Navigation Links
Net energy analysis should become a standard policy tool, Stanford scientists say
Date:6/25/2014

Policymakers should conduct "net energy analyses" when evaluating the long-term sustainability of energy technologies, according to new Stanford University research.

Net energy analysis provides a quantitative way to compare the amount of energy a technology produces over its lifetime with the energy required to build and maintain it. The technique can complement conventional energy planning, which often focuses on minimizing the financial cost of energy production, say Stanford researchers.

"The clearest answer to 'why is net energy important?' is that net energy, not money, fuels society," wrote lead author Michael Carbajales-Dale, a research associate in Stanford's Department of Energy Resources Engineering, in the July 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change. "Net energy analysis can identify potential costs and barriers to technology development that
a traditional financial analysis might not."

The report was co-authored by Adam Brandt, an assistant professor in energy resources engineering; Sally Benson a professor in the same department and director of Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP); and Charles Barnhart a postdoctoral scholar at GCEP.

"Put simply, we need to 'spend' energy to 'make' energy," Carbajales-Dale and his colleagues wrote. "The availability of energy fuels economic processes and economic growth. If the energy sector provided only enough energy to fuel its own processes, thereby providing no net energy, it would be of little use to society."

Sustainability studies

The authors cited a recent Stanford analysis, which found that the photovoltaic industry became a net energy provider about two years ago. Another 2013 Stanford study used net energy analysis to assess the long-term sustainability of wind and solar technologies. Calculations revealed that a typical wind turbine generates about 80 times 
more electricity over its lifetime than it consumes during manufacture and installation, and that a solar photovoltaic system produces about 10 times more electricity than it consumes.

According to the authors, net energy analysis can also be used to assess the long-term land and ecosystem impacts of developing energy technologies and resources, such as the Canadian oil sands. A 2013 analysis found that the oil sands industry supplies about five times more energy to society than it consumes, compared to the conventional oil industry, which supplies 10 to 20 times more energy than it uses.

These results suggest that both industries are net energy producers. However, further analysis reveals that oil sands require more energy for their extraction and processing than conventional oil, the Stanford team noted. Over time, "this increased energy intensity results in larger climate impacts per unit of energy supplied from the oil sands," they said.

Financial impacts

Net energy analysis also allows investors to identify potential costs and barriers to the development of new technologies, the authors said. For example, a recent study analyzing the energy balance for large-scale hydrogen production showed that a solar photoelectrochemical cell with 5-percent conversion efficiency requires 
a lifetime of at least five years before the net energy returns are positive.

"Extending the lifetime up to 30 years can yield devices 
that deliver six times as much energy as was used in their manufacture," the authors wrote. "Similar work
 has shown that for grid-scale electricity storage, increasing the number of times that a battery can be charged and discharged is the single-most important improvement that can be made."

Energy analyses can even guide investments away from financially sound but environmentally imprudent technology choices, they said.

"When managing complex systems, it is vitally important to have
the right set of indicators to guide our decisions," the authors concluded. "We would not drive a car without a speedometer, nor fly a plane without an altimeter. Net energy analysis can guide decision-makers at all levels, from households to governments. We believe it is time for policymakers to make greater use of this critical tool."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Story tips From the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, March 2012
2. First complete full genetic map of promising energy crop
3. Polycrystalline diamond drill bits open up options for geothermal energy
4. NOAA science supports New Yorks offshore energy planning
5. Energy requirements make Antarctic fur seal pups vulnerable to climate change
6. Carnegies Greg Asner named Energy/Climate Fellow by US State Department
7. A new dimension for solar energy
8. Is bioenergy expansion harmful to wildlife?
9. University of Minnesota invention helps advance reliability of alternative energy
10. Nanocrystal-coated fibers might reduce wasted energy
11. Europe meets to discuss progress in energy research and development
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Net energy analysis should become a standard policy tool, Stanford scientists say
(Date:1/6/2017)... -- Delta ID Inc., a leader in consumer-grade iris scanning ... CES® 2017. Delta ID has collaborated with Gentex Corporation ... of iris scanning as a secure, reliable and convenient ... car, and as a way to elevate the security ... ID and Gentex will demonstrate (booth #7326 LVCC) a ...
(Date:1/3/2017)... LAS VEGAS , Jan. 3, 2017 ... announced the introduction of Onitor Track, an innovative biometric ... and men, showcasing this month at the 2017 Consumer ... . In the U.S., the World ... affect more than two-thirds of adults who are overweight ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... , Dec. 20, 2016 The ... sharing, rental and leasing is stoking significant interest ... radio frequency technology, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), biometrics ... as the next wave of wireless technologies in ... access system to advanced access systems opens the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... Each year, Crain’s Detroit Business News ranks the ... evaluates the patent estate of a company, its impact and significance, and the likelihood ... the way in technologies that transform energy sources such as low dose X-ray and ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... After ... Lisa Rosendahl’s doctors gave her only a few months to live. Now a ... that has stabilized Rosendahl’s disease and increased both the quantity and quality of ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... and Pune, India , January 12, 2017 ... Toxicity Testing Market by Type and End Users - Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry ... million by 2022 from $2,921 million in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 15.07% ... ... Allied Market Research Logo ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... Colo. (PRWEB) , ... January 11, 2017 , ... ... the journal Clinical Cancer Research show early promise of the investigational anti-cancer agent ... despite a median 5 previous treatment regimens. Twenty-seven percent of these heavily pretreated ...
Breaking Biology Technology: