Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Peter Huber On EROEI

I thought I'd written about or at least posted a story about EROEI before, but maybe not. Here's one from Forbes by Peter Huber. Money quote:
The economic value of energy just doesn't depend very strongly on raw energy content as conventionally measured in British thermal units. Instead it's determined mainly by the distance between the BTUs and where you need them, and how densely the BTUs are packed into pounds of stuff you've got to move, and by the quality of the technology at hand to move, concentrate, refine and burn those BTUs, and by how your neighbors feel about carbon, uranium and windmills. In this entropic universe we occupy, the production of one unit of high-grade energy always requires more than one unit of low-grade energy at the outset. There are no exceptions. Put another way, Eroei--a sophomoric form of thermodynamic accounting--is always negative and always irrelevant. "Matter-energy" constraints count for nothing. The "monetary culture" still rules. Thermodynamics And Money.
(Hat tip: peakoil.com.)