Shell Says It Could Take Until 2070 Before the Roads Go “Nearly Oil-Free”


News Lens Scenarios Presented by Shell

News Lens Scenarios Presented by Shell

Shell Oil Company recently put out what it calls its “New Lens Scenarios.”

Shell Says That This is the Future Energy Outlook by Source

Shell Says That This is the Future Energy Outlook by Source

Among other topics, Shell’s “New Lens Scenario” examines the future of energy.

Of particular interest to us is Shell’s outlook in the automotive sector:

“By 2070, the passenger road market could be nearly oil-free and towards the end of the century an extensive hydrogen infrastructure rollout displaces oil demand for long haul and heavy loads. By this time, electricity and hydrogen may dominate, and affordable, plug-in, hybrid hydrogen vehicles offer the ultimate in flexibility and efficiency.”

2070 is a long ways off, but how often do you hear an oil company saying that the passenger vehicle market “could be nearly oil-free?”

The accompanying graphics show more of what Shell believes will become of the passenger transport and energy sectors in the years that lie ahead.

We’d like to see hydrogen vanish in the future, but Shell says it’ll be here for the long haul.

Shell's Transport Sector Outlook

Shell’s Transport Sector Outlook

Source: Shell (PDF)

Categories: General


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24 Comments on "Shell Says It Could Take Until 2070 Before the Roads Go “Nearly Oil-Free”"

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I don’t have anything against hydrogen if it were actually economically viable. I just don’t see that happening. What I am seeing are major leaps forward for electrified transport and I’m quite sure that is the future.

If we can come up with a better, less-expensive way of creating, storing, and delivering hydrogen, that would be ideal. Right now, according to a story on NHK, building a hydrogen filling station costs around USD $5 million. This is because the hydrogen must be stored in a supercooled, liquid state. (I didn’t know this!) The cooling facilities take a lot of energy just to store the fuel. Unless the entire process — end to end — is solar powered, it’s not a good fuel choice compared to electricity.

Water + electricity –> Hydrogen –> vehicle –> converted to electricity

We have about a 30% ROI on electricity used for hydrolysis and storage.

Hydrogen offers an ‘replacement’ fuel for Shell to sell to the public, which is why they are overly ‘optimistic’ about it’s future. But battery electric power is the future for passenger cars. Fueled by the unlimited power of the sun.

Just think about it, today we have electric vehicles that can travel 300 miles on a charge. That’s more range that many current passenger cars, and should be the norm for passenger cars by 2020. Big rigs and fleets are switching to the abundant supply of natural gas, which costs about $1 per gallon equivalent. Displacing diesel. Natural gas/electric hybrid big rigs is the next step, which allows coolers to run on electric power, while the truck runs on cleaner natural gas.

EVs overwhelmingly charge at night. The sun will only play a role if we can get the round trip, amortized cost of storing electricity down to a couple cents per kWh (on top of the cost of solar itself).

Right now, batteries are having trouble convincing the public that it’s better than the ~$0.30 per mechanical kWh from gasoline, and it’ll take a technological miracle to bring cost down to, say, $50/kWh with 10k cycles.

It’ll be nuclear power that wins out in the end. I’m going to guess that by 2025, there will be enough new designs demonstrated that nothing else will come close in cost or environmental impact.

Why would anyone go through the trouble of storing the electricity generated during the day, when it’s the most needed and expensive, to use at night, when it’s cheap and plentiful?
No storage required, so the battery costs 0$.

Agreed io, but there is always the possibility that the utility companies lobby to end buying the power that we generate.

Yup. Shell and their ilk will be all ready to gouge the world with hydrogen by then.

Exception Germany: Last nuclear power plant is switched off by 2022. Not needed. Currently 25% renewable. Plan for 2020 is 35-40% renewable. Plan for 2050 is 80-100% renewable. No Shell or Gasprom needed here in 2050 anymore nationwide. No Dependencies to Putin or someone else.

And automagically the grid stabilizes itself.

