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?

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, about how much have atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased?

  • Correct!

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

In 2014, how much of the world's CO2 is released by the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

  • Correct!

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

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.

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 renewable energy source contributed the most to the total energy consumed in the United States in 2014?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Correct!

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

True or false? Wind energy generation is increasing in the United States.

  • Correct!

    In the United States, the amount of electricity generated from wind doubled between 2009 and 2014, and now makes up 18% of all renewable energy consumed and almost 2% of total U.S. energy use. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In the United States, the amount of electricity generated from wind doubled between 2009 and 2014, and now makes up 18% of all renewable energy consumed and almost 2% of total U.S. energy use. 

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.

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%. 

True or false? Fuel cells store energy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fuel cells are an efficient way to convert hydrogen to electricity, but the energy is stored in the hydrogen.

  • Correct!

    Fuel cells are an efficient way to convert hydrogen to electricity, but the energy is stored in the hydrogen.

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