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?

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.

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 renewable energy source contributed the most to the total energy consumed in the United States in 2008?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

  • Correct!

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

In the United States, which economic sector releases the most CO2?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In the United States, the transportation sector releases the most CO2. In 2006, the transportation sector released nearly 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, nearly all of which was from oil.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In the United States, the transportation sector releases the most CO2. In 2006, the transportation sector released nearly 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, nearly all of which was from oil.

  • Correct!

    In the United States, the transportation sector releases the most CO2. In 2006, the transportation sector released nearly 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, nearly all of which was from oil.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In the United States, the transportation sector releases the most CO2. In 2006, the transportation sector released nearly 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, nearly all of which was from oil.

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.

Which energy sources together account for 84% of the energy used in the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) account for 84% of the energy used in the United States.

  • Correct!

    Fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) account for 84% of the energy used in the United States.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) account for 84% of the energy used in the United States.

In 2008, of the four economic sectors, which used the most energy in the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

  • Correct!

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

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.

What percentage of America's total energy came from wind in 2008?

  • Correct!

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

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Energy Hands-on

Energy Defined

Photovoltaic (PV) Cell

Sometimes referred to as a solar cell, a device that utilizes the photoelectric effect to convert incident sunlight directly into electricity. This can be distinguished from solar thermal energy, which is sometimes used to create electricity indirectly.

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