Are we ever going to abolish the use of fossil fuels completely?

Yes, largely though, and ‘ ever ‘ is of course also very long.

When an alternative energy source is offered cheaply enough and in a form usable for applications in which fossil fuels were previously used, it will be elected above the fossil fuel.That’s simply how the economy works.

In principle, in energy production, this could be quickly, if at least we embrace nuclear energy.Nuclear energy is the solution — always dangerous to talk about the solution, yet — which can make the polluting fossil fuels largely redundant.

In passenger cars, the tipping point may take place in the next decade.The energy for this must, of course, also be generated without fossil fuels.

For airplanes this will take longer, because the energy density of the batteries is still far too low. The major advantage of fossil fuels is the high energy density, which is very important for ‘ weight sensitive applications ‘ as airplanes.Perhaps the recent breakthrough at the KULeuven, whereby they have directly transformed solar energy into hydrogen, can change this, since hydrogen storage can be much closer, but I remain sceptical for the time being.

This is still difficult to foresee and is impossible to provide at all.It will depend on further technological, economic and political developments. But if solar energy is going to be much cheaper than today, say a factor of ten, and the volatility of it finds a solution, it can go in that direction. And no that is not so much a matter of abolishing, rather a matter of technological, economic and societal change, just as with the advent of the computer, the Internet and the GSM. And that change can take place faster than people are prepared to do. With all the consequences for those who owe their power to oil.

That is not to say that fossil sources will remain unused at all, they are likely to remain in use as raw materials for the chemical industry.

“Abolishing” is not necessary, with a factor of 10 reduction against 2060, the next generations would not give us any heavy responsibility.But we can make the equivalent of it! Hydrogen could replace the natural gas in the gas grid. For airplanes one could use methanol or derivatives of it. Methanol can also be extracted from renewable energy and CO2. The fossil energy in the production of the current batteries of the heavy electric cars is so high that the CO2 emission in fact does not diminish, but relocates to China. But with aircraft materials one can reduce the weight of the cars a factor 10, then one needs less batteries (F2E ultralight). One needs approx. 10 kWh of PV Energy to make a litre of methanol: the equivalent of 0.5 litres of gasoline. The lowest bid for PV Energy delivered was $0.0179/kWh in UAE, take factor 2 margin 2 * 2 * 20 * 0.0179 = 0.716 $/equivalent litre of gasoline. The oil should therefore barely rise in price honor it can become profitable. We can also do it in Belgium: The solar panels are now cheap: simply laying the roof, so one produces too much in the summer, where one can make methanol. Now it is a patchwork of panels, because when one fills the roof one produces “too much”. The excess must be delivered cheaply to the grid.

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