New Book Available - Life After Fossil Fuels

A new book is now available from Springer by author Alice Friedemann titled Life After Fossil Fuels - A Reality Check on Alternative Energy.

The really great thing about this book is the fact that it explains so much about not only how society is powered today, what products are made from this energy, and what the future will look like, but also precisely WHY alternative energy from technological devices will fall way short of the mark with regard to powering society once fossil fuels become impossible to extract because the net energy they provide is equal to the amount energy required to extract them (making them an energy sink rather than an energy source).

Alice J. Friedemann is the creator of Ms. Friedemann is perhaps best known for her book When Trucks Stop Running – Energy and the Future of Transportation published by Springer, and Peak Soil, which was edited by David Pimentel at Cornell, Tad Patzek at U.C. Berkeley, and Walter Youngquist (author of Geodestinies).

This book is a reality check of where energy will come from in the future. Today, our economy is utterly dependent on fossil fuels. They are essential to transportation, manufacturing, farming, electricity, and to make fertilizers, cement, steel, roads, cars, and half a million other products.

One day, sooner or later, fossil fuels will no longer be abundant and affordable. Inevitably, one day, global oil production will decline. That time may be nearer than we realize. Some experts predict oil shortages as soon as 2022 to 2030. What then are our options for replacing the fossil fuels that turn the great wheel of civilization?

Surveying the arsenal of alternatives – wind, solar, hydrogen, geothermal, nuclear, batteries, catenary systems, fusion, methane hydrates, power2gas, wave, tidal power and biomass – this book examines whether they can replace or supplement fossil fuels.

The book also looks at substitute energy sources from the standpoint of the energy users.  Manufacturing, which uses half of fossil fuels, often requires very high heat, which in many cases electricity can't provide. Industry uses fossil fuels as a feedstock for countless products, and must find substitutes. And, as detailed in the author's previous book, When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation, ships, locomotives, and heavy-duty trucks are fueled by diesel. What can replace diesel?

Taking off the rose-colored glasses, author Alice Friedemann analyzes our options. What alternatives should we deploy right now? Which technologies merit further research and development? Which are mere wishful thinking that, upon careful scrutiny, dematerialize before our eyes?

Fossil fuels have allowed billions of us to live like kings. Fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, we changed the equation constraining the carrying capacity of our planet. As fossil fuels peak and then decline, will we fall back to Earth? Are there viable alternatives?

Update: While on my recent trip, I was able to read this book within the first four days of my trip. Sure, I could have extended the amount of time by reading less per day, but I couldn't put the book down. Spoiler Alert: Will we fall back to Earth? Yes. Are there viable alternatives? Short answer: No. Not to keep society functioning as it is today. We are about to travel down the Seneca cliff through perpetual degrowth caused by a lack of surplus energy. I don't want to spoil any further details for anyone who wants to investigate this book further, as it WILL keep anyone interested in energy and resource decline or ecological overshoot or any of the myriad symptom predicaments on the edge of his or her seat! This truly is an exceptional book!


  1. This looks to be an interesting and timely book. But the price of purchase is ridiculous. Way, way, way beyond my means.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What Would it Take for Humanity to Experience Radical Transformation?

Welcome to Problems, Predicaments, and Technology

More Cognitive Dissonance

Denial of Reality

So, What Should We Do?

Fantasies, Myths, and Fairy Tales

The Myth of The "Energy Transition"

What is NTHE and How "near" is Near Term?

Why The "War" on Climate Change is Bipolar