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Published on August 17th, 2009 | by Timothy B. Hurst

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U.S. Energy Use Drops in 2008 [Infographics]

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August 17th, 2009 by
 

Americans used more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Estimated U.S. Energy use dipped in 2008 to 99.2 quads (quadrillion BTUs), down from 101.2 quads in 2007. Energy flow charts show the relative size of primary energy resources and end uses in the United States, with fuels compared on a common energy unit basis. The amount of energy in one quad is equivalent to that produced by the burning of 36,000,000 tonnes of coal.

Energy use in the industrial and transportation sectors declined by 1.17 and 0.9 quads respectively, while commercial and residential use slightly climbed. The drop in transportation and industrial use — which are both heavily dependent on petroleum — can be attributed to a spike in oil prices in summer 2008.

Energy Flow Charts via U.S. Dept. of Energy: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.



  • Tom Lakosh

    At least 10% of that rejected heat can be converted to electricity by off the shelf Organic Rankine Cycle generators that can use wate heat as low as 165F. Pacific Northwest Labs are developing a Metal Organic Heat Capture molecule that could improve low temperature heat transfer considerably. Using this waste heat should be a DOE priority both in R&D and deployment. DOE should dispatch teams to every generation station to engineer ORC bottoming cycles to improve generation efficiency by >10%. This same principle can be used to capture waste heat from vehicle engines for increased hybrid power or elimination of alternators.

  • Tom Lakosh

    At least 10% of that rejected heat can be converted to electricity by off the shelf Organic Rankine Cycle generators that can use wate heat as low as 165F. Pacific Northwest Labs are developing a Metal Organic Heat Capture molecule that could improve low temperature heat transfer considerably. Using this waste heat should be a DOE priority both in R&D and deployment. DOE should dispatch teams to every generation station to engineer ORC bottoming cycles to improve generation efficiency by >10%. This same principle can be used to capture waste heat from vehicle engines for increased hybrid power or elimination of alternators.

  • Bill W

    So, that huge amount of “Rejected Energy” is energy we can use in the future by improving efficiency, right? Of course, the fine print says those are just estimates based on 80% efficiency in non-transportation uses and 25% efficiency in transportation. Still, if those estimates are anywhere near accurate, there are large gains to be made by improving efficiency.

  • Bill W

    So, that huge amount of “Rejected Energy” is energy we can use in the future by improving efficiency, right? Of course, the fine print says those are just estimates based on 80% efficiency in non-transportation uses and 25% efficiency in transportation. Still, if those estimates are anywhere near accurate, there are large gains to be made by improving efficiency.

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