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?

What percentage of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

  • Correct!

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

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.

Which residential usage consumes the largest amount of energy?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

  • Correct!

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

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.

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 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.

Renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biofuels, waste, and wood) accounted for what percentage of the total energy supply in the United States in 2008?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Renewable energy accounted for 7% of the total U.S. energy supply in 2008, less than any other type of energy source.

  • Correct!

    Renewable energy accounted for 7% of the total U.S. energy supply in 2008, less than any other type of energy source.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Renewable energy accounted for 7% of the total U.S. energy supply in 2008, less than any other type of energy source.

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 two developing countries are expected to have the greatest growth in energy consumption between 2006 and 2030?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States and Canada are both developed countries. China and India are projected to have the greatest growth in energy consumption between 2006 and 2030.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States and Canada are both developed countries. China and India are projected to have the greatest growth in energy consumption between 2006 and 2030.

  • Correct!

    The United States and Canada are both developed countries. China and India are projected to have the greatest growth in energy consumption between 2006 and 2030.

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Energy Hands-on

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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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