EROEI = Energy return on energy invested
During the research for my nuclear energy post, I came across this graph:
It shows a highly favorable EROEI for nuclear plants. Of course, as it comes from the World NuclearAssociation, hardly a neutral party, I took it with a grain of salt and chose not to include it in my post.
The funny thing is that I received the following press release today:
The press release is from Vestas, the (Danish) largest manufacturer of wind turbines today (with more than a third of the world market):
Furthermore, compared to the V80-2.0 MW offshore wind turbine, the 6.8 months constitutes an improvement of approximately 2.2 months.
If installed on a good site, the V90-3.0 MW wind turbine will generate approximately 280,000 MWh in 20 years – thus sparing the environment the impact of a net volume of approximately 230,000 tons of CO2, as compared to the figures for energy generated by a coal-fired power station.
The above-mentioned are two of the results from a life cycle assessment (LCA), which Vestas completed of a V90-3.0 MW wind turbine in 2004. The calculations prove the environmental advantages of Vestas turbines also when taking the whole life cycle into consideration.
A life cycle assessment is both a mapping and an evaluation of the potential impact of the wind turbine on the external environment throughout its lifetime. The life cycle assessment for the V90-3.0 MW wind turbine is divided into four phases.
- The production phase, which covers the period from obtaining the raw materials to the completion of the wind turbine
- Transport of the wind turbine components and erection of the wind turbine
- Operation and maintenance throughout the 20-year design lifetime of the wind turbine
- Disposal of the wind turbine.
Vestas provides a more detailed summary of the life cycle assessments as well as more detailed reports (see the links in that page); I’ll just steal one graph:
But the nucleocrats also provide some detailed studies, summarised in this document which regroups a number of findings which I have no way to assess but which look well-researched. The graph above summarises the main finding, i.e. that nuclear energy supposedly has a great EROEI.
So, who will help me to make sense of these numbers?