Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Energy Return on Investment

Take a look at the chart below.

This chart shows the ratio of energy returned to the amount of energy invested in developing the source. It could be considered a measure of efficiency. You will note that bio-diesel is at the bottom of the curve. It has a ration of about 1.3. Corn ethanol does not do much better. This is because both require a large amount of energy to make and provide only a little more energy than are used to develop them. Hydro is at the top because after an initial investment to build the dam, you can get a continuous source of energy from it.

Scrolling through the chart you can see that nuclear is about 15, wind is about 20, world oil production is about 40 and coal is about 80. The red cross is where experts think shale gas will fall. Shale gas - that's the stuff you get from fracking that the greenies are so against.

If you were investing your money, where would you want to invest it?

Here's another version of the chart.


Clay said...

Shale gas is so cheap operating companies are having a hard time making money.

Here is a peer-reviewed technical article looking at historical data on shale gas wells:
An EROI of 60-110, with a mean of 85. The exact field has a large influence on EROI. For example, transportation costs. This is also wellhead EROI, so there are pipeline costs to consider.

Still, a marvelous, objective, numerical data point.

More EROI data

Peripatetic Engineer said...

I worked on a cellulosic bio-diesel project a few years ago. It had a dedicated power generation plant. The project was cancelled when it was determined that it would burn almost 3 times more diesel in the generators than it would produce!

Old NFO said...

Yep, another reason BO wants to kill coal, it's readily available and returns a damn good profit (which they get none of), unlike the green stuff (which they are HEAVILY invested in)...

Horace said...

This is awesome!