TABLE 4.1 Fossil Fuel Reserves


Recoverable Reserves (Gigaton Carbon)a

Reserve life at current consumption rate (years)b

Reserve life at projected GDP growth (years)c





Natural Gas








aSOURCE: Energy Information Administration website (

bEstimated reserves divided by current consumption

cSOURCE: Population trends for each geographic sector of the world were taken from the Population Reference Bureau website ( and GDP per Capita for every country were taken from a table at Estimates were made for how fast GDP/Capita (in constant dollars) might grow in each country, and were then multiplied by the expected population growth in each country and summed for the whole world to get a ratio for how energy demand will grow (energy demand grows historically at half the rate of GDP growth). Provided courtesy of Jeffrey Siirola.

  • Continually reduce the energy intensity of the CPI towards practical minimum levels, with the obvious benefit of reducing the cost to manufacture

  • Reduce dependence on the increasingly costly and unreliable supply of fossil fuels

  • Allow the greater use of renewable energy resources, including solar energy and biomass-derived energy

  • Reduce the environmental impact by decreasing carbon emissions


One area of opportunity for research and development in sustainability for the chemical industry has to do with improving energy efficiency and reducing the energy intensity of the CPI. Well known endeavors towards reduction of energy intensity involve continuous improvements and optimization of existing processes and operating practices, heat recovery and heat integration methods (including co-generation of electric power and steam), selection and use of equipment with enhanced mechanical and electrical efficiencies. Greater investments are being made to capture and use currently wasted natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). At the workshop, several other ideas for reducing the energy intensity of the chemical and allied process industry were suggested. Several of these ideas are already in use at some level but require further research and development to achieve breakthrough inno-

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