The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.
—Sheikh Yamani, Saudi oil minister, 1962–1986
The above quote from the former Saudi oil minister is rather well known, and it is popular among those who believe that technology will inevitably solve the problem of oil depletion. In fact, the Stone Age ended because the Bronze Age began. Thus, the implication is that the Oil Age will end because of the rise of the Fusion Age or the Solar Age or the Biofuels Age.
This chapter examines some of the contenders that seek to displace ...