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Implications of Energy Return on Energy Invested on Future Total Energy Demand

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  • Shinuo Deng

    (Center for Energy Research and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering UCSD, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA)

  • George R. Tynan

    () (Center for Energy Research and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering UCSD, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA)

Abstract

Human society is now at the beginning of a transition from fossil-fuel based primary energy sources to a mixture of renewable and nuclear based energy sources which have a lower Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) than the older fossil based sources. This paper examines the evolution of total energy demand during this transition for a highly idealized energy economy. A simple model is introduced in which the net useful energy output required to operate an economy is assumed to remain fixed while the lower EROEI source gradually replaces the older higher EROEI primary energy source following a logistics substitution model. The results show that, for fixed net useful energy output, total energy demand increases as the ratio EROEI new /EROEI old decreases; total energy demand diverges as EROEI new approaches unity, indicating that the system must collapse in this limit.

Suggested Citation

  • Shinuo Deng & George R. Tynan, 2011. "Implications of Energy Return on Energy Invested on Future Total Energy Demand," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(12), pages 1-10, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:12:p:2433-2442:d:15199
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lund, P.D., 2010. "Exploring past energy changes and their implications for the pace of penetration of new energy technologies," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 647-656.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tello, E. & Galán, E. & Sacristán, V. & Cunfer, G. & Guzmán, G.I. & González de Molina, M. & Krausmann, F. & Gingrich, S. & Padró, R. & Marco, I. & Moreno-Delgado, D., 2016. "Opening the black box of energy throughputs in farm systems: A decomposition analysis between the energy returns to external inputs, internal biomass reuses and total inputs consumed (the Vallès Count," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 160-174.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    EROEI; energy demand; total energy demand;

    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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