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Figure%201.%20A%20power%20plant%20in%20ManhattanClick to Enlarge ImageIn the United States, the conversion efficiency of fuel into useful services, such as creating electricity or heating homes, remains low, at just 13 percent in 2005. Facing growing fuel costs and global warming, increasing the output from the fuel we already use should be top priority—in particular, by “recycling” the huge amount of heat currently wasted during the generation of electricity. The authors advocate several methods to increase local energy production and heat recycling—a la Thomas Edison’s powerplants of the early 20th century—that could increase fuel conversion efficiency to 60 percent.

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