Peak Oil Lecture

 (The following PowerPoint presentation includes lectures from 2005-2007)
The End of Fossil Energy
The Last Chance for Survival 

1) U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, speaking at his ground-breaking Sept. 26, 2005 Peak Oil conference in Frederick, Md. See By 2008, Rep. Bartlett had given at least 41 special addresses to the House floor in an attempt to alert his peers and the public about Peak Oil and the imminent world energy crisis.


2) Below is the basic Peak Oil poster from Rep. Bartlett’s office, showing the rise and projected fall of conventional and non-conventional oil, all in the time frame of two lifetimes. 

This poster shows a peaking of conven-tional oil about 2006 (See Now, in hindsight, maximum conventional oil production peaked at about 75 million barrels per day in May, 2005. Also shown in this slide is the peak of world oil discovery over 40 years ago in 1964. Oil cannot be pumped if it is not discovered first.

3) The “growing gap”.  This simple visual concept, taken directly from the C-Span coverage of Rep. Bartlett’s 2005 conference, shows the point even before Peak Oil where, for the first time since the beginning of the 140-year-old Oil Age, production could no longer keep up with exponentially increasing demand. At this point, the price of oil started to increase dramatically from less than $30 a barrel in 2005 to almost $120 a barrel as of April 2008. Not surprisingly, the price of nearly everything else related to energy, especially food, has also increased sharply.  Since world growth and transportation are directly related to oil energy, they also have come to a screeching halt. Few want to connect the dots and face the fact that growth cannot continue without the energy from oil . . . 

4) John Howe’s 2005 poster showing the rise and fall of all energy, including oil at about 40 per cent of our total energy (and 90 per cent of our transportation energy).  Together, the three finite fossil fuels – oil, natural gas and coal – comprise 86 per cent of our total energy.

John Howe’s 2006 “Triple Crisis” update poster shows the perfect storm of energy, population and ecological devastation coming to pass, with the advent of Peak Oil. These are not new concepts with many earlier visionaries trying to anticipate our dilemma.  Few would listen and not many more will listen now. 

6,7) Now we embark into the “solution” half of the complete presentation. Suggested are necessary actions at three levels (See Action on a NATIONAL level.

8) At right is a proposal for an idealized “20-mile radius”  nearly self-sufficient community 
for the post-oil future 
when transportation energy 
is no longer available.


9,10) suggests actions on a PERSONAL level (See Take Action) which will help the mega-crisis facing us while, at the same time, empowering individuals to take control of their own fate at a micro-level.

11) Now begins a series of John Howe’s operating concept vehicles.  These are built and tested to test the feasibility and performance of solar-powered motive power in the post-oil age. Ultimately, nearly all our energy requirements will revert back to the prime source, the sun.  Can dilute, sporadic solar power replace the high-energy and storage convenience of petro-fuels?  This is most serious for agriculture and transportation now almost entirely dependent on oil.  This photo shows the solar-powered golf cart with an on-board 120v Ac inverter making this fun vehicle a mobile generator-power plant.

12) is the 1955 solar-powered Cub.  See the Project Vehicles link on this website for further details on this and subsequent vehicles.

13) shows the solar-powered cub charging the solar-powered MG roadster which has up to a 100 mile range and maximum speed of 50 mph.

14) is the larger FORD 8N doing some serious disk harrowing on new crop-land just plowed by the same tractor in the photo below. 

15) is the Ford 8N plowing. Since these pictures were taken, the PV panels have been removed from the larger Ford tractor (as opposed to the Cub) because the incoming solar power is too limited in one 750 watt array to make it worthwhile to carry the panels.  Multiple stationary arrays with a total peak power of about two kilowatts would be necessary for this level of energy requirement.  The same is true with the MG. 

16) is a work-in-progress conversion of a 70-year-old Ford 9N tractor similar in size to the 8N in slides 15 and 16.  The main difference is the tooth-belt drive system giving higher electric motor RPM and eliminating the need for a rare, special, low-range transmission used in the 8N.

17,18) shows a 50-year-old gas-powered John Deere crawler. This typical Maine winter “drives home” our challenge of living in snow country in the winter.  Like flying, plowing snow can only be done with petro-fuels and will never be done again after the Oil Age. Bio fuels could theoretically do the job but will be far more critical as food.  For instance, one mile of highway,  plowed both sides over the winter into six foot snow banks, requires 10 to 20 gallons of liquid fuel, gone forever in the spring. This much-wasted energy would require about one-half acre of net soy-diesel just for ONE MILE!  We must think through our complete oil-age lifestyle.

19) is the acronym LEARN.  This is the latest attempt by John Howe to summarize a minimum of five actions; ALL of which must happen if we, at least in the U.S.A., have any hope of avoiding societal collapse in the very near future. This is a harsh prognostication, but attempts to deny or postpone the subject will only insure our fate.

  The 20-page free handout, The Triple Crisis of Civilization can be found on this website and is made available at John Howe’s personal appearances.  The book, “The End of Fossil Energy” can be ordered from  (See The End of Fossil Energy).