The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Energy

What do you know about energy?

True or False: Burning coal in electric power plants is a major source of CO2 and other emissions. However, its use doesn't have negative consequences beyond the emissions caused by combustion.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

  • Correct!

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

True or False: Burning biofuels does not release carbon dioxide.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Correct!

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

Which primary energy source did we depend on the most to generate electricity in the United States in 2008?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

  • Correct!

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

What percentage of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008?

  • Correct!

    Almost 1% of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Almost 1% of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Almost 1% of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008.

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.

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

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With 5% of the planet's population, the United States uses 20% of the world's total energy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With 5% of the planet's population, the United States uses 20% of the world's total energy.

  • Correct!

    With 5% of the planet's population, the United States uses 20% of the world's total energy.

True or False: Lighting accounts for 18% of all electricity used in the United States.

  • Correct!

    Lighting accounts for 18% of the electricity used in the United States. A 12% decrease in overall electricity use in buildings could be realized if incandescent bulbs were replaced with CFL or LED bulbs.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Lighting accounts for 18% of the electricity used in the United States. A 12% decrease in overall electricity use in buildings could be realized if incandescent bulbs were replaced with CFL or LED bulbs.

How much carbon dioxide is emitted by the average U.S. car driving one mile?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

  • Correct!

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

What percentage of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

  • Correct!

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

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Hydrogen Fuel Cell

An emerging technology which uses a controlled combination of hydrogen and oxygen to generate electrical current, giving off only water vapor as a by-product.

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