After I wrote Oil On the Brain, I got interested in the potential of big, industrial scale energy efficiency. US manufacturers had many decades of relatively cheap energy prices, and so for some, the ability to turn energy into products lags behind manufacturers in Asia and Europe. Beyond price, there are a few other knotty reasons for this having to do with moribund utility policies and corporate attitudes.
Here’s an article I did about Tom and Sean Casten and their work in steel mills for the Atlantic.
And here’s an article I did for the Nation about designing policies to catch all that wasted steam.
And then I went to China to see what they were doing with their steel mills (in 2008.) The US makes a lot of its innovative business culture. But it’s striking how nimble China is when it comes to innovating on energy. Here’s the article, reprinted on the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab website.
This image is from a box of matches I saw in Sweden.