Dr. Robert L. Hirsch

Dr. Robert L. Hirsch

Dr. Robert Hirsch

Robert L. Hirsch, Ph.D., 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, fusion, fission, renewables, defense technologies,chemical analysis, and basic research, for example the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor.

Oil decline vs Climate Change Robert L. Hirsch

Robert Hirsch – Peak Oil: Exploring the Risk Factors

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The Impending World Oil Shortage: Learning from the Past Robert L. Hirsch

Peak Oil Robert L. Hirsch (Part 1 of 2)
Peak Oil Robert L. Hirschd (Part 2 of 2)

Professional experience

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.

Energy policy

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.”

Fusion Research: Time to Set a New Path by Robert L. Hirsch

Peak oil: “A conspiracy to keep it quiet” in Washington – Interview with Robert L. Hirsch (in 2 parts)


Hirsch Book Links

Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management

The Impending World Energy Mess