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?

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.

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.

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.

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 not a primary energy source?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Correct!

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

Which energy sources together account for 84% of the energy used in the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) account for 84% of the energy used in the United States.

  • Correct!

    Fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) account for 84% of the energy used in the United States.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) account for 84% of the energy used in the United States.

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.

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.

True or False: Lighting accounts for 18% of all electricity used in the United States.

  • Correct!

    Lighting accounts for 18% of the electricity used in the United States. A 12% decrease in overall electricity use in buildings could be realized if incandescent bulbs were replaced with CFL or LED bulbs.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Lighting accounts for 18% of the electricity used in the United States. A 12% decrease in overall electricity use in buildings could be realized if incandescent bulbs were replaced with CFL or LED bulbs.

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Energy Hands-on

Energy Defined

British Thermal Unit

A unit of measure for the energy content of fuels. One Btu is the amount of energy needed to raise a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

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