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EROEIEnergy Return on Energy Invested (alternative energy sources)
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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.