Energy Use in Industry – Basics
The United States is a highly industrialized country. Industry accounts for about one-third of the energy used in the country.
There are a variety of different energy sources used in the industrial sector. Energy sources can be used as boiler fuel, which is used to generate steam or hot water. Energy sources can also be used in process heating, which is used to raise the temperature of products in the manufacturing process. Energy sources are also used as feedstocks to make products.
Industry uses many energy sources
In the manufacturing sector, the predominant energy sources are natural gas and electricity (a secondary source).
Manufacturers also use several other energy sources for heat, power, and electricity generation:
- Pulping liquor from paper making
- Agricultural waste
- Tree wood
- Wood residues from mill processing
- Wood-related and paper-related refuse
Energy use by type of industry
Every industry uses energy, but there are a handful of energy-intensive industries that use most of the energy consumed by the industrial sector.
The petroleum refining industry is the largest industrial consumer of energy, followed closely by the chemical industry. The refining, chemical, paper, and metal industries combine to use 96% of energy feedstocks; 60% of energy consumed for heat, power, and electricity generation; and 78% of total energy use.
Energy sources used as feedstocks
Many energy sources like coal and petroleum are used in manufacturing. When raw materials are used in the manufacturing process, they are called feedstocks.
Liquefied petroleum gas, coal, natural gas, and other, less common sources were used as energy-related feedstocks in 2010:
- Liquefied petroleum gas (33%)
- Coal (8%)
- Natural gas (8%)
- Other, less common sources (49%)