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Sustainability 2011, 3(12), 2433-2442; doi:10.3390/su3122433

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

 and *
Center for Energy Research and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering UCSD, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 January 2011 / Revised: 10 July 2011 / Accepted: 10 November 2011 / Published: 13 December 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment))
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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 EROEInew/EROEIold decreases; total energy demand diverges as EROEInew approaches unity, indicating that the system must collapse in this limit.
Keywords: EROEI; energy demand; total energy demand EROEI; energy demand; total energy demand
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Deng, S.; Tynan, G.R. Implications of Energy Return on Energy Invested on Future Total Energy Demand. Sustainability 2011, 3, 2433-2442.

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