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U.S. industry energy-saving potential, 2010–2050


Increased adoption of energy efficient technologies as well as cogeneration and waste heat recovery systems will reduce energy use by an additional 4.7 quadrillion BTU/y from business-as-usual. These and other changes (energy changes due to fuel- switching or to transformation in other sectors) can reduce projected energy use by 27%.

These gains consist of: 1) emerging technologies that we assume to keep improving to keep pace with their adoption, 2) cogeneration of electricity and useful heat, and 3) recapture of high-temperature and high-pressure waste streams to generate electricity. The limited integrative-design savings considered could further raise the 27% savings to 30%.

For more details on the net refining reduction, see Changes in industrial energy use from transportation and electricity sectors.

Note: The large biomass inputs are driven in large part due to process energy required for biofuel production (in which the assumed efficiency is based on the corn-stover cellulosic ethanol process). The majority of the biomass inputs are derived from dedicated energy crops or agricultural residue from existing food crops.


RMI analysis using data from:

A. U.S. Department of Energy. Annual Energy Outlook 2010, "Energy Prices by Sector and Source, United States, Reference Case.” link

B. Xu, Tengfang, J. Slaa, and J. Sathaye. 2010. Characterizing Costs and Savings Benefits from a Selection of Energy Efficient Emerging Technologies in the United States. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. link

C. Martin, N., E. Worrell, M. Ruth, L. Price, R. Elliott, and A. Shipley. 2000. Emerging Energy-Efficient Industrial Technologies. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. link

D. Bailey, Owen, and Ernst Worrell. 2005. Clean Energy Technologies: A Preliminary Inventory of the Potential for Electricity Generation. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April. link