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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 BTUs from business-as-usual. These and other changes (energy changes due fuel switching or transformation in other sectors) can reduce projected primary energy use by 27% in 2050.


U.S. natural gas consumption

In Reinventing Fire, natural gas consumption in 2050 is reduced by 36% relative to business-as-usual. This reduction is primarily enabled by improved efficiency in commercial and residential buildings and less reliance on natural gas in the electricity sector.


Electricity scenarios

In Reinventing Fire, Rocky Mountain Institute investigates the implications of four radically different future electricity scenarios - from a “business-as-usual” case to a network of intelligent microgrids powered largely by distributed renewables.


Emerging energy efficient technologies in industry

Based on Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) technology reports, a number of measures were considered for adoption. This table features a sampling of these measures, with information on each measure’s technical potential, associated energy savings, and cost.


Biofeedstock supply curve

The 16 quadrillion BTU of biomass used in 2050 in Reinventing Fire is supplied by agricultural residue, mill residue, dedicated energy crops, municipal solid waste and forestry residue. No cropland or edible feedstock is required.


U.S. price vs. rated efficiency of 250–hp motors

Premium-efficiency motors are normally assumed to cost more because they use more and better copper and iron. Yet analysis of all models on the 2010 U.S. market, in this case for 250 hp (TEFC, NEMA Type B) shows this is untrue despite standards’ having knocked the least efficient models off the market.


Technologies that convert waste heat to electricity

Based on a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report on technologies that generate electricity from waste heat (and other waste energy sources), our analysis adopted the options summarized in the table.


Building energy use and square footage, 1950–2006

Both building energy use and total square footage have steadily increased in the United States since 1950. Total building energy use has almost quadrupled, due to increases in building number and size, as well as the adoption of such energy-intensive technologies as color televisions, computers, and air conditioning.


Estimates for combined heat and power and waste heat recovery

RMI analysis predicts a net increase of industrial combined heat and power (CHP) installations of 109 GW, split between traditional cogeneration units and waste heat recovery to electricity systems.


2050 installed capacity by case

The required generating capacity and its breakdown are very different in each of Rocky Mountain Institute’s four scenarios for the future U.S. electricity system (detailed here).


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