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?

Renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biofuels, waste, and wood) accounted for what percentage of the total energy supply in the United States in 2014?

  • Correct!

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

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.

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%. 

According to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, what is the average miles per gallon (mpg) required for new cars, SUVs, and light trucks (combined) by 2025?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Correct!

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

What percentage of harvested corn was used to produce ethanol in the U.S. in 2014?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, about 38% of harvested corn in the US went to make ethanol and its associated coproducts

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, about 38% of harvested corn in the US went to make ethanol and its associated coproducts

  • Correct!

    In 2014, about 38% of harvested corn in the US went to make ethanol and its associated coproducts

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, about 38% of harvested corn in the US went to make ethanol and its associated coproducts

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, about 38% of harvested corn in the US went to make ethanol and its associated coproducts

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, about 38% of harvested corn in the US went to make ethanol and its associated coproducts

True or false? Carbon capture and storage would reduce energy efficiency of a coal plant?

  • Correct!

    Carbon capture and storage will reduce energy efficiency of a coal plant, though it will decrease carbon emissions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Carbon capture and storage will reduce energy efficiency of a coal plant, though it will decrease carbon emissions.

Which of the following is considered an obstacle to cars running on hydrogen fuel cells?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the reasons mentioned are considered obstacles to producing cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the reasons mentioned are considered obstacles to producing cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the reasons mentioned are considered obstacles to producing cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells.

  • Correct!

    All of the reasons mentioned are considered obstacles to producing cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells.

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.

The consumption of energy in the United States is projected to rise by how much between 2013 and 2040?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption is projected to rise 9% by 2040, or 0.3% per year, while global consumption will increase about 50% over the same period

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption is projected to rise 9% by 2040, or 0.3% per year, while global consumption will increase about 50% over the same period

  • Correct!

    U.S. energy consumption is projected to rise 9% by 2040, or 0.3% per year, while global consumption will increase about 50% over the same period

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption is projected to rise 9% by 2040, or 0.3% per year, while global consumption will increase about 50% over the same period

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Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

A colorless, odorless, non-poisonous gas consisting of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. A by-product of fossil fuel combustion and other industrial processes, it is considered a greenhouse gas because it traps heat (infrared energy) radiated from Earth within the atmosphere. For this reason, CO2 is believed to be a major contributor to human-induced climate change.

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