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A Review of the Past and Current State of EROI Data

Author

Listed:
  • Ajay K. Gupta

    () (Graduate Program in Environmental Science, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA)

  • Charles A.S. Hall

    () (Graduate Program in Environmental Science, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA)

Abstract

This is a review of the literature available on data for the EROI (prior to this special issue) of the following 12 sources of fuel/energy: oil and natural gas, coal, tar sands, shale oil, nuclear, wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, wave/tidal and corn ethanol. Unfortunately, we found that few studies have been undertaken since the 1980s, and such as have been done are often marked more by advocacy than objectivity. The most recent summary of work and data on the EROI of fuels was conducted in the summer of 2007 at SUNY ESF and appeared on The Oil Drum website and in a readable summary by Richard Heinberg. This paper summarizes the findings of that study, and also those preceding and subsequent to it where available. It also summarizes issues raised by some concerning the findings of these studies and with the calculations within. While there are many who believe that such EROI studies are critical to understanding our financial and social future there seems to be very little interest by governments and industries in supporting this research or in using or promulgating such research as has been done. We view this as critical as our main fuels are progressively depleted and as we are faced with making extremely important decisions on a very meager analytical and data base, and with few scientists trained to cut through the reams of insufficiently analyzed energy advocacy saturating our media and the blogosphere.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajay K. Gupta & Charles A.S. Hall, 2011. "A Review of the Past and Current State of EROI Data," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(10), pages 1-14, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:10:p:1796-1809:d:14274
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cleveland, Cutler J., 1992. "Energy quality and energy surplus in the extraction of fossil fuels in the U.S," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 139-162, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhaoyang Kong & Xiucheng Dong & Bo Xu & Rui Li & Qiang Yin & Cuifang Song, 2015. "EROI Analysis for Direct Coal Liquefaction without and with CCS: The Case of the Shenhua DCL Project in China," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-22, January.
    2. repec:eee:energy:v:139:y:2017:i:c:p:743-754 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. García-Olivares, Antonio & Ballabrera-Poy, Joaquim & García-Ladona, Emili & Turiel, Antonio, 2012. "A global renewable mix with proven technologies and common materials," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 561-574.
    4. Kittner, Noah & Gheewala, Shabbir H. & Kammen, Daniel M., 2016. "Energy return on investment (EROI) of mini-hydro and solar PV systems designed for a mini-grid," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 410-419.
    5. Walmsley, Michael R.W. & Walmsley, Timothy G. & Atkins, Martin J., 2015. "Achieving 33% renewable electricity generation by 2020 in California," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 92(P3), pages 260-269.
    6. Friedrichs, Jörg & Inderwildi, Oliver R., 2013. "The carbon curse: Are fuel rich countries doomed to high CO2 intensities?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1356-1365.
    7. Tredici, M.R. & Bassi, N. & Prussi, M. & Biondi, N. & Rodolfi, L. & Chini Zittelli, G. & Sampietro, G., 2015. "Energy balance of algal biomass production in a 1-ha “Green Wall Panel” plant: How to produce algal biomass in a closed reactor achieving a high Net Energy Ratio," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 1103-1111.
    8. repec:eee:ecomod:v:267:y:2013:i:c:p:102-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Hall, Charles A.S. & Lambert, Jessica G. & Balogh, Stephen B., 2014. "EROI of different fuels and the implications for society," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 141-152.
    10. Rótolo, G.C. & Montico, S. & Francis, C.A. & Ulgiati, S., 2015. "How land allocation and technology innovation affect the sustainability of agriculture in Argentina Pampas: An expanded life cycle analysis," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 79-93.
    11. Walmsley, Michael R.W. & Walmsley, Timothy G. & Atkins, Martin J. & Kamp, Peter J.J. & Neale, James R., 2014. "Minimising carbon emissions and energy expended for electricity generation in New Zealand through to 2050," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 656-665.
    12. Mediavilla, Margarita & de Castro, Carlos & Capellán, Iñigo & Javier Miguel, Luis & Arto, Iñaki & Frechoso, Fernando, 2013. "The transition towards renewable energies: Physical limits and temporal conditions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 297-311.
    13. Vázquez-Rowe, Ian & Reyna, Janet L. & García-Torres, Samy & Kahhat, Ramzy, 2015. "Is climate change-centrism an optimal policy making strategy to set national electricity mixes?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 108-116.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    energy return on investment; EROI data; EROI of fuels;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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