by Luis de Sousa
Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 05:58:08 AM EST
This is a digest of an article posted at The Oil Dum : Europe on the Energy Susbstitution Model developed by Cesare Marchetti in the 1970s at IIASA. Using data from the latest BP Statistical Review the evolution of the energy market is compared with the model to understand why the Hubbert Peak of fossils fuels represents a problem today.
Cesare Marchetti is a renowned Italian researcher that started working in the field of Nucelar Energy in the 1950s. We would be at Euroatom in the 1960s and moved on to the IIASA in the 1970s, where we would stay for life. We would broaden his studies to Energy Systems, Transport Systems, Population Dynamics and much more.
Among his many research projects, those that would have more impact would be the concept of hydrogen as an energy vector (later name Hydrogen Economy), the concept of atomic isle and the self sinking of nuclear residue. While at IIASA he developed the Energy Substitution Model, that explained the energy market dynamics.
Using data for Wood, Coal, Oil and Natural Gas, Marchetti found that the long term market penetration of these energy sources was ruled by logistic growth and decline. In his first paper on the Energy Susbstitution Model [pdf] from 1977 the results published were these:
The Energy Substitution Model identified by Marchetti in 1977. Click for full image.
This chart showed a very important thing: all of the Industrial Age energy sources follow a similar trend when entering the market. It takes 40 to 50 years for an energy source to go from 1% to 10% of market share and an energy source that eventually comes to occupy half of the market will take almost a century to do so, from the epoch it reaches 1%.
Using the data from the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy, it is interesting to compare the 1970s model with what happened henceforth:
Although overall the market didn't follow the model, it is essential to observe that the growth trends were only broke during the Oil crisis, Nuclear energy's spectacular growth occurred between 1975 and 1985. Besides this brief event never the growth trend was surpassed.
The last time an energy source crossed over 1% share of the energy market was 35 years ago. The last time an energy source crossed over 10% share of the market was more than 50 years ago. This is why the Hubbert Peak is a problem today.
Read the full text at The Oil Drum Europe.
The early Energy Substitution Model is described and analyzed in detail in the following papers:
Marchetti, C., 1977
Primary Energy Substitution Models: On the Interaction Between Energy and Society,
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 10:345--356
Marchetti, C., 1979
Energy Systems -- The Broader Context,
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 14:191--203
Marchetti, C., and Nakicenovic, N., 1979
The Dynamics of Energy Systems and the Logistic Substitution Model part I part II,
RR-79-13, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria