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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Most of the world's energy originates from which two primary sources:

  • Correct!

    The energy we capture for use on Earth comes largely from the sun or from nuclear forces local to our own planet.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The energy we capture for use on Earth comes largely from the sun or from nuclear forces local to our own planet.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The energy we capture for use on Earth comes largely from the sun or from nuclear forces local to our own planet.

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.

Which of the following sources do experts expect will provide us with the “silver bullet” solution to our energy needs?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

  • Correct!

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

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%.

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Energy Hands-on

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Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)

A technology that converts coal into synthetic gas, or “syngas.” See Coal Gasification.

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