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  • 2017-04-10 06:05:36
  • Article ID: 672674

Americans Use More Clean Energy in 2016

  • The 2016 energy flow chart released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory details the sources of energy production, how Americans are using energy and how much waste exists.

  • Credit: Photo courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    The U.S. used more renewable energy in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

 Americans used more renewable energy in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Overall, energy consumption was nearly flat.

Each year, the Laboratory releases energy flow charts that illustrate the nation's consumption and use of energy. Americans used 0.1 quads (quadrillion BTU), more in 2016 than in 2015. A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measurement for energy; 3,400 BTU is equivalent to about 1 kilowatt-hour.

Prices for photovoltaic panels have fallen dramatically over the past decade, contributing to solar energy's rapid growth, which rose by 0.15 quads or 38 percent in 2016, with significant additions in the electricity, commercial and residential sectors.  “Two thirds of that increase was in the electric sector,” said A.J. Simon, group leader for LLNL’s energy program.  “These are large installations of thousands of solar panels, usually in the desert.”  Installations on the roofs of homes and warehouses account for the rest of the additions.

Likewise, more wind power is contributing to the nation’s utility grid. Use of wind power rose by 19 percent or 0.33 quads. “Generous incentives for renewable energy, combined with improved ‘know-how’ in siting and building wind farms, has led to a favorable environment for growth in this sector,” Simon said.

Coal use decreased by 9 percent to 14.2 quads, mostly due to decreased coal supply to the electricity sector.  That supply has been replaced by wind, solar and natural gas. Overall, natural gas use rose by 1 percent to 28.5 quads.

Energy use in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors all declined slightly, while consumption of fossil fuels in the transportation sector rose by 0.5 quads or 2 percent.

All energy use results in some losses, shown on the charts as rejected energy.  This energy most often takes the form of waste heat, such as the warm exhaust from automobiles and furnaces. The efficiency of the nation’s cars, lightbulbs and factories determines how much waste heat is produced, and how much of fuel and electricity can be put to productive use. 

This year marks two changes to the energy flow chart. The Energy Information Administration has changed the way it analyzes and reports renewable energy use, and those changes are reflected in the 2016 chart as well as a revision to the 2015 analysis.  Additionally, the estimate of efficiency of the industrial sector has been reduced from 80 percent to 49 percent to align with recent analysis at the DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. LLNL reports all year-over-year changes on a basis consistent with the new methodology.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

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Rutgers Scientists Discover 'Legos of Life'

Rutgers scientists have found the "Legos of life" - four core chemical structures that can be stacked together to build the myriad proteins inside every organism - after smashing and dissecting nearly 10,000 proteins to understand their component parts. The four building blocks make energy available for humans and all other living organisms, according to a study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Theoretical Physicist Elena Belova Named to Editorial Board of Physics of Plasmas

Theoretical physicist Elena Belova named to editorial board of Physics of Plasmas

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The Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) today announced the funding of $1.87 million for seven new industry projects under an ongoing initiative designed to utilize DOE's high-performance computing (HPC) resources and expertise to advance U.S. manufacturing and clean energy technologies.

DOE Announces First Awardees for New HPC4Materials for Severe Environments Program

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Two Argonne Scientists Recognized for a Decade of Breakthroughs

Two scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have been named to the Web of Science's Highly Cited List of 2017, ranking in the top 1 percent of their peers by citations and subject area. Materials Scientist Khalil Amine and Energy and Environmental Policy Scientist David Streets say they are thrilled to see their work -- and the laboratory -- recognized in such a way.

Argonne Welcomes Department of Energy Secretary Perry

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Argonne National Laboratory yesterday, getting a first-hand view of the multifaceted and interdisciplinary research program laboratory of the Department.

Argonne names John Quintana Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations and COO

John Quintana has been named Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

Developing Next-Generation Sensing Technologies

Recently, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $20 million in funding for 15 projects that will develop a new class of sensor systems to enable significant energy savings via reduced demand for heating and cooling in residential and commercial buildings.


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Exploring Past, Present, and Future Water Availability Regionally, Globally

New open-source software simulates river and runoff resources.

Arctic Photosynthetic Capacity and Carbon Dioxide Assimilation Underestimated by Terrestrial Biosphere Models

New measurements offer data vital to projecting plant response to environmental changes.

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Non-destructive technique identifies key variations in Alaskan soils, quickly providing insights into carbon levels.

Superconducting Tokamaks Are Standing Tall

Plasma physicists significantly improve the vertical stability of a Korean fusion device.

Graphene Flexes Its Muscle

Crumpling reduces rigidity in an otherwise stiff material, making it less prone to catastrophic failure.

Remotely Predicting Leaf Age in Tropical Forests

New approach offers data across species, sites, and canopies, providing insights into carbon uptake by forests.

What's the Noise Eating Quantum Bits?

The magnetic noise caused by adsorbed oxygen molecules is "eating at" the phase stability of quantum bits, mitigating the noise is vital for future quantum computers.

Rewritable Wires Could Mean No More Obsolete Circuitry

An electric field switches the conductivity on and off in atomic-scale channels, which could allow for upgrades at will.

Filtering Water Better than Nature

Water passes through human-made straws faster than the "gold standard" protein, allowing us to filter seawater.

Machine Learning Provides a Bridge to the Texture of the Quantum World

Machine learning and neural networks are the foundation of artificial intelligence and image recognition, but now they offer a bridge to see and recognize exotic insulating phases in quantum materials.


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