Tag Archives: eroei

Blowout week 153

There are two major stories this week. First, the agreement within OPEC to cut production in concert with some non-OPEC countries, notably Russia sent the oil price soaring, but it has so far failed to break resistance at $54. Second, 50% of the 2 GW England-France inter-connector was severed by a dragged anchor during storm Angus. Continue reading

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The ERoEI of High Altitude Wind Power

For several weeks I have been researching and writing a review post on high altitude wind power. It has grown into a 6000 word monster that should hopefully fly on Monday. While doing this it has been difficult to find time to write other posts. Hence this is a preview of one section on Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) which makes a nice post in its own right. Continue reading

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The Energy Return of The Three Gorges Dam

In preparing my previous post on Net Energy Trends I wanted to include a back of the envelope calculation on the ERoEI of hydro electric power using the Three Gorges Dam as an example.

Looking at just the labour and embedded energy of the concrete and steel and assuming a 45% capacity factor and 70 year life yields a partial ERoEI of 147. And so, despite substantial environmental harm and social disruption I must give dispatchable hydro electric power a big thumbs up.
Continue reading

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The revealing numbers on solar employment in the USA.

Once again the green media are being transported into flights of ecstasy over the fact that the US solar industry now employs more people than the US oil & gas and coal industries. The data, however, show that the solar industry contributes virtually nothing to US energy supply, which is still filled dominantly by fossil fuels. Reviews also show that the problem of accurately estimating annual US solar generation has still not been solved. Continue reading

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Net Energy Trends

In writing Wednesday’s post ERoEI for Beginners, I prepared a number of charts that were not used and these are presented here. Where it has been measured and according to the literature, the net energy of oil, natural gas and coal is falling everywhere. Surface mined US coal has one of the highest energy returns of any fuel and is substantially higher than deep mined Chinese coal. In electricity equivalent (Eeq) form, Chinese coal is marching towards the Net Energy Cliff edge while US coal remains far from it. The image shows part of a 50 km long queue of coal trucks in China. Continue reading

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ERoEI for Beginners

The Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI or EROI) of any energy gathering system is a measure of that system’s efficiency. The concept was originally derived in ecology and has been transferred to analyse human industrial society. In today’s energy mix, hydroelectric power ± nuclear power have values > 50. At the other end of the scale, solar PV and biofuels have values <5. Continue reading

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The Energy Return of Solar PV – a response from Ferroni and Hopkirk

Last week’s post on The Energy return of Solar PV caused quite a stir. Yesterday I received a response to some of the comments from Ferroccio Ferroni and Robert Hopkirk answering some of the queries raised by readers. There response is given below the fold. But first I have a few comments to add.

Let’s kick off with the unshakeable enthusiasm for renewables of every flavour from the Scottish National Party. Member of the Scottish Parliament Callum McCaig:

I think Scotland is very much leading the way…. Continue reading

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The Energy Return of Solar PV

A new study by Ferroni and Hopkirk [1] estimates the ERoEI of temperate latitude solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to be 0.83. If correct, that means more energy is used to make the PV panels than will ever be recovered from them during their 25 year lifetime. A PV panel will produce more CO2 than if coal were simply used directly to make electricity. Worse than that, all the CO2 from PV production is in the atmosphere today, while burning coal to make electricity, the emissions would be spread over the 25 year period. Continue reading

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COP-out 21

OECD GDP on a PPP basis was $47.5 trillion in 2013. $100 billion represents 0.2% of GDP. I have reached the conclusion, and I may be wrong, that the OCED has pulled off a diplomacy and propaganda coup wrong footing the UN, Greens and developing nations. Let’s face it, if OECD governments really believed there was a grave threat to the planet they would be throwing a Hell of a lot more than 0.2% of GDP at developing economies – at least I sincerely hope they would. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , | 66 Comments

UK Solar PV Vital Statistics

The UK National Grid publishes model data for solar production in the UK so we can get an idea how much electricity all those roof mounted panels produce. The model data are published with 30 minute resolution and I have chosen to graph all the data for 2014, the most recent year with full cover. The idea is to try and show graphically how useful solar PV is in a high latitude country like the UK. Continue reading

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The Thermodynamic and Economic Realities of Audi’s E Diesel

In summary 1) converting the whole of Europe’s vehicle fleet to run on e diesel would double the energy used by the transport sector 2) the cost of e diesel is likely in the range 2.7 to 4.5 times more expensive than conventional diesel, 3) it would require a 12 fold increase in the current wind and solar deployment to provide the necessary “carbon free” electricity and 4) governments would unlikely be able to levy taxes on the new fuel and would therefore lose significant revenues that flow into their coffers from the fossil fuel industries. At the end of the day it makes more sense to put renewable electricity into a Tesla battery. Continue reading

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Energy and Mankind part 2

In 1911, Winston Churchill famously made the decision to convert the Royal Navy from coal to oil fired steam. He did this because oil offered many advantages over coal. It was more energy dense giving oil fired ships greater range and speed. And it could also be pumped through pipes, dispensing with the need for hundreds of stokers. Continue reading

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Solar PV – an irresistible disruptive technology?

improvements in efficiency or cost of panel won’t substantially improve the “extended EROI” – it is the system-wide issues needed to remedy integration that erase the gains. Continue reading

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Solar Scotland

It seems likely that solar photovoltaics deployed in Scotland will never repay the energy used to manufacture the panels. They will therefore produce more CO2 than if solar was not deployed at all and the emissions are emitted decades in advance of the solar electricity being produced. Continue reading

Posted in Bonkers, Climate change, Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Tilapia farming in the desert

“Oil companies watch out. Biofuels are on the verge of a breakthrough that will transform the oil market. Not only that: it will also green the planet” – Energy Post last week. So I went off looking for evidence. Continue reading

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