Some numbers to keep in mind

There is a little thing called Energy Returned on Energy   Investments (EROEI). This is basically a ratio EROEI =
energy out/energy in. Obviously one wants this above unity.  Here is a breakdown of EROEIs for various sources
Oil from a virgin oil field —- 28
Oil from a peakout field —- 20
Natural gas —- 15
Oil from depleted fields,  such as those in the US —- 10
Nuclear energy —- 5 to 10
Wind turbine energy —- 7
bio-energy —- 3
solar energy —- 3.
The end of oil simply means the end of cheap energy —  period. Also to answer Greenberg’s question on NG, we face a  peak out on NG by around 2020.
Also the large NG reserves exist in central Asia. Oil is the  best of all possible energy sources. It can be piped conveniently, it can be chemically changed in a myriad of ways. Thousands of products can be produced from it.
This includes fertilizers. Nuclear energy will not produce fertilizers.
Those figures are correct for *today’s* technology. There’s no reason to think that EROEIs for solar, bio and nuclear energy can not be increased substantially; and there’s good reason to think that such *should* be possible.
Genetically engineered energy crops (essentially bio-solar); new generation nuclear (pebble bed etc); cheap mass produced photovoltaic sheet, etc all show promise for increasing their EROEI’s dramatically, and as oil increases in price, incentive for such development will increase in step. But likely their EROEIs will never be as good as dino oil.
Jonathan Colvin


About basicrulesoflife

Year 1935. Interests: Contemporary society problems, quality of life, happiness, understanding and changing ourselves - everything based on scientific evidence. Artificial Intelligence Foundation Latvia, Editor.
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