On the Efficiency of US Electricity Usage since 1900

Ayres RU, Ayres LW, & Pokrovsky V (2004). On the Efficiency of US Electricity Usage since 1900. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-04-027

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Abstract

This article reconstructs the history of electric power uses in the US from 1900 through 1998 from a number of different sources of data. The uses are grouped into functional categories, viz. lighting, electrolysis, high temperature heat (electric furnace applications), low temperature heat (space heating and hot water), motor drive and electronics (radio, TV and information processing). Motor drive accounts for by far the most rapidly increasing application. We were able to subdivide motor drive into transportation applications (very important in the early years), air-conditioning and refrigeration, and 'other', but a further breakdown has not been possible, based on available data. The article also estimates the efficiency of conversion from electric power to 'secondary work' for each application, based on historical data (wheer available) and estimates. All applications have become increasingly efficient, although at markedly different rates. Finally, we develop an estimate of the overall conversion efficiency of electricity to secondary work. Surprisingly, the overall efficiency has remained almost constant during the past century, even though all individual applications have become more efficient, because the least efficient application (low temperature heat) has sharply increased its share.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Institute Scholars (INS)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:17
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2016 00:35
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/7419

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