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WHAT AMERICA RUNS ON

Digg · Updated:

America is consuming more energy than ever before, according to the Energy Information Administration. With scientists sounding the alarm that we need to reduce our usage of greenhouse gas-intensive fuels soon, it's interesting to take a look at what sources from which we derive all of our energy.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory crunched the numbers, looking through data from the EIA, and produced an energy flow chart depicting energy by sector and source — including solar, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass and petroleum. See the full-sized image here.

One key takeaway from the energy flow chart is how much energy we waste (labeled in the chart as "rejected energy"), the vast majority of which seemingly comes from fossil fuel sources. The reason why "rejected energy," the waste heat resulting from the process of electricity generation, occupies such a large part of the system is mostly due to the inefficiency of our current energy systems.

And as you can also see from the chart, despite the dogged efforts of figures like Elon Musk, who has grand ambitions for his solar business, America's biggest energy product is still petroleum.


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