Līga Grīnberga
The end of the technology routine

The Olduvai theory or the transient-pulse theory of the Industrial Civilization was proposed in 1989. Based on the basis of quantitative data, the theory states that industrial civilization will last only 100 years (1930-2030).

According to the Olduvai theory, the world oil production per capita reached its peak in 1979. This theory also claims that the energy use per capita remained balanced up to 2008; and that after 2008 the energy growth will become roughly negative and after the Malthusian catastrophe the world population in the 2050 will decrease to 2 billion.

This unfortunate future prognosis is built on the available data of amount of fossil fuel reserves, production and usage, including the fact that electricity generation is mainly provided by oil, natural gas, coal and other non-renewable energy sources.
To avoid the sad scenario of the Olduvai theory in the future, civilization will be forced to research and develop alternative energy sources. This means the end for the routine technologies that use fossils. In order to survive, research is being performed on how to produce energy in new ways from renewable sources. Will these technologies save the world? We will witness this in the next 100 years of the new eco-industrial civilisation.

Dr. phys. Līga Grīnberga is a Researcher of the Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia. One of her research topics is the development of new composite materials that will be light, safe and cheap enough for production and will store sufficient amount of hydrogen. The other field of investigations is environmentally friendly hydrogen production from water using photo-catalytic reactions.