Thursday, March 2, 2017

Charlie Hall speaks about EROI (and many other things)

A talk given by professor Charlie Hall in Princeton, last year. More than one hour of presentation to show how rich and interesting is the field of biophysical economics. And here is a comment submitted by Bepi Cima

by Bepi Cima

Waiting for a more affordable digital version of Charles Hall's Energy Return on Investment: A Unifying Principle for Biology, Economics, and Sustainability I watched a seminar on the same subject held by prof Hall less than a year ago at Princeton.

I enjoyed his talk, I believe it summarizes well the main subject of discussion of this blog: the fate of the artificial energy supply. Without it we would go hungry, 2/3 of the fertilizers today are synthetic and much more depends on it.

Many prefer reading a text rather than watching a video but, in this case, it helps to detect the author's emotions directly from his voice. It contains a lot of well-summarized information together with strong, sometimes debatable, statements but I appreciate his spirit and courage.

I feel his frustration for still missing the perfect theoretical context where to locate the issues. As a lightning short summary for the ones who couldn't listen to the whole talk, I propose the following images from his video.

These two images show that we need to make exceptional efforts to afford even basic "luxuries" with the exclusive use of renewables. There is a lot to disagree about quantitatively, for example in this blog look at this Hall-Bardi dialogue.

The last image hints to what's probably the main ingredient to the "problem" solution.

The most flexible, least technologically sophisticated way of satisfying the world energy needs is most likely to reduce energy demand, the product among population density, the quality of its needs and their energy intensity.

Bepi Cima


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)