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?

Of the following fossil fuels, which is typically the least expensive for its energy content?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2005, a million Btu of energy from coal cost approximately $2, versus $5 for natural gas and $10 for oil. However, prices can fluctuate due to changes in the economy and new government policies.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2005, a million Btu of energy from coal cost approximately $2, versus $5 for natural gas and $10 for oil. However, prices can fluctuate due to changes in the economy and new government policies.

  • Correct!

    In 2005, a million Btu of energy from coal cost approximately $2, versus $5 for natural gas and $10 for oil. However, prices can fluctuate due to changes in the economy and new government policies.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

As an automobile fuel, what amount of hydrogen compares with a gallon of gasoline?

  • Correct!

    A gallon of gasoline contains about the same energy as a kg of hydrogen. Although fuel cells are expected to be twice as efficient as gasoline vehicles, hydrogen is very diffuse and storing an ample supply on board represents an engineering challenge.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A gallon of gasoline contains about the same energy as 1 kg of hydrogen. Although fuel cells are expected to be twice as efficient as gasoline vehicles, hydrogen is very diffuse and storing an ample supply on board represents an engineering challenge.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A gallon of gasoline contains about the same energy as 1 kg of hydrogen. Although fuel cells are expected to be twice as efficient as gasoline vehicles, hydrogen is very diffuse and storing an ample supply on board represents an engineering challenge.

About how much of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    More than a quarter of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States.

  • Correct!

    More than a quarter of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    More than a quarter of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States.

How much electricity does an average U.S. household consume each year?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

  • Correct!

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

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Energy Hands-on

Energy Defined

Energy Conversion

The transformation of energy from one form to another. For example, when coal (chemical energy) is burned, it produces heat (thermal energy) that is then captured and used to turn a generator (mechanical energy), which transforms the energy into electricity (electrical energy).

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