Peak Oil News: Energy for the future

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Energy for the future

With oil demand growing faster than supplies, America will have to develop renewable energy sources while cutting consumption — and Georgia Tech plans to put itself at the center of that effort.

"The solution is not in finding more oil, because there isn't going to be any more to find," said Sam Shelton, an associate professor at the university's Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. "The only answer is technology."

Shelton, who has been doing energy technology research at Georgia Tech for 30 years, is among a growing number of experts who believe global oil production is near a peak and soon will begin to decline.

"With dwindling oil supplies, we're going to see higher and higher energy prices," he said. "We see the energy situation as being the technological challenge of the coming decade."

Some experts believe oil producers are many years away from maximizing output. But Shelton said that even if the peak is not in the immediate future, the outcome is inevitable and action should be taken sooner rather than later.

"The only debatable point is when it will occur, but we must realize it takes at least 20 years to completely change our energy system's infrastructure," he said. "Even the optimists predict peaking within this 20 years, which means we are already late in starting to adjust."


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