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?

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.

Which renewable energy source contributed the most to the total energy consumed in the United States in 2014?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Correct!

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

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.

What is the commonly accepted unit of measurement for electric current—or the amount of an electric charge passing a point per unit time?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

  • Correct!

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The ampere, or amp, is the most commonly used measurement for electric current.

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. 

Combustion of gasoline and diesel fuel emits which of the following?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Correct!

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

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.

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. 

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.

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