The Good News
Regardless of the challenges, non-fossil fuel system substitution for the current ICE technology is technologically viable. The major challenge is how to produce enough of these substitute non-fossil systems to perform the same tasks as before, on a global scale. There are solutions:
- Today, a lot of secondary materials, such as furnace ash, smelter slag, and industrial process by product dust, are sent for studies to examine their potential to contain industrially useful metals and minerals. There is enormous potential for this, which is being developed in the Circular Economy.
- In parallel to the electric vehicle fleet, a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell powered transport network could be useful. The report suggests that all short-range vehicle transport should be electrified and all long range transport and freight transport were to be powered with a hydrogen fuel cell system. This will require extra capacity from the electrical power grid.
- Biofuels may be the most sensile way to keep aviation going and biomass can be used to produce bioplastics, replacing a proportion of the existing plastics industry.
- In the manufacturing industry, remaining hydrocarbon energy could be used to secure the time to develop the new industrial ecosystem.
- Solar and geothermal cannot directly replace heating applications. Nuclear power can be expanded moderately from the current capacity to support some industrial operations and heating buildings through winter, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.
To find out more, download the full report here which includes six scenarios of the scale and system size of non-fossil fuel alternatives.