Doug Vining Don't forget bio-fuels

China has already expressed interest in converting a million busses to electric motors running on thermal engines burning solid or liquid bio-fuels. Although these fuels do burn they are considered carbon-neutral as they are derived from biomass feedstocks and not 'fossil' sources.
Posted: 18 August 2005 at 00:00

Brett Dawson RE: Don't forget bio-fuels

Bio-fuels will probably play a role in the transition from petroleum to hydrogen, but will probably not become a dominant force simply because projected demands will require insane amounts of land to be converted and dedicated to produce energy crops. The density of solar energy remains very low in comparison to fossil fuels. It makes much more sense to throw a lot of effort at DSM (Demand Side Management) and initiatives to achieve quantum leaps in energy efficiency. Bio-fuels are only carbon-neutral if they are farmed in a sustainable manner, and also consider maximising biomass use because all decomposing material produces methane which has a 20:1 heating ratio as compared to CO2 (so "carbon neutral" only really applies to CO2 equivalet activities like growth & combustion, but not decomposition). See for a good sumary of GHG issues.
Posted: 6 October 2005 at 13:58

Brett Dawson No Energy Solution?

I was at the IBSA (India Brazil SA) seminar in Rio earlier this year. It was the first time I heard someone stand up in a public forum and declare that the global energy demand in 2050 doesn't have a supply solution without support from fossil fuels (FF). We may be living in a microwave oven turned on "high" by then. Relative to all other options FF remain the cheapest option and will probably stay that way for a long time. China is under huge pressure to keep abreast of it's energy demand explosion. The only way China could turn their back on FF is if they decided that something else was more important than economic growth (which would need to be sacrificed). They may only consider this when their economy has overtaken the USA's in size, and/or when global demand becomes saturated. The damage by then may be significant, and it may also be too late to stave off significant climate change effects. Hydrogen is a beautiful concept except that it remains an energy carrier and is not a primary source of energy. Producing H2 from FF will be a very attractive cost-option (a lot more than nuclear) and will only succeed in displacing pollution from one geographic location to the next. An enormous nuclear expansion project may possibly make a difference but just think of the potential for nuclear material trading, smuggling, clandestine weapons production. Other difficulties are the 8-10 year project planning & execution lead time & investments required per facility.
Posted: 6 October 2005 at 14:39

Wolfgang Grulke RE: No Energy Solution?

A move from fossil fuels to nuclear for industrial energy is a real 20-year alternative for China and they certainly have the financial resources to make this a reality.

Secondly, China is the ONLY Country on the planet that has the financial resources (around $1 trillion in foreign reserves) to move to hydrogen (plus hybrid in the interim) as an energy resource for cars and trucks. As this MindBullet says, they have the finacial muscle to acquire the technology and roll out the new H-infrastructure over the next decade.

The only question is whether they have the political will.

If China does NOT do this they have a very dark polluted future in store. If they DO they will turn world markets on their head.
Posted: 7 October 2005 at 12:05

Wolfgang Grulke Sweden plans to be first oil-free economy

In an announcement in early February 2006, Sweden took the lead - they moust have read this MindBullet - although also opting for no increases in nuclear power! Read more at,,1704954,00.html
Posted: 27 March 2006 at 16:07

Wolfgang Grulke MIT Technology Review comments...4 January 2007

China's Coal Future: To prevent massive pollution and slow its growing contribution to global warming, China will need to make advanced coal technology work on an unprecedented scale.

Posted: 4 January 2007 at 08:41

Doug Vining Asian energy pact marred by lack of targets

Asian leaders signed an energy security pact yesterday that seeks to cut oil dependency and greenhouse gas emissions in some of the most polluted countries on the planet, but offers no concrete targets.
Posted: 16 January 2007 at 08:36

Neil Jacobsohn Nuclear Energy for the Developing World

New reactor technologies offer poorer nations cheap, safe, efficient power. Sanctions designed to prevent the proliferation of weapons impede their use. What would a better policy look like? MIT Technology Review, 27 February 2007.
Posted: 5 March 2007 at 20:40

Wolfgang Grulke UK Government toes the MindBullets line!

Almost exactly on cue, the UK government has been warned that it needs to "End use of fossil fuels in 20 years" - read the article here
Posted: 7 October 2008 at 11:33

Wolfgang Grulke China jump-starts green car market

Posted: 9 April 2009 at 13:07

Doug Vining China leads clean energy race

The New York Times reports China is leading the world in both solar panels and wind turbine manufacture, admittedly with foreign technology and investments.
Posted: 1 February 2010 at 14:02

Doug Vining China turing to nukes

President Hu Jintao wants non-fossil fuels to produce 15 percent of China's energy by 2020. Although the Chinese have spent plenty on wind turbines and solar panels, only a buildup of nuclear power can make that target reachable.
Posted: 3 December 2010 at 09:46

Doug Vining Carbon Crisis

Could it be that this scenario will emerge, and the collapse of value in coal, oil and gas companies would turn into another world financial crisis? According to this report, China has already said its use of coal will peak before 2020. That's not the same as decommiting from all fossil fuels, and I'm fairly sure their use of oil and gas will continue unabated, but it does lend credence to a declining demand for hard carbon.

On the other hand, in times of financial stress and opportunities for growth, countries like Mozambique and Namibia are not going to easily abandon their recent discoveries of significant oil and gas, and are probably banking on those resources to galvanize their economies.

I can't help feeling that the switch to new, cleaner sources of energy will be dictated by economic attractiveness rather than attempts at world governance. Ultimately, the carbon bubble will eventually burst, or perhaps just slowly deflate, but I think it's more likely to be a result of Black Swan innovation in the energy sector. Either way, will it create another crisis? Will we call it the Carbon Crisis of 20XX?
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Carbon Crisis") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 22 April 2013 at 09:51

Doug Vining Will China decommit from carbon?

Here's the first real indication that China could be a future leader in carbon emissions reduction, just like we suggested in this 2005 MindBullet. They are certainly leaders in total emissions these days, and if it increases until 2025, it will be a huge mountain to climb down from, but technology should be on their side, at least.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Will China decommit from carbon?") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 28 May 2013 at 21:32

Wolfgang Grulke The reality of strategic thinking

A post on the Guardian web site really brought me down to earth. After a hundred lucid comments in a debate about the future of rural broadband and BT, appeared this post:
"@mraparks 12 August 2013 8:31pm. Whoa, steady on! You're bringing foresight and logic into the discussion, now, and you know that's only going to befuddle and confuse the various boards of directors and our second-rate politicians."
Well said! I remember a similar reaction to this 2005 MindBullet.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "The reality of strategic thinking") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 13 August 2013 at 10:44

Doug Vining China to abandon fossil fuels

Beijing city is planning to dump coal as a fuel for electricity by 2020. That sounds uncannily like the MindBullet we published nine years ago!

Imagine if that scenario came to pass. It would certainly change the world in more ways than one. Personally I was never convinced that it was a workable scenario; after all, even natural gas is a fossil fuel. But if the gains from ever increasing solar power efficiency continue, perhaps it's not so unlikely.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "China to abandon fossil fuels") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 4 September 2014 at 18:10

Doug Vining China goes electric

We 'predicted' that China would de-commit from all fossil fuels by 2020. That's what our MindBullet said 12 years ago. Well, China is not going fossil free that soon, but they are on a declared strategy to dominate electric vehicles!
A FuturesForum post (titled: "China goes electric") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 11 September 2017 at 16:28
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