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Energy Return on Investment


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Table of Contents

Energy as the master resource.- The ecological theatre and the evolutionary play.- Energy Return on Investment as master driver.- Calculating Energy costs and gains in plant and animal populations.- Calculating Energy costs and gains in human societies.- Maximum Power.- The future in a lower EROI world.

About the Author

Charles Hall is a Systems Ecologist who received his PhD under Howard T. Odum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Hall is Professor Emeritus at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the State University of New York, and the author or editor of twelve books and nearly 300 scholarly articles. He has worked or taught in some 30 different countries. He is best known for development of the concept of EROI, or energy return on investment, which is an examination of how organisms, including humans, invest energy into obtaining additional energy to improve biotic or social fitness. He has applied these approaches to fish migrations, carbon balance, tropical land use change, the extraction of petroleum and other fuels, and how EROI influences the ability of society to achieve different levels of economic and social development. Presently he is developing a new field, BioPhysical Economics, as a supplement or alternative to conventional neoclassical economics, while applying systems and EROI thinking to a broad series of resource and economic issues.


"The book Energy Return on Investment, self-deprecatingly put forth as a nontechnical 'story,' succeeds in providing a cohesive and intellectually rigorous theory that transcends economics and biology. ...I highly recommend this book to policymakers and the business community to more accurately forecast the future, as well as to engineers and scientists of all disciplines. ... Energy Return on Investment is technically relevant and written with accessible language." (John R. Schramski, BioScience, July, 2018)

"In Energy Return on Investment, systems ecologist Charles A. S. Hall argues that to truly understand most investments, one must view them in terms of energy. ... Energy Return on Investment is a solid introduction to a vital subject, and Hall is uniquely qualified to author it. Hall invented the very term energy return on investment, and he's done decades of seminal research on the phenomenon that it describes." (Frank Kaminski, resilience.org, April, 2018)

"In Energy Return on Investment, Dr. Hall has written an approachable and short introduction to how energy flows through and structures our world, ecosystems, and society. ... Energy Return on Investment is an excellent primer with which to understand the world around us and make good investment choices for ourselves and the generations to come." (Jon Freise, Resilience, resilience.org, June, 2017)

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