Happy to see a website devoted to the (mostly) good ideas of Robert Ayres. As the originator of the term if not the concept of EROI I would like to clarify a few things from my own perspective. The energy invested is usually and appropriately considered the energy diverted from society to get energy to society. Thus natural gas used to pressurize an oil/gas field or energy used in society to make a drill bit or oil rig or fertilizer for corn-based ethanol would be considered part of the investment. Geological energy to make radioactive uranium or oil would not.
Shortly you should find here a list of available Ayres books, hopefully with reference on how to obtain them over the Internet. Though if possible and convenient, we prefer that you order through your local bookseller.
The essay below is a short version of the main thesis of my new book, entitled “Energy, Complexity and Wealth Maximization”, just published by Springer. It points out the interesting correlation between the expansion and cooling of the universe, and the creation of complexity and diversity. In a fundamental sense, wealth can be characterized as diversity, although the billionaires of Wall Street probably think in terms of money.
But what does money provide if not choices? I venture to think that the ideas discussed here constitute the first baby steps toward a thermodynamic theory of evolution. Even at its full length, the book is hardly a complete theory. There is a lot more to do. But it does suggest that the arrow of time is not necessarily aimed at the cold and the dark.