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Issues in fuel supply and utilisation

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Xavier Moya.

The talk will first give a sketch of the development of fuel production from the early industrial period to the late 20th Century. The contribution made by coal to industrialisation itself will be emphasised, as will benefits resulting when oil started to become available in about 1870. Expansion of the oil industry alongside car manufacture in the early 20th Century will be discussed as will the diversion of some crude oil products to petrochemical manufacture at about the same period.

The speaker has made energy-return-on-energy-invested (EROEI) for crude oil his primary research interest since about 2007 and there have been many resulting publications. The term EROEI is fairly self-explanatory and its importance obvious. What would be the value in raising a barrel of oil from the ground if the energy required to raise it was equivalent to the energy released on the burning of two barrels of oil? It will be shown in the talk that matters are not quite as simple as that because some sources of energy, although they would have to feature in a formal thermodynamic energy balance, need not feature in an EROEI analysis. Whilst crude oil will be central to the discussion of EROEI , other fuels including biodiesels will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Science Society talks series.

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