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Yes EROI only tells us whether it makes sense to society to do something over the long term ... given a particular distribution of sunk investment into consumers of a particular fuel and shifted and hidden costs, it could very well make sense for the individual producer to producer that field with an EROI less than 1.

But that just tells us that a business should make decisions on what is profitable by considering the bottom line, which we already knew.

Knowing whether it makes sense to society to do something over the long term is actually a useful thing.

As far as the often bewildering confusion of different scopes for what is includes in EROI and the different specific forms of EROI that is being performed ... that is what the meta-studies are for. Behind that often bewildering confusion, there is the fact that new information is being brought to light, and having people study the studies and inform us of what is being the differences is quite helpful. Without the meta-study of the EROI of nuclear power from researchers at Lawrence Livermore & Penn State, it would have taken me much more time (and a substantial amount of money I do not have) to determine that the big 70-80 EROI numbers that are sometimes cited for LWR nuclear are studies that leave some part of the energy costs of fuel provision out of the study. That is important, because uranium mining and processing into useable fuel is an energy intensive step in the whole process.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 09:02:32 AM EST
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