In 2020, consumption of renewable energy in the United States grew for the fifth year in a row, reaching a record high of 11.6 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), or 12% of total U.S. energy consumption. Renewable energy was the only source of U.S. energy consumption that increased in 2020 from 2019; fossil fuel and nuclear consumption declined. Our U.S. renewable energy consumption by source and sector chart (above, larger version here) shows how much renewable energy by source each sector consumes.
Last year, average fuel economy for light-duty vehicles hit a new high, while the pandemic reduced time on the road, fuel consumption, and emissions. These short-term reductions have spurred efforts to cement even greater long-term fuel efficiency gains and emissions reductions for gasoline-powered vehicles, which are likely to make up the majority of the U.S. automotive market for years to come. At the same time, to meet delivery demands from surges in online ordering by quarantined Americans, freight trucks have regained activity and diesel consumption levels even higher than those seen prior to the pandemic.
Is It Starch or Cellulose? NREL Offers Answers That Could Unlock Incentives for Making Cellulosic Ethanol
Cellulosic ethanol—produced from fibrous cellulose, which gives plants strength and rigidity—offers a range of attractive benefits. When used as a vehicle fuel, it can support deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with a carbon footprint 73% smaller than conventional gasoline. Ethanol made from cellulose can be sourced from widely available crops, like corn stover or switchgrass, that are adapted to grow in a wide range of climates. Not least, it can support clean energy jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities.
Off-setting our carbon footprint is a way for many of us to feel we are doing our bit to save the planet from the ongoing climate emergency. Tree planting schemes have become a popular way to do this. At corporate level, big companies do the same kind of thing to offset the environmental damage they cause, often by signing up to green policies that are committed to reforesting the planet. But in many cases this is perceived as “greenwashing” – where corporations are simply adopting a veneer of environmental responsibility.
Planet Earth is now trapping twice as much heat as it did 14 years ago, according to findings of a new study, which raise concerns about the possible acceleration of climate change.
In the future, your vanilla ice cream may be made from plastic bottles. Scientists have figured out a way to convert plastic waste into vanilla flavoring with genetically engineered bacteria, according to a new study.
Melted plastic trash on beaches can sometimes mix with sediment, basaltic lava fragments and organic debris (such as shells) to produce a new type of rock material, new research shows.
Products have a second life: after their initial use, we must regard them as a valuable resource. Waste should be recycled, not dumped in landfills or otherwise disposed of in nature. In the long term, end-of-life products and unavoidable waste are likely to become the main alternative raw materials for the plastics industry. But in order to make greater use of these sustainable resources, waste management systems must be significantly improved and redesigned.
Green hydrogen fans have lots to cheer about these days as one huge mega-project after another takes shape, but there is also some interesting activity bubbling up on the small end of the scale. With that in mind, let’s check out a new modular, off-grid, above-ground, rainwater harvesting, solar powered hydrogen fuel station over in Australia. Wait, doesn’t the US have one of those, too?
An enormous chunk of ice bigger than Rhode Island has broken off an Antarctic ice shelf, according to the European Space Agency. The floating mass covers more than 1,600 square miles, making it the largest iceberg in the world, agency officials said.