The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

What You Need To Know About Energy

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.

How efficient are ordinary commercial solar cell units?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

  • Correct!

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

America, with 5% of the planet's population, consumes how much of the world's oil?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, total world consumption was approximately 92 million barrels per day, about 19 million or 21% of which were used by the United States.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, total world consumption was approximately 92 million barrels per day, about 19 million or 21% of which were used by the United States.

  • Correct!

    As of 2014, total world consumption was approximately 92 million barrels per day, about 19 million or 21% of which were used by the United States.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, total world consumption was approximately 92 million barrels per day, about 19 million or 21% of which were used by the United States.

On average, which is most efficient in coverting heat into electic power?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Correct!

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

What is the largest reservoir of stored solar energy?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fossil fuels represent the largest source of stored solar energy, resulting from the transformation of biomass over millions of years into oil, natural gas and coal. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fossil fuels represent the largest source of stored solar energy, resulting from the transformation of biomass over millions of years into oil, natural gas and coal. 

  • Correct!

    Fossil fuels represent the largest source of stored solar energy, resulting from the transformation of biomass over millions of years into oil, natural gas and coal. 

In 2014, approximately how much of the oil used in the U.S. was imported?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States imported approximately 27% of its oil. More than one-third of that came from Canada.

  • Correct!

    The United States imported approximately 27% of its oil. More than one-third of that came from Canada.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States imported approximately 27% of its oil. More than one-third of that came from Canada.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States imported approximately 27% of its oil. More than one-third of that came from Canada.

Which renewable energy source contributed the most to the total energy consumed in the United States in 2014?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Correct!

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

Combustion of gasoline and diesel fuel emits which of the following?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Correct!

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

Which source(s) of energy are not nuclear in origin?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Solar energy comes from nuclear reactions in the sun.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Geothermal energy comes from radioactive decay inside the earth.

  • Correct!

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Solar energy comes from nuclear reactions in the sun, and geothermal energy comes from radioactive decay inside the earth.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Solar energy comes from nuclear reactions in the sun, and geothermal energy comes from radioactive decay inside the earth.

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