Petroleum Substitutes

The scale of global fossil fuel consumption is massive. While fossil fuel consumption continues to increase to sustain our growing population and the advancement of developing nations most of this increase in consumption comes from coal and natural gas. Coal and gas production rates are currently increasing faster than consumption rates. For petroleum oil however, consumption has grown faster than oil production in the same period largely due to the plateau in production of conventional oil; a harbinger of some major challenges and changes to the future energy mix. The petroleum industry can exploit a range of feedstock for the production, processing and transformation of liquid hydrocarbons, of which conventional oil has, until recently, been the cheapest and most readily accessible.  A significant factor in the choice of future feedstock will be the impact on global CO2 emissions for which targets have been set by many governments suggesting a trend that is likely to increase. If effective, these targets would impose a market premium increasingly favouring CO2-neutral feedstock, including fuels derived from algae.

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