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.

By 2030, today's coal-fired power plants are projected to emit how much less CO2 than they emit now?

  • Correct!

    Coal-fired power plants are likely to emit 30% less CO2 in 2030.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Coal-fired power plants are likely to emit 30% less CO2 in 2030.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Coal-fired power plants are likely to emit 30% less CO2 in 2030.

The United States is home to how many of the world's automobiles?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Correct!

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

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%.

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.

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.

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.

What is the commonly accepted unit of measurement for electric current—or the amount of an electric charge passing a point per unit time?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

  • Correct!

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

In 2008, approximately how much of the oil used in the U.S. was imported?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the U.S. imported about 66% of its oil supply. This percentage is expected to grow even higher over the next two decades.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the U.S. imported about 66% of its oil supply. This percentage is expected to grow even higher over the next two decades.

  • Correct!

    In 2008, the U.S. imported about 66% of its oil supply. This percentage is expected to grow even higher over the next two decades.

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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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