Renewable Energy is Not Comparable to Fossil Fuels; Energy vs. Energy Carriers

In a free public seminar at 3:30 PM on October 22nd, in room 1115 of the Wisconsin Energy Institute, Professor Emeritus of Botany Timothy Allen, will discuss the complex challenges of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy and the important differences between energy sources and energy carriers.


Economics uses the notion of profit but ecology does not. EROI is Energy return on investment.  The ecological distinction between r-selection and K-selection refers respectively to high and low EROI, high and low profit.  High gain systems take quality resource from the environment and burn it as fuel.  Low gain systems gather low quality resource and process it to make fuel. Thus energy can be from outside or inside the using systems.  These are not comparable sources.  We also need to distinguish between energy, e.g. coal, versus energy carriers, e.g. electricity.  In energy it is not obvious what you are talking about and what is comparable to what. Keep it straight. 

Watch recorded lecture

1115 Wisconsin Energy Institute
1552 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53726