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.

On average, how much solar radiation reaches each square meter of earth?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Correct!

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

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 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 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%. 

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. 

Which has been growing more, energy to heat homes or energy to cool homes?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Current trends indicate that by 2040 residential buildings will consume up to 28% less energy for heating but about 50% more for cooling. 

  • Correct!

    Current trends indicate that by 2040 residential buildings will consume up to 28% less energy for heating but about 50% more for cooling. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Current trends indicate that by 2040 residential buildings will consume up to 28% less energy for heating but about 50% more for cooling. 

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.

The consumption of energy worldwide 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 

  • 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 

Place this badge on your facebook page to show your friends what you know about energy.

Get the badge

Place this badge on your facebook page to show your friends what you know about energy.

Get the badge

OR, get a higher score to unlock a different badge.

Retake the quiz

Place this badge on your facebook page to show your friends what you know about energy.

Get the badge

OR, get a higher score to unlock a different badge.

Retake the quiz

Explore Other Topics

Energy Hands-on

The Promise of Better Lighting

Energy savings through lighting technology

Energy Defined

America's Energy Future (AEF)

A project undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Research Council to evaluate current contributions and likely future impacts of existing and new energy technologies. More information about the project, including a roster of committee members, can be found on the AEF website.

View our full glossary