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: 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.

What type of transportation uses the most total energy?

  • Correct!

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

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.

What technology was most responsible for increase in lighting efficiency from 45 Im/W in 2001 to 58 Im/W in 2010?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Increasing market share of compact fluorescents was primarily responsible for the increased lighting efficiency between 2001 and 2010.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Increasing market share of compact fluorescents was primarily responsible for the increased lighting efficiency between 2001 and 2010.

  • Correct!

    Increasing market share of compact fluorescents was primarily responsible for the increased lighting efficiency between 2001 and 2010.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Increasing market share of compact fluorescents was primarily responsible for the increased lighting efficiency between 2001 and 2010.

Refrigerators became 70% more efficient between 1972 and 2001, primarily due to regulation. What is a market response to increased efficiency of refrigerators?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Refrigerators are not likely to be used more or less hours in the day, but people are more likely to have more of them if they cost less to operate.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Refrigerators are not likely to be used more or less hours in the day, but people are more likely to have more of them if they cost less to operate.

  • Correct!

    Refrigerators are not likely to be used more or less hours in the day, but people are more likely to have more of them if they cost less to operate.

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: Burning biofuels does not release carbon dioxide.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Correct!

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

Which of the following energy sources releases carbon dioxide when burned?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Correct!

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

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%. 

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