Eroi definition history and future implications
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EROI: definition, history and future implications. Charles A. S. Hall State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry Syracuse, N.Y. Cutler J. Cleveland Director, Center for Energy and the Environment Boston University Boston, Mass.

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EROI: definition, history and future implications

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Eroi definition history and future implications

EROI: definition, history and future implications

Charles A. S. Hall

State University of New York

College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Syracuse, N.Y.

Cutler J. Cleveland

Director, Center for Energy and the Environment

Boston University

Boston, Mass.

Presented at ASPO -US conference

Denver November 10, 2005


I definition of eroi sometimes eroei

I. DEFINITION of EROI (Sometimes EROEI)

Energy return on investment for an activity:

Energy delivered to society

EROI = __________________________

Energy put into that activity

Usually consider energy invested from society


Eroi definition history and future implications

  • We believe EROI will be one of the most important defining issues of the future

  • Its importance has been submerged by the (inappropriate in our view) increasing dominance of economic cost-benefit analysis


Ii some history

II. SOME HISTORY

  • I am an ecologist, fascinated by energy and natural selection

  • A predator, such as a trout or cheetah, cannot expend more energy in chasing prey than it gets from that prey……

  • (And it must also pay for its own repair, depreciation, replacement and R&D)


Eroi definition history and future implications

  • To my knowledge EROI idea was first formally put forth in my PhD dissertation… for fish migration

  • Idea was implicit in writings of Kenneth Boulding, H.T. Odum, others


Eroi definition history and future implications

We used Yield per Effort concepts from fisheries…..


For the past three years the expenditures to look for oil have been greater than the dollar returns

For the past three years the expenditures to look for oil have been greater than the dollar returns!

NY Times Oct 10, 04

Hall & Cleveland 1981 Science


Eroi definition history and future implications

US Oil Field Size


Eroi definition history and future implications

  • We and our students/colleagues undertook other such EROI analyses


The economists argument

THE ECONOMISTS’ ARGUMENT

Technology will overcome depletion

THE GEOLOGISTS’ ARGUMENT

Depletion is real and will overwhelm

technology

Who is right??


Eroi definition history and future implications

  • For oil it is clearly depletion:

  • In 1930 U.S. got 100 barrels of oil back for each barrel invested in seeking it

    (EROI = 100:1)

  • In 1970 about 25 for 1

  • In 1990s about 11 to 18 for one

  • Much less for finding new oil (EROI = 3:1??)


Eroi definition history and future implications

WHY?

“Best First” Principle

  • Humans use high quality, low cost resources before low quality, high cost resources

  • Best-to-worst ordering of resource exploitation


Eroi definition history and future implications

The energy cost of getting the next barrel is going way up


Iii measuring eroi some important issues

III. MEASURING EROI: SOME IMPORTANT ISSUES

Data quantity and quality

(Can you help us?)

Energy Quality

Boundaries

Support


Eroi definition history and future implications

1) Data: U.S. Bureau of Commerce,

Wood Mackenzie, John S. Herold

2) Quality of energy in or out:

Putting in one unit of electricity to

generate three units of heat does

not make sense 3) Boundaries: key issue. How far do

we extend boundaries of analysis?

Are there “correct” boundaries? (no)


Eroi definition history and future implications

E

E

E

EROI =

out

in

in

Big Question: What is E ?

The Problems: Boundries

in

Subsidies

Extenualities

E Indirect (?)

Fuel vs. Energy production us system

in

E To Allow Use

E Direct

Steel Mill

in

in

Construction

and

Depreciation

E Direct

E Direct

? Medical

? Replacement

? Homemaker

? Food

? Education

Labor Support ?? e.g.

Environment (?)

- Pollution

- Soil Erosion

- Loss of Ecosystem

Depreciation

??


How much of katrina s cost was due to oil exploitation in s louisiana

How much of Katrina’s cost was due to oil exploitation in S. Louisiana?


Support

Support :

  • Here are the greatest names in Energy Research in my opinion:

  • Cutler Cleveland

  • Robert Kaufmann

  • Robert Herendeen

  • Robert Ayres

  • Colin Campbell

  • Jean Leherrere


Eroi definition history and future implications

  • The total they received for undertaking their “energy cost” research from governmental, industry or private sources?

  • Until last week $800.00


Eroi will strongly influence

EROI will strongly influence:

  • Net economic growth

  • Cost of government: i.e. school bus fuel

  • Ability to pay back international debts

  • Ability of conventional economic models to work

  • Value of pensions


Eroi of us will be affected strongly by

EROI of US will be affected strongly by:

  • Prices of imported fuels vs exported grains, Boeing planes, Hollywood stuff…

  • Need for liquid fuels

  • Need for backup/storage of e.g. solar

  • Technology: role is not clear


Eroi definition history and future implications

  • We are setting up new institutes and a consortium at ESF and Boston University (etc) to study EROI and other aspects of energy futures.


Eroi definition history and future implications

THE END

Thanks to the Santa Barbara Family Foundation


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