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?

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. 

On average, how much solar radiation reaches each square meter of earth?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Correct!

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

Energy intensity is a measure of:

  • Correct!

    Energy intensity is a measure of a nation's energy efficiency represented through energy use per unit of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Energy intensity is a measure of a nation's energy efficiency represented through energy use per unit of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Energy intensity is a measure of a nation's energy efficiency represented through energy use per unit of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

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%. 

Which of the following is emitted by coal-fired power plants?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted from coal-fired power plants and can be harmful to our health and the environment.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted from coal-fired power plants and can be harmful to our health and the environment.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted from coal-fired power plants and can be harmful to our health and the environment.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted from coal-fired power plants and can be harmful to our health and the environment.

  • Correct!

    All of the above are emitted from coal-fired power plants and can be harmful to our health and the environment.

What is the primary energy user in the industrial sector?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A few industries use a very large share of energy in the industrial sector. Petroleum refining is the principal consumer, with the chemical industry a close second. Those users, plus the paper and metal industries, account for 78% of total industrial energy use.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A few industries use a very large share of energy in the industrial sector. Petroleum refining is the principal consumer, with the chemical industry a close second. Those users, plus the paper and metal industries, account for 78% of total industrial energy use.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A few industries use a very large share of energy in the industrial sector. Petroleum refining is the principal consumer, with the chemical industry a close second. Those users, plus the paper and metal industries, account for 78% of total industrial energy use.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A few industries use a very large share of energy in the industrial sector. Petroleum refining is the principal consumer, with the chemical industry a close second. Those users, plus the paper and metal industries, account for 78% of total industrial energy use.

  • Correct!

    A few industries use a very large share of energy in the industrial sector. Petroleum refining is the principal consumer, with the chemical industry a close second. Those users, plus the paper and metal industries, account for 78% of total industrial energy use.

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.

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.

Renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biofuels, waste, and wood) accounted for what percentage of the total energy supply in the United States in 2014?

  • Correct!

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

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