EROIE / EROI: Energy Return on Energy Invested:
A Net Energy Parable: Why is ERoEI Important?
Besides water, energy is the most important substance for life on the planet. For most organisms energy is embodied in the food they eat, be it bugs, nuts or gazelles. The excess of energy consumed to energy expended (net energy) has been integral in the evolution of the structure and form of present day organisms. Net energy is measured as how much energy is left over after the calories used to find, harvest, refine and utilize the original energy are accounted for. It is a term linked to physical principles and departs in many cases from our current market mechanism of valuing things by price. The alternative energy debate seems to have two firmly entrenched camps – those that acknowledge the importance of energy gain to our society and those who focus on gross energy, energy quality and dollars. This post explores what net energy is, why its important and how its principles may impact the future organization of our society. For most living things, energy is calories. Over eons, natural selection has optimized the most efficient methods for energy capture, transformation, and consumption.( Lotka) Cheetahs that repeatedly expend more energy chasing a gazelle than they receive from eating it will not incrementally survive to produce offspring.. ……. The Bottom Line … Since evolution has favored organisms that have the highest energy output energy input ratios, it will be a cognitive challenge for us (as organisms) to willingly reduce the numerator. Consumption, in the sasquatch example, continued very high until late in the game, and was subsidized from borrowing from other aspects of society. Lack of energy gain was a phantom concept until the situation was much deteriorated. The difference between their society and ours is that they got ‘paid’ directly in energy while we have an intermediate step – an abstraction in the form of digital money. So unlike the sasquatches who had immediate negative feedback to declining net energy, we might temporarily ‘paper over’ this decline by printing money or relaxing financial requirements – these measures will not be based on anything biophysical and make an eventual reckoning much more severe. In the end, it’s not about how much energy we have but how much societies can afford via real inputs and how resilient their institutions are to a change in the the prior trend. Our collective task will be to improve our net (total cost) energy from renewables while changing the infrastructure of society to best match what our long term sustainable energy gain can be. – The Oil Drum: A Net Energy Parable: Why is ERoEI Important?.
» IG: 20-02-28_eroei-eroi_energyreturninvestedgraphs
Ecology of Peace
» IG: 14-03-09_env-commonsism
One Cubic Mile of Oil
Most people are unaware of the vast scope of energy use in the world. The term “cubic mile of oil equivalent energy” (CMO) has become a way of expressing how much energy people use, globally, every year. Today we use about 3 cubic miles of oil equivalent energy per year. Here is a graphic from IEEE Spectrum that sets a context for the following conversation on whether renewables-are-doable. “To obtain in one year the amount of energy contained in one cubic mile of oil, each year for 50 years we would need to have produced the numbers of dams, nuclear power plants, coal
plants, windmills, or solar panels as follows: 104 coal-fired lants (each year for 50 years); Three Gorges Dams (each year for 50 years); 32 850 wind turbines (every year for 50 years); 52 nuclear power plants (every year for 50 years); 91 250 000 solar panels (every year for 50 years. Assumptions: The Three Gorges Dam is rated at its full design capacity of 18 gigawatts. A nuclear power plant is postulated to be the equivalent of a 1.1-GW unit at the Diablo Canyon plant in California. A coal plant is one rated at 500 megawatts. A wind turbine is one with a 100-meter blade span, and rated at 1.65 MW. A solar panel is a 2.1-kilowatt system made for home roofs. In comparing categories, bear in mind that the average amount of time that power is produced varies among them, so that total energy obtained is not a simple function of power rating.
– Spectrum IEES: Joules, BTUs, Quads—Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off: How to replace a cubic mile of oil; Friends of Science: Why Renewable Energy Cannot Replace Fossil Fuels by 2050.
» IG: 20-02-29_cmo_cubicmileoil-equiv
Babylon Masonic War is Peace