Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

Photo Friday: Where does it come from? Where does it go? Visualizing Energy Flows


Each year, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory publishes a powerful graphic of U.S. energy use. In the most recent version, one can see how the ~97 quadrillion british-thermal units (quads) of energy used in the United States can be broken down by uses and sectors. This total consumption represnts a 2.4% increase in energy use compared to 2012 and is still slightly less than energy use in 2010.

Overall, just under 60% of primary energy resources were rejected, often as "waste heat." Almost 92% of coal was used for electricity generation, with the remaining 8% being used directly by industry. As shown along the bottom of the chart, about 92% of the 27 quads used for transportation was supplied by petroleum.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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