Discusses the role of engineers as society enters an Age of Limits — particularly with oil supplies.
Engineering in an Age of Limits: Welcome
Welcome to our blog Engineering in an Age of Limits. This blog is part of a group that are grouped under the The PSM Report. Posts to date include:
- Process Risk and Reliability Management;
- Plant Design and Operations;
- Offshore Safety Management; and
- Engineering in an Age of Limits (this one).
The “limits” that we refer to fall into three broad categories:
- Resources — of which oil is the most obvious and most critical.
- Environmental — carbon dioxide in the atmosphere receives the most attention but there are many other environmental issues such as ocean acidification and soil depletion.
- Money — the most abstract, yet maybe the most urgent of the limits.
Engineers had much to do with the creation of the industrial revolution (and the eventual depletion of oil reserves). And, as we move into the Age of Limits engineers will have both an opportunity and a responsibility to help create a new society and economic structure. The posts here will discuss how this might be done.
We are working on a book to do with Engineering in an Age of Limits.
The posts will generally fall into one of three categories:
- Explanations of Peak Oil basics such as the Hubbert Curve and ERoEI. These posts will be written for engineers, so they will not hold back on technical and mathematical concepts.
- Thoughts as to how society may change in the coming decades as oil resources deplete.
- The challenges and opportunities that engineers will face during those decades.
We have started a new series of posts that may become the basis of a book on the topic. The theme that threads through the posts is:
Engineers did not invent the steam engine — the steam engine invented engineers.
What will a post-oil society invent?
The current posts in this series are:
- Reverse Engineering
- Peak Forests
- The Mechanical World View
- Four Strands
- A Journey Part 1— Twilight
- A Journey Part 2 — Hubbert
- A Journey Part 3 — A Predicament
- A Journey Part 4 — Inconvenient Truths
- A Journey Part 5 — No Bankable Projects
- Denying Blackbeard — Part 1
- Denying Blackbeard — Part 2
- If wishes were horses . . .
- Renaissance Man and Climate Change
Older posts that discuss issues to do with the Age of Limits include the following:
- The One-Legged Stool
- The Cloud
- APEC Blue
- Career Advice
- Jack of All Trades
- We Hope It Rains
- Pop Quiz
- Nine Pounds of Gold
- The Newness of Safety
- A Magnificent Navy on Land
- The Exponential Function
- Hubbert the Optimist
Much excellent research on the topic of the Age of Limits has of course already been published, so this blog will include many references. As a starter, we have found the following sites to be invaluable: