The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Energy

Catalysis for Energy: Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Science Catalysis Science Program (2009)

Catalysis, the process by which a substance (a catalyst) increases the rate of a chemical reaction, is essential to energy transformations and therefore integral to current and future energy solutions. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this report presents an in-depth analysis of the investment in catalysis basic research by DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences Catalysis Science Program. The report finds that investments in the program have been well directed, have led to a greater understanding of fundamental catalytic processes, and have contributed to long-term national energy goals. In fact, catalysis is central to many exciting frontiers in producing and saving energy, including converting biomass to liquid fuels; utilizing water as a source of hydrogen fuel; and capturing emissions with greater efficiency and selectivity. The report concludes that the program’s successful model for funding single investigator and small group grants should continue, with some specific recommended changes in the types of studies pursued.

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Energy Hands-on

What do you know about energy?

Which of the following is frequently used as a unit of measurement for the energy content of fuels?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.

  • Correct!

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.