Problem

Underutilization of oil shale as an energy source

Nature:
The industrial process needed to extract the oil demands hot water, making it much more expensive and less energy-efficient than conventional oil. The mining operation is extremely damaging to the environment. As of 1997 no oil from oil shale is being produced anywhere in the world. A variety of processes have been tried. All have failed to be economically viable.
Incidence:
Oil shales are seen as the US government's energy stopgap. They exist in large quantities in ecologically sensitive parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah at varying depths. A number of oil companies and the US Bureau of Mines have made substantial efforts but with no commercial results.
Claim:
Until the conventional oil of the world is largely depleted, oil shale and oil sand deposits are likely to represent only a very small fraction of world production. The production will always be insignificant relative to potential demand.
Broader Problems:
Unexplored energy alternatives
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
22.04.2005 – 00:00 CEST