Sure, “not needed” if you want to keep using lots of natural gas and don’t care about the enormous raw materials needed for wind/solar compared to nuclear. Hell, Germany is increasing coal output right now to deal with nuclear shutdowns.

Wind is highly correlated over geographically huge regions. Pretending that you can just sell excess to the grid and magically get it back when you need gets you nowhere.

If wind finds a way to get down to 2c per kWh (i.e. people build them for $50/yr revenue per installed kW), then I’ll start believing that we can do a 3x overbuild to cross 80%. Otherwise, renewable penetration is dependent on a miraculous discovery for cheap energy storage, which we’ve been searching a century for.

There is a minimum amount of power everyone uses 24/7. That number is different for everyone, but “if” you have the space for solar panels EVERYONE should build to this minimum number. This one is a given. We are entering the age of natural gas. It is a transition age that gets us to whatever comes next. During this age, the renewables are depending on selling excess back to the grid. As you stated, this model can not continue forever. There are studies that state that the energy storage breakthrough is inevitable. We have been waiting on the break though for a century this is true, but never in the past century has so much money and time been devoted to a solution on a global level. Give enough engineers- enough time – and enough money (which is being done on a global scale) and energy storage will indeed be inevitable. I have nothing against nuclear either, fission or fusion, and believe it will have it’s place too. That is until the uranium runs out. It is a finite resource. Natural gas owns the next 20-40 years and then, IMO we enter the electric age. Keep in mind, there are… Read more »

The Sun is a finite resource, but I’m not worried about it running out. I’m equally unconcerned about nuclear running out.

Way way off, even using their usual technique of just extrapolating current trends.The economics of the plugin car just can’t be beat for day to day driving.

The money they pay to politician is missing in the chart

Lol. As long as they are using natural gas to crack the hydrogen….


I’ll be very satisfied if I am the only human to drive electric and pass up every gas station. I know there are many more out there!

Satan says he’s not sure this God thing will work out 🙂

What’s funny is starting out in May this year I saw no EV’s and now it’s November and I see a plug in car every other day. At the same time the local news papers now have advertisements for plug ins and EV’s at least three types of them. While at the same time I remember watching programs in the 1990’s and early 2000’s about the Hydrogen Economy. Ten years later though I have not seen a single Hydrogen Car on the road. What is also going on now what they fail to take into account is that natural gas will most likely run out by 2030 with all the drilling and them using it in massive 1300 mega watt plus power plants. Along with that global oil use is skyrocketing with China and India so I think it will run out by 2030 to or it will be so expensive that we can’t afford it. Not to mention what is going on is the EV”s are taking off a lot faster then I thought they would in that they are punching their way into gasloin and oil hard core areas such as Central Virginia away from strong holds like… Read more »

I’m a critic of hydrogen but in the long-run, we’ll need it as a long distance fuel as oil really starts depleting. But for now . . . it is just not economically. Plug-in hybrids do everything a FCV does but better (OK they pollute more.)

FCVs argue too that they are the real zero emission vehicle without discussing what it takes to actually generate hydrogen or what the cost involves for distributing the fuel. Because hydrogen has less energy per unit volume, distribution costs are higher than those for gasoline. Most hydrogen is produced either on-site or near point of use, usually at large industrial sites. Distribution arrives by pipeline, high-pressure tube trailers, or liquefied hydrogen tankers. Pipeline is the least expensive way to distribute hydrogen; the last two, while more expensive, can be transported using different modes of transportation – truck, railcar, ship, or barge

Lets see… Use electricity to generate hydrogen, so it can be turned back into electricity via a fuel cell. Retarded. :p

By 2030 all cars will be plug-in vehicles of some sort because of the demand and eventually because of a mandatory requirement of EV mode in the city.

This leads with a 10 years delay to almost zero pure thermal car in 2040 not 2070.

1956…National Cash Register predicts that by 2013 there will be “almost no use for cash registers.”

They may not have been that far off… it may not be THAT long before we pay for everything through our cell phones or (gasp) face recognition.