Uses the metaphor of an energy fabric in order to discuss the perspective of viewing our lives, actions and the things in our lives from an energy point of view. The centrality of energy in our lives is explored through this metaphor and the importance for us to begin thinking more closely about our energy habits and how our lives depend on energy is examined. Energy and how we get it and how we use it is going to become a subject of increasing importance as the era of easy energy that has characterized the past century and a half draws to a close.
What is the meaning and importance of embodied energy as a measure of sustainability and why we need to develop widely accepted standards for embodied energy? This article explores this somewhat arcane concept that seeks to measure how much energy is “embodied” in a product or service; in other words how much energy is used throughout the entire life cycle of the thing being measured including the energy required by decommissioning, disassembly and deconstruction.
Energy Returned on Energy Invested (ERoEI) – also sometimes referred to as EROI — is a key energy accounting metric that measures the net usable energy that can be obtained from some potential energy source after all of the various energy costs necessary to produce usable energy from the potential energy source have been subtracted from the estimated life time energy production of the potential source.
It is rapidly becoming a rather widely quoted statistic, but remains poorly understood by many people who are starting to use it or are becoming exposed to it for the first time. ERoEI is deceptively simple and seems very straightforward, but it masks a complex underlying computation that is subject to some important and arbitrary decisions. These underlying assumptions and boundary decisions have profound effects on the resulting ERoEI figure. For this reason, if for no other, it is important that as wide an audience as possible become more educated about what ERoEI means and how the many assumptions that go into a particular ERoEI calculation can lead to significantly different ERoEI figures for the same energy system.
US Department of Energy Secretary Chu announced plans to provide nearly $800 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act targeted towards advancing biofuels research and development and for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects. The $786.5 million in Recovery Act funding a mix of new funding opportunities and additional funding for existing projects, will be allocated over four main areas. Integrated pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries projects are to receive the bulk of the funding with the remainder going to commercial-scale biorefinery projects, fundamental research in key areas to advance cutting-edge conversion technologies, including generating more desirable catalysts, fuel-producing microbes, and feedstocks and to ethanol research.