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?

True or false? Fuel cells store energy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Fuel cells are an efficient way to convert hydrogen to electricity, but the energy is stored in the hydrogen.

  • Correct!

    Fuel cells are an efficient way to convert hydrogen to electricity, but the energy is stored in the hydrogen.

Which has been growing more, energy used by lighting and appliances or energy used for heating and cooling?

  • Correct!

    For decades, more than half of all residential energy use went  to space heating and cooling; in 1993, it accounted for nearly 60%. But EIA data show that by 2009, that share had dropped to 48%. And in the period 1993 to 2009, energy for appliances, electronics, and lighting rose from 24% to 35%, owing to the proliferation of appliances, as well as trends toward larger TVs and other devices.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    For decades, more than half of all residential energy use went  to space heating and cooling; in 1993, it accounted for nearly 60%. But EIA data show that by 2009, that share had dropped to 48%. And in the period 1993 to 2009, energy for appliances, electronics, and lighting rose from 24% to 35%, owing to the proliferation of appliances, as well as trends toward larger TVs and other devices.

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. 

The United States is home to how many of the world's automobiles?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Correct!

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

In 2014, approximately how much energy did the United States use, in quadrillion BTUs?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

  • Correct!

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

If electricity production wastes between 40 and 65% of the primary energy source, why is it used?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Most direct uses of primary energy are limited to generating heat and motion. Electricity, by contrast, is extremely versatile, with a wide range of complex applications. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Most direct uses of primary energy are limited to generating heat and motion. Electricity, by contrast, is extremely versatile, with a wide range of complex applications. 

  • Correct!

    Most direct uses of primary energy are limited to generating heat and motion. Electricity, by contrast, is extremely versatile, with a wide range of complex applications. 

True or false? Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have increased oil and gas production in the U.S.

  • Correct!

    Extraction of "tight" oil—light crude oil contained in geological formations of shale or sandstone—accounted for only 12% of total U.S. oil production in 2008. By 2012, it made up 35%, and is predicted to rise to 50% in the near term.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Extraction of "tight" oil—light crude oil contained in geological formations of shale or sandstone—accounted for only 12% of total U.S. oil production in 2008. By 2012, it made up 35%, and is predicted to rise to 50% in the near term.

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%. 

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.

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An agency within the Department of Energy (DOE) that provides policy-neutral data, forecasts, and analyses to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

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