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?

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.

What type of transportation uses the most total energy?

  • Correct!

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

On average, which is most efficient in coverting heat into electic power?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Correct!

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

Refrigerators became 70% more efficient between 1972 and 2001, primarily due to regulation. What is a market response to increased efficiency of refrigerators?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Refrigerators are not likely to be used more or less hours in the day, but people are more likely to have more of them if they cost less to operate.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Refrigerators are not likely to be used more or less hours in the day, but people are more likely to have more of them if they cost less to operate.

  • Correct!

    Refrigerators are not likely to be used more or less hours in the day, but people are more likely to have more of them if they cost less to operate.

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. 

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 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.

Which of the following energy sources releases carbon dioxide when burned?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Correct!

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

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. 

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