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Checklist for ERoEI*

Checklist for ERoEI* thumbnail

In this post, I will diagram that which I have been unable to explain in words.  In particular, the recycle problem receives special attention.

  1. The community must be dedicated to the production of energy and only to the production of energy until such time as the individual’s share of the sustainable community dividend can afford such an exchange on a moral basis. Until then, nothing produced by the members of the community including art and music and science, including spectator sports as well as building maintenance and healthcare, serves any other ultimate purpose than the production of energy.  Every item in the monetary budget has a counterpart in the energy budget.


  1. a)     Manufacture
  2. b)     Installation
  3. c)     Operation
  4. d)     Maintenance
  5. e)     Storage
  6. f)      De-Installation  This usually amounts to merely building another installation after retiring the previous one; but, in the odd case, it is necessary to restore the plant site to its original natural condition.


  1. The steady-state condition of the managed stockpiles of vital materials is met by solving the recycle problem as discussed in the appropriate section of The inevitable deficits due to imperfect recycling are made up from the residuum of the resource, by which I mean the world supply minus the stockpiles, in such a way that the half-life of the residuum is not reached during the first one thousand years, after which time other arrangements must be made.


Figure 3.  AAED with associated storehouses at A, B, C, D, & E, repositories of A through E, and recycle installations at ea, ed, bc, and cd serving the Autonomous Alternative Energy plant


Take the Repository of A, which could be a rare earth that is used in solar cells.  It is very large whereas the Storehouse of A might better be called the Box of A inasmuch as we are pretending that only a few molecules go into each cell, The repository might take in one half of a continent, whereas the Box might be a shoe box.  We might be sure that the residuum of A will last 10,000 years at the present rate, which we have a right to assume under a de-growth regime.  We do not replace solar cells unless they bring back the corresponding retired solar cell.


  1. The maximum sustainable community dividend (MSCD) is the emergy returned (conservatively estimated and harvested on schedule) (ER) minus all of the emergy budget items in this list except this one (EI’). The net emergy, EX, must be subtracted from the MSCD to get the actual dividend, ED*. Then, ERoEI* = ER/EI* where ER is emergy returned and EI* is the emergy invested, which is the sum of all the budget items in this list except that, instead of the MSCD, add in the actual dividend, ED*. EI* is the emergy returned minus the net emergy, that is, EI* = ER – EX. The actual dividend, ED*, is divided by the number of economic actors in the community. This determines maximum community consumption. The individual economic actors determine the final disposition of the actual distributed dividend. Does it satisfy the technical pre-condition of happiness? The net emergy is the MSCD minus the actual dividend. The community must decide what to do with the net emergy. It should be obvious how to include foreign trade in the balance sheet and not so obvious what might go wrong with it.

ER = Emergy Returned

EI’ = Energy Invested except the actual dividend with which the stakeholders support themselves and those who depend upon them

ED* = Actual dividend

MSCD = Maximum Sustainable Community Dividend = ER – EI’

EX = Net emergy for export

EI* = EI’ + ED* =  ER – EX

EI’ + ED* + EX = ER

  1. Prevent pollution altogether regardless of environments self-healing capabilities.  Don’t forget sound and light pollution and the intrusion of ugliness where formerly there was beauty.  Finally, there is motion pollution and the filling up of space that was formerly empty.
  2. Sustainability amounts to providing a sustainable renewable energy technology, a technology that harvests energy (corrected for entropy) from the sun in real time and that returns more energy than is consumed to install it, operate it, maintain it, store enough energy to complete its mission, maintain its storehouses of natural material capital, prevent or repair environmental damage including aesthetic damage, and support the community that serves the renewable energy installation both directly and indirectly.   It’s one thing producing enough computer chips for half of the world.  This may indeed require a non-stop cyclical operating schedule.  But to make one or two chips every ten years for only the economic actors in the autonomous alternative energy district (AAED) we can use a slightly more primitive batch process, which might run only when the sun shines.


Energy Returned over Energy Investedby Tom Wayburn

One Comment on "Checklist for ERoEI*"

  1. dratrepus tak Vega failure $373M payload lost on Fri, 20th Nov 2020 5:35 pm 

    supertards please change ur undies after 5 days

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