So, assuming the Peak Oil camp is on to something, what's the likelihood for a disruption-free transition to another energy source that can replace the energy output we currently enjoy from oil? There's no shortage of promising claims from new laboratory experiments, and there is a lot of optimism in political and entrepreneurial circles that renewable, alternative forms of energy (wind, solar, biofuels, etc) may be able to fill the "energy gap" in time. How realistic are these hopes?
Not very, says Robert Rapier, energy specialist and Chief Technology Officer of Merica International.
The problem is one of return on invested energy. It is extremely difficult to create fuels with the same energy-density Nature has concocted over thousands of millennia without using up as much (or more) energy in the process.