Source, The Telegraph: An angry farmer attempted to spray Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson with manure on Wednesday after she broke a court injunction to stage a protest against fracking on his land. Ms Thompson and her sister Sophie entered a field on the Lancashire farm, where energy company Cuadrilla is planning to frack for shale gas, and baked renewable energy-themed cakes in a Greenpeace-backed protest stunt. An injunction has been in place banning protesters from the land near Preston since 2014 .The farmer, who was said to be “very upset” about being prevented from getting on with work in the field, proceeded to drive a muck-spreader around the protesters, narrowly missing the Thompson sisters and their cakes. Emma Thompson said she was staging the so-called “Frack Free Bake Off” in order to “show the government that we will not allow fracking to scar our countryside and fuel yet more climate change”. “What better way to do that, here in Britain, than hold a Bake Off?,” she asked.
Oil shale as fuel has been used since prehistoric times. It can be made to burn without processing, albeit with a lot of smoke, kind of like burning tires. The first patent for extracting oil from oil shale was British Crown Patent 330 granted in 1694, so the process is hardly new. But coal turned out to be much cleaner and with a lot more heat energy per ton of ore, so for a long time coal was king. Then from about 1820 to 1900 whale oil was the in thing, used for lamps and making of margarine. After the discovery of crude oil 1859 in Oil City, Pennsylvania the age of petroleum took off in earnest.
Since then we have had about a 30 year supply of proven oil reserves, and we still have about a 30 year supply of proven reserves.
This is about to change. Oil shale has always been there, abundant but unrecoverable unless mined at considerable expense and environmental destruction. I remember oil shale mining in my childhood’s Sweden. Travelling even within ten miles from Kvarntorp the stench of hydrogen sulphides were horrendous, the trees died, but it was WWII and it was the only source of oil to be had. What remains today is an immense ash heap, still smoking after 60 years.
The change is coming in form of leaving the shale in the ground and heating it using microwaves. The process is not new, but recent advances in microwave technology makes it commercially viable. Fracking to release shale oil is already commercially profitable, but it uses immense amounts of water, so it is not practical in the arid West. Microwaving oil uses no water, only a lot of energy as part of the extraction process. It is profitable at oil prices above $50 per barrel. So now we have a 150 year supply of proven reserves.