The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space – Part 3


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    Gustave Doré Dante before the wall of flames which burn the lustful 1868 We’re doing something a little different. Nicole wrote another very long arti
    [See the full post at: The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space – Part 3]


    “If the energy profit ratio falls by a factor of ten, gross production must rise by a factor ten just for the energy available to society to remain the same.” Umm…no. Two examples will illustrate.
    1) Energy profit decreases from 1000:1 to 100:1. The energy required to obtain 1000 units for society goes from 1001 to 1010.
    2) Energy profit decreases from 20:1 to 2:1. The energy required to obtain 1000 units for society goes from 1053 to 2000.

    John Day

    Russia Moves to Protect Her Arctic Interests.

    Russia moves to protect her Arctic interests

    Good North Polar view map of military and territorial claims, too.



    “The initial demand collapse may buy us time in terms of global oil depletion, but at the expense of aggravating the situation considerably in the longer term. The lack of investment over many years will see potential supply collapse as well, so that the projects we may have >>> though <<< (should be thought) would cushion the downslope of Hubbert’s curve are unlikely to materialize, even if demand eventually begins to recover.”


    rudolfc, you need to subtract the 1000 in your first example from both values, then compare the remainders. 10 is 10 times 1, which is the amount that Nicole was referring to, not the total energy use. I don’t follow where your 1053 comes from in your second example. Typo? 1000 divided by 20 is 50. 1000 divided by 2 is 500. The difference is again a factor of ten.


    Looking at it again, the wording “gross production must rise by a factor of ten” is ambiguous. It would have been clearer to say something like ‘energy invested must rise by a factor of ten in order to maintain gross energy returned’.

    Diogenes Shrugged

    “In other words, low energy profit ratio energy sources cannot sustain a level of complexity necessary to produce them. ”

    Another enormous, gem-quality pearl. Superlatives fail me.

    Indian nation will return.


    To receive such a gift of love humbles me. Thank you.


    Guess Tesla needs to get to work on a line of electric farm equipment and solar charging ports? Caterpillar? Deere?

    Here is a start.

    Think I’ll get one and charge it on my RV Solar set up, to see if it’s even viable.


    a couple more little typos:

    Paragraph 4, 1st Sentence
    “…society’s functions and our ability [ to (missing word)] maintain what we have built.”

    Paragraph 12, 2nd Sentence
    “… of production, or [ or (repeated word)] energy returned on energy invested (EROEI).”


    I believe that TAE and Gail Tverberg’s blog compliment each other nicely. In one of her recent comments, Gail shared a study that presents well the trends related to decreasing EROEI:

    Then there is this blogger named Tom who at presents the argument that the EROEI for tar sands really isn’t low because tar burned on site to loosen other tar is obtained with little capital investment since it is already “there”. Extrapolating to other low grade sources such as coal, he posits that we have plenty of energy and that EROEI critiques are bogus.

    I don’t agree with him. To me he represents the extent to which people will do anything to close their ears and eyes and scream “la la la la la” when confronted with anything that challenges what Greer ( has so well described as our society’s Myth of Progress.


    Any comments on whether an Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE) has a place in the solution space? It obviously won’t replace liquid fossil fuels, but seems to have potential to beat most renewables on scalability and EROEI. Also has potential to mitigate global warming.
    My sense is that the AVE technology might be viable, but the required scale just won’t fit with the “simpler future which awaits us”.


    How do you think the world is going to cope with the problem of decommissioning of the world’s nuclear power plants? You spoke of energy simplicity, but some are saying that the advanced technology to solve the Fukushima plant disaster hasn’t even been invented yet, and will take another 20 years, regardless.

    I am not praying for a one world dictatorship, but who else will be able to extract the vast wealth needed for the cleanup and decommissioning chores from a world increasingly unable to pay for them?

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