Energy service technology

An energy service technology is a system that transforms energy currency (electricity, gasoline, etc.) into a useful task. These technologies are everywhere, and include:

The two main energy currencies are electricity and gasoline, seen in Figure 1, as they are extremely versatile in their use and provide extraordinary services. These forms of energy allow people to communicate across the world, move vast distances, and much more, however in their raw form they are essentially unusable. They require the use of such technologies listed above in order to achieve these tasks.

Figure 1. A diagram of how energy makes its way from the sun into the energy services used everyday. Energy currencies like electricity and gasoline are a critical step.[1] Without the currency stage, the primary energy wouldn't be able to be turned into the energy service.

Many energy service technologies take a tremendous amount of energy to create. Their materials must be mined and refined, smelted, reprocessed, and manufactured. The end product must also be transported to where it can be made useful. All in all the energy it takes to make a technology adds up, far beyond what a consumer could imagine. This is known as a technology's embedded energy - the energy that was required to make it is "embedded" within it.


  1. This drawing was made by Xining Chen for this website in August 2014 and is used with her permission.

Authors and Editors

Jordan Hanania, Jason Donev
Last updated: November 13, 2015
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