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 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 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.

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. 

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, about how much have atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased?

  • Correct!

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

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.

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. 

In 2014, what percentage of the United States' total energy consumption came from oil?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

  • Correct!

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

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.

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Natural Gas

A gas mixture that occurs naturally in underground deposits. It is composed primarily of methane and may contain other hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. Commonly employed as a fuel for electricity generation, it is also used for space heating, industrial processes, and as a starting material for the manufacture of chemicals and other products.

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