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When will our oil reserves run out?




Photo: Varodrig, CC-BY-SA 3.0

As we all know, oil reserves are limited. However, experts do not agree on exactly when global oil reserves will run out. Until the 1980s, it was expected that the reserves would be used up by the turn of the century, but in fact most of the reserves had not even been identified by then. The oil fields that have been discovered in recent years tend to be small and difficult to reach, but these new discoveries do mean that it is difficult to calculate accurately how much oil is left. Whatever the case, it is high time that the world switched to alternatives – no matter how good or bad current forecasts are, all of the reserves will be exhausted one day. That is why scientists are conducting research on alternatives and hoping to produce fuel from biomass such as straw or even organic waste in the future.

Prof. Dr. Daniela Thrän, Head of the Department “Bioenergy” at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Doris Böhme, Head of Press and Public Relations at the UFZ, and Paul Trainer, Press and Public Relations Department of the Deutschen Biomasseforschungszentrums (DBFZ) answered this question.