1. As unfortunate as this event was, it is going to be a golden opportunity, to see who, among the antinuclear side will be attempting spin control. In the past the nat. gas industry has pulled its head in and weathered these things out by saying as little as possible. If we can keep the pressure on, we are going to see who rises to defend gas. Should they not it will be a good clue to who is paying the bills.
    However if they do, or they don’t, we can still rub their noses in this event for a good long time.

  2. Natural gas: dangerously explosive, a major contributor to global warming and global sea rise, and another product that is increasingly being imported from foreign countries. Natural gas is clearly not a solution to America’s future energy needs.
    Marcel F. Williams

  3. First it was ethanol. Then hydrogen. Both consume more energy than they produce, and are corrosive and inferior fuels (especially hydrogen). Then, we began hearing more about wind

    1. Not to defend corn ethanol but everything consumes more energy than it produces when you properly include all inputs. EROEI is a very dubious concept for a number of reasons:
      The most obvious reason is the qualitative difference between various forms of energy. I can’t put yellowcake into a car and expect it to run; it might only cost a few bucks per barrel of oil equivalent but it’s not a straigth forward substitute for portable gasoline and diesel fuels in anything but very, very large machines or electric vehicles which still need a good deal of R&D to become ubiquitous.
      The less obvious reason is the various kinds of “gerrymandering” of the borders to the system. E.g. a nuclear plant consumes a non-negligible fraction of the energy it produces(~10%?) to run the pumps. If you want to make nuclear look worse you can just include this as an input in the EROEI calculation and use gross output, this will allow you to make the claim that EROEI is less than 10. If you want to make nuclear look better you simply say “oh well that’s internal to the plant”, outside of the plant you only see net electricity generation so with your new system borders you have an EROI of ~100 when using centrifuge enrichment.
      If you wanted for some peculiar reason to get a really large EROEI you could place the centrifuges inside the nuclear plant and use less than 1% of your output to run the centrifuges whenever the plant is operating. Now net generation has been decreased by a fraction of a percent and the EROEI has increased to several hundred.
      If you wanted to make natural gas turbines look bad you could define the system to exclude the compression stage of the gas turbine; now you can’t get an EROI above low single digits since you’ve got to put in all that energy to compress the gas before you can burn it. This is not as artificial as it seems since there are plants where the compression stage and combustion stage are physical decoupled; they’re called Compressed Air Energy Storage and the compression stage uses the electricity you want to store to compress gas into a big cavern and when you want to retrieve it you mix the pre-presurized air and burn it in a combustion turbine.
      What matters is not EROI, it is opportunity cost and practicality. Is trading natural gas for ethanol on a ~1:1 basis a good idea? It might be, but not if you include all the wasted farmland and the environmental cost of doing this. If you can get your government to stop subsidizing corn ethanol the market can ferret out the answer pretty quickly; yeah there might be companies trying various methods to produce corn ethanol every once in a while, but they’ll either cut their losses and stop doing that or go out of business if they bet the farm on corn ethanol.

  4. The point I was making is simply that ethanol is a joke. We seem to agree. I would rather drive a compressed natural gas vehicle than have the gas be used to convert corn into a liquid fuel through fertilizer and steam. Especially if the gas isn’t even safe, and the last bits have to be squeezed from the Earth through this “fracking,” which shows that we’ve exhausted the easy-access gas. When we export less food to starving nations they chop down rain forest: the second biggest cause of global warming after coal plants, even bigger than all cars in the world! The fact that Al Gore cast the tie-breaking vote as VP to make ethanol our energy direction in `94 shows the danger of “picking winners” rather than simply having a flat carbon tax. Richard Heinberg is an expert on EROEI, and it’s definitely better to have a high one to reduce associated life-cycle emissions and materials costs, and nuclear (centrifuge) or especially fast reactors have the highest of EROEIs, much higher than fossil fuels.

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