. That does not mean driving slower or the like. The fundamental difficulty is weight. The customer wants his ton of comfort and utility. I do not see any way that we are going to change that. We can only make it inconvenient for most to drive to work and we can make public transport super convenient.
Nothing we do is going to end the fact that the consumer wants this type of asset.
This means that the design parameters will continue to call for a ton of weight to transport 200 pounds of cargo. Our transportation is costing us ten times what is necessary in terms of energy.
Design and technology is whittling away at the weight problem.The only problem with that is that a lighter vehicle becomes cheaper sending the customer upmarket to larger vehicles. The point is that before the century is out, mankind is going to own several billion personal transportation devices. All the innovation in the world will only make them larger and lighter.
The only place in a car were we can lose weight is in the power train principally perhaps by converting to electric wheels and a minimized power source. The problem of course is the minimized power source. We are still nowhere near a successful design strategy to replace what is now on the road. At least the hybrid philosophy promises to give us a large leg up once it fully matures.
So we are at least going the right direction. Our vehicles will squeeze the maximal millage out.
The task of feeding these horses comes back on our shoulders. And so far we are really stuck with oil products. All other available quick fixes is a small percentage of our needs. We simply cannot grow enough ethanol, we will never convert cellulose, and we cannot store static power in an effective manner.
In fact the only light on the horizon is the use of algae to produce biodiesel. It has the theoretical capability to produce enough biodiesel to satisfy all our needs without disrupting the agricultural economy.
The first experiments are under way and we are hearing about projected yields that are ten times any oilseed crop.
We can draw one conclusion though. All the available transportation oil will be gone over the next one hundred years whatever we hope to do unless replaced very soon by algae sourced oil.