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Global coal production outlooks based on a logistic model
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Global Energy Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7104
Ludwig Bölkow Systemtechnik GmbH.
Ludwig Bölkow Systemtechnik GmbH.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Global Energy Systems.
2010 (English)In: Fuel, ISSN 0016-2361, E-ISSN 1873-7153, Vol. 89, no 11, p. 3546-3558Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A small number of nations control the vast majority of the world’s coal reserves. The geologically available amounts of coal are vast, but geological availability is not enough to ensure future production since economics and restrictions also play an important role. Historical trends in reserve and resource assessments can provide some insight about future coal supply and provide reasonable limits for modelling. This study uses a logistic model to create long-term outlooks for global coal production. A global peak in coal production can be expected between 2020 and 2050, depending on estimates of recoverable volumes. This is also compared with other forecasts. The overall conclusion is that the global coal production could reach a maximum level much sooner than most observers expect.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 89, no 11, p. 3546-3558
Keywords [en]
Future coal production, peak coal, logistic model, historical reserve and resource assessments
National Category
Physical Sciences Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Global Energy Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-127196DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2010.06.013ISI: 000280604000050OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-127196DiVA, id: diva2:329110
Available from: 2010-07-07 Created: 2010-07-07 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Coal and Oil: The Dark Monarchs of Global Energy: Understanding Supply and Extraction Patterns and their Importance for Future Production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coal and Oil: The Dark Monarchs of Global Energy: Understanding Supply and Extraction Patterns and their Importance for Future Production
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The formation of modern society has been dominated by coal and oil, and together these two fossil fuels account for nearly two thirds of all primary energy used by mankind.  This makes future production a key question for future social development and this thesis attempts to answer whether it is possible to rely on an assumption of ever increasing production of coal and oil. Both coal and oil are finite resources, created over long time scales by geological processes. It is thus impossible to extract more fossil fuels than geologically available. In other words, there are limits to growth imposed by nature.

The concept of depletion and exhaustion of recoverable resources is a fundamental question for the future extraction of coal and oil. Historical experience shows that peaking is a well established phenomenon in production of various natural resources. Coal and oil are no exceptions, and historical data shows that easily exploitable resources are exhausted while more challenging deposits are left for the future.

For oil, depletion can also be tied directly to the physical laws governing fluid flows in reservoirs. Understanding and predicting behaviour of individual fields, in particularly giant fields, are essential for understanding future production. Based on comprehensive databases with reserve and production data for hundreds of oilfields, typical patterns were found. Alternatively, depletion can manifest itself indirectly through various mechanisms. This has been studied for coal.

Over 60% of the global crude oil production is derived from only around 330 giant oilfields, where many of them are becoming increasingly mature. The annual decline in existing oil production has been determined to be around 6% and it is unrealistic that this will be offset by new field developments, additional discoveries or unconventional oil. This implies that the peak of the oil age is here.

For coal a similar picture emerges, where 90% of the global coal production originates from only 6 countries. Some of them, such as the USA show signs of increasing maturity and exhaustion of the recoverable amounts. However, there is a greater uncertainty about the recoverable reserves and coal production may yield a global maximum somewhere between 2030 and 2060.

This analysis shows that the global production peaks of both oil and coal can be expected comparatively soon. This has significant consequences for the global energy supply and society, economy and environment. The results of this thesis indicate that these challenges should not be taken lightly.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. p. 102
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 760
Keywords
oil production, coal production, depletion rate, forecasting, energy supply
National Category
Physical Sciences Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Global Energy Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-129295 (URN)978-91-554-7863-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-09-24, Polhemsalen, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Ångströmlaboratoriet, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-09-03 Created: 2010-08-10 Last updated: 2015-01-08Bibliographically approved

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