tions that drive the need for the development of the new chemistries and processes for a sustainable future:

  1. Where is the fuel needed to support the energy demands of the economy and quality of life that the developed world currently enjoys (and the developing world—especially rapidly developing China and India1—is striving for) going to come from?

  2. What feedstock sources are going to be used in the future to produce the basic chemical building blocks of the chemical enterprise (which are required for the production of materials and products consumers demand)?

Drivers for Change

The current prognosis for the fossil fuel economy in terms of global supply over the next 20 years is good. According to a recent analysis2 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “For the forecast period out to 2025, there is sufficient oil to meet worldwide demand. Peaking of world oil production is not anticipated until after 2030.” The EIA also estimates adequate supplies of natural gas over the next 60 years, and coal supplies for 100 years or more. However, this is an optimist picture, because it largely assumes a business-as-usual market environment, with no disruptions to these supplies from geopolitics, weather, or regulatory controls on using fossil fuels. The current challenge is about the amount of hydrocarbon that will be available over the next 20 years, and the sustainability of producing and transforming that hydrocarbon into useful feedstocks.

Fossil Fuel Quality and Security

Crude oil quality3 is changing significantly as is the political stability of the areas that have oil versus those who use oil (Table 3.1), presenting considerable challenges for U.S. national security. For example, the United States currently depends heavily on Middle Eastern nations for oil sup-

1  

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, China is world’s second largest energy consumer (after the United States), and India is the world’s sixth.

2  

Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2005, DOE/EIA-0484(2005), p. 29 http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/index.html.

3  

High quality (light sweet) crude oil is low in hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide and easier to refine, and provides high yields of high-value products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel.



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