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EROEIEnergy Return on Energy Invested (alternative energy sources)
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If the average EROEI of our energy system falls below a critical threshold, then our society will be at serious risk of collapse, because the governing energy equation is reciprocal: the higher the proportion of our currently available energy supply that we spend on obtaining our future energy supply, the lower the proportion of our currently available energy supply that remains available for everything else that society wants to do with it.
My understanding is that the EROEI from US shale gas is worryingly low, perhaps well below the 10:1 ratio.
The presentation The Technical Realities of Fracking by Tiffany Parsons at the IMechE event skirted around the issue of EROEI.
This suggests to me that the EROEI for shale gas is indeed worryingly low.
If the EROEI is effectively cut in half, that is comparable to cutting production in half.
Declining EROEI could bomb societies back into the pre-industrial age," adds the Tullett report, cheerfully.
The included graph shows a decline of net oil production, after steadily poorer (decreasing) EROEI, of over 80% in the next 60 years.
The argument that by means of sophisticated, often digitally enhanced production, it is possible to generate the same output using less material throughput, readily succumbs to the EROEI effect, for the full cost of manufacturing the new technology itself is rarely factored in.
When the EROEI ratio for oil exploration declines to the point that it merely breaks even--that is, when the energy equivalent of a barrel of off must be invested in order to obtain a barrel of oil--the exercise will become almost pointless.