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The Path to More Sustainable Energy Systems by Daniel M. Martínez, Ben W. Ebenhack

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Chapter 4

Energy Consumption in Economic Sectors

This chapter describes how energy is processed and consumed in the primary sectors of industrial economies.

4.1 Broadly Characterizing Energy Consumption

Consuming energy, in the strictest physical sense, is a misnomer. What is consumed, of course, is an energy resource like coal or oil, commonly referred to as “primary energy.” The energy stored within these resources can be exploited—through some energy conversion process—to extract more useful heat, light, and/or kinetic energy. This useful energy then is used to provide both essential and nonessential services to a society. So, when we talk about energy consumption, we are really talking about our utilization of fuels that can be ultimately ...

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