Try to forget climate change for just a moment. If that was somehow no longer an issue (e.g. if Al Gore actually did make it up so that he could buy a giant house), Peak Oil still dictates that we’ll soon need to find other ways to generate energy and/or greatly modify our model of civilization and of opulence. The recent oil rig explosions have been just more icing on a dinosaur-shaped cake that’s been sitting in the fridge for a long time. However! An idea just came to me in a violent flash of yellow and orange light.
While Peak Oil means that oil is getting scarcer, burning oil rigs seem to paradoxically becoming more plentiful.As such, why not harness their combustive powers for something constructive? Think of how much energy is released in a single oil rig explosion… now, what if we could capture and distribute that energy across the power grid? Think of all the homes we could power!
And it doesn’t just work for power generation, but fuel as well! If your car burns gasoline, the gasoline ignites in a sequence of tiny explosions and moves the car along. Now imagine that you’ve somehow managed to fit an oil rig in your tank, and that you burn that. The oil rig ignites in an enormously powerful explosion, enough to send you to Timbuktu and back on a single rig.
The only downside is that you would have to refuel often… basically any time you wanted to move the car, unless you had it hooked up to a very large battery. However, it would be excellent for long trips. It could also revolutionize air travel, in the sense that if not properly contained, it could blow us all sky-high.
As I see it, oil rigs are not a “clean-burning” technology yet, but they could be. The technology still needs to be refined to eliminate the production of major environmental pollutants such as wreckage, oil slicks, and choking black clouds of apocalyptic smoke. However, I think we could easily do this… we just need to, oh, I don’t know, use a lot of dynamite or something.
So, all in all, I’d say it’s about as feasible than Clean Coal. Give or take.