Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cars and energy, part 3

This came across my field of view not too long ago. The top graphic represents the energy use in the US (2009); the bottom, the same for Canada (2007).

{click to enlarge. Credit to Lawrence Livermore labs and the DOE, under whose auspices the work was done.}

{click to enlarge. Credit to Lawrence Livermore labs and the DOE, under whose auspices the work was done.}

I like the clear visualization this gives of what type of energy goes into what final use. You can see that petroleum - the dark green box at the lower left - goes mostly into transportation.So really, weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels is primarily about rethinking transportation.

What is also simply astounding is the "rejected energy": this is a euphemism for wasted energy. There's a bit of explanation here, but basically there are losses at all the points in the energy-use chain: during the production, transmission, and use. Mostly the energy is lost as heat. And you can easily see how wasteful the transporation sector is!

Because we waste such an incredible portion of the energy we generate, we have to over-build our generation and transmission systems - and by a large factor.

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