The U.S. Energy Information Administration has launched a new website that contains wonderful information about energy described in terms laypersons can understand. It can be found at http://tonto/eia.doe.gov/energyexplained/ . Here are some examples of information you can find there:
— A British Thermal Unit (Btu) is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pount of liquid water by 1 degree Farenheit at the temperature that water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees F.).
— One Btu is about the amount of energy burned by a common kitchen match. One million Btu equals about 8 gallons of gasoline. One billion Btu eqals all the electricity that 300 households consume in one month.
— Renewable Energy supplies 7% of U.S. total energy needs. Of that 7%, solar energy supplies 1%, geothermal energy supplies 5%, wind energy supplies 7%, hydropower supplies 34%, and biomass (wood, ethanol from corn, biodiesel from vegetable oil) supplies 53%.
— 22.5% of U.S. energy consumption is from coal; 23.8% from natural gas; 37.1% from petroleum; and 8.5% from nuclear power.
— 30% of U.S. natural gas production is from Texas. 14% comes from the Gulf of Mexico.
— EIA estimates that proved reserves of natural gas in the U.S. were 237.7 trillion cubic feet as of 12/31/07. The U.S. consumed 23.2 trillion cubic feet in 2007.
— “In 1821, William Hart dug the first well specifically to produce natural gas in the United States in the Village of Fredonia on the banks of Canadaway Creek in Chautauqua County, New York. It was 27 feet deep, excavated with shovels by hand, and its gas pipeline was hollowed-out logs sealed with tar and rags.”
— 41% of energy used in homes is for heating, 8% for air conditioning (average U.S. — not in Texas!). 25% is used for lighting and appliances, and 20% for water heating. 5% of home energy use is by our refrigerators!
— Crude oil is called “sweet” when it contains only a small amount of sulfur and “sour” if it contains a lot of sulfur. Crude oil is also classified by the weight of its molecules. “Light” crude oil flows freely like water, while “heavy” crude oil is thick like tar.
Surf around on this website. Improve your energy I.Q.