Robert L. Hirsch
Robert L. Hirsch is a former senior energy program adviser for Science Applications International Corporation and is a Senior Energy Advisor at MISI and a consultant in energy, technology, and management. His primary experience is in research, development, and commercial applications. He has managed technology programs in oil and natural gas exploration and petroleum refining, synthetic fuels, fusion, fission, renewables, defense technologies, chemical analysis, and basic research, for example the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor.
Hirsch has served on numerous advisory committees related to energy development, and he is the principal author of the report Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management, which was written for the United States Department of Energy.
Hirsch directed the US fusion energy program during the 1970s evolution of the Atomic Energy Commission (including initiation of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor), through the Energy Research and Development Administration to the present Department of Energy. In addition to his role in development of fusion energy by magnetic confinement, Hirsch was also interested in inertially confined fusion.
His previous management positions include:
- Senior Energy Program Advisor, SAIC (World oil production)
- Senior Energy Analyst, RAND (Various energy studies)
- Vice President of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
- Vice President and Manager of Research and Technical Services for Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) (Oil and gas exploration and production).
- Founder and CEO of APTI, a roughly $50 million/year company now owned by BAE Systems. (Commercial & Defense Department technologies).
- Manager of Exxon’s synthetic fuels research laboratory.
- Manager of Petroleum Exploratory Research at Exxon. (Refining R & D).
- Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) responsible for renewables, fusion, geothermal and basic research. (Presidential Appointment).
- Director of fusion research at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and ERDA.
Hirsch has served as a consultant and on advisory committees for government and industry. He is past Chairman of the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academies, has served on a number of National Research Council committees, and is a National Associate of the National Academies. In recent years, he has focused on problems associated with the peaking of world conventional oil production and its mitigation.
In 2008, Hirsch stated that declines in world oil supply caused proportionate declines in world GDP. His suggested framework for mitigation planning included:
"(1) a Best Case where maximum world oil production is followed by a multi-year plateau before the onset of a monotonic decline rate of 2-5% per year; (2) A Middling Case, where world oil production reaches a maximum, after which it drops into a long-term, 2-5% monotonic annual decline; and finally (3) a Worst Case, where the sharp peak of the Middling Case is degraded by oil exporter withholding, leading to world oil shortages growing potentially more rapidly than 2-5% per year, creating the most dire world economic impacts."
Hirsch holds 14 patents and has over 50 publications in the energy field.
- Hirsch, Robert L. (February 27, 1979). "Method of mounting a fuel pellet in a laser-excited fusion reactor". US Patent 4,142,088.
- Hirsch, Robert L. et al. (November 6, 1990). "Coal seam discontinuity sensor and method for coal mining apparatus". US Patent 4,968,098.
- Hirsch, Robert (1996-03-01). [dead link] "The Energy Plateau". Public Utilities Reports, Inc.
- Hirsch, Robert L. et al. (February 2005). "Peaking of world oil production: impacts, mitigation, & risk management". US Dept. Energy/National Energy Technology Lab. p. 91. 
- Hirsch, Robert L.; Wendling, Robert et al. (November 28, 2005). "Peaking of world oil production: impacts, mitigation, & risk management". AIChE 52 (1): 2–8. doi:10.1002/aic.10747. 
- Hirsch, Robert L. et al. (2005). "Peaking of world oil production: impacts, mitigation, & risk management". US Dept. Energy/National Energy Technology Lab. 
- Hirsch, Robert L. (October 2005). "The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production". Atlantic Council of the United States, Bulletin XVI (3).
- Hirsch, Robert L.; Bezdek, Roger H.; Wendling, Robert M. (February 5, 2007). "Peaking of world oil production: recent Forecasts". US Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Lab. NETL-2007/1263.. See the Hirsch report
- Hirsch, Robert L. (February 2008). "Mitigation of maximum world oil production: Shortage scenarios". Energy Policy 36 (2): 881–889. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2007.11.009.
- Höök, Mikael; Hirsch, Robert L.; Aleklett, Kjell (June 2009). "Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production.". Energy Policy 37 (6): 2262–2272. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2009.02.020.
- Hirsch, Robert L., Roger H. Bezdek, Robert M. Wendling The Impending World Energy Mess: What It Is and What It Means to You, Apogee Prime, 2010.
- Hirsch, Robert (2008). "Mitigation of maximum world oil production: Shortage scenarios". The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- 2009 M. King Hubbert award
- Hirsch, Robert L. (2005). "Peaking World Oil Production". ASPO.
- Hirsch, Robert (October 2005). "Shaping the peak of world oil production". WorldOil.com.
- "Dr. Robert L. Hirsch joins ASPO-USA advisory board". ASPO-USA. 2006-02-22.
- "Speakers, October 2007 conference". ASPO-USA. October 17–20, 2007.
- "Energy Expert Robert Hirsch to Lecture on Peaking of World Oil Production". U. Va. Today. November 28, 2007.
- Scott Weaver (12/04/2007 - 12/10/2007). "Energy expert warns about peak oil". C-VILLE. Check date values in:
- "Dr. Robert L. Hirsch, Senior Energy Advisor at MISI, Feb. 2008".
- ""Energy Roundtable", February 2, 2008".
- "Dr. Robert L. Hirsch Keynote Speech 2008 Alternative Fuels & Vehicles National Conference & Exposition, Las Vegas".
- Interview with Robert Hirsch on Peak Oil:. "A Significant Period of Discomfort". Allianz Knowledge Site, June 2008.