In Part 1 of this series we discussed greenhouse gas emissions, how they are applicable to methane and other energy sources including solar PV and batteries, and why the responsible use of methane must be considered as a viable energy source for the production of electricity.

In Part 2 of this series we will focus on the energy required to create energy.

All Energy Takes Energy to Create Energy!

As we strive for a sustainable and efficient energy future, the choice of fuel source becomes crucial. One component of the equation that must be considered as we plan our energy future is Energy Return On Energy Invested or EROEI.

EROEI assesses how much energy is obtained from an energy source relative to the energy invested in extracting, refining, and using that source. It provides insights into the energy profitability and effectiveness of a particular energy system.

The calculation of EROEI involves considering all the energy inputs throughout the lifecycle of an energy source, including exploration, extraction, transportation, refining, and operation. This encompasses both direct energy inputs, such as fuel used for extraction, and indirect energy inputs, such as the energy used in manufacturing and maintenance of equipment.

A higher EROEI indicates a more energy-efficient and sustainable energy source, as it signifies that more usable energy is obtained compared to the energy invested. Conversely, a lower EROEI suggests that the energy source requires a significant amount of energy input relative to the energy it generates.

EROEI is a valuable tool for assessing the viability, economic feasibility, and environmental impact of different energy sources. It helps inform decision-making processes regarding energy investments, resource management, and the transition to more sustainable energy systems.

As you can imagine, the EROEI varies greatly per power source. The following chart shows average EROEI multiples for various fuels (data from ARC Financial Research (2) – Peter Terzakian “The End of Energy Obesity” (1))


This chart clearly illustrates that methane has a very high return on energy invested compared to energy sources like solar PV or biodiesel. In fact, methane has about three times the return on energy invested than a source like solar PV. This is a significant difference considering the abundance of methane in North America and the well-established methane distribution methods that exist (e.g., pipelines, LNG, CNG, etc.).

When this EROEI is factored into a decision matrix along with the GHG emissions conclusions from Part 1 of this series, one must seriously consider the responsible use of methane as a fuel for energy generation.

If you have any questions regarding this article or if you have a microgrid or power project of any kind that could benefit from a methane powered generator, give us a call at Collicutt at 888.682.6888. We have a team of experts that will work with you to evaluate your project and determine the best fit solution for you.