50 Interesting Facts About Energy

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1Pumped Storage Hydropower

Huge amounts of renewable energy can be stored over a long period of time by using Pumped Storage Hydropower, where water is pumped up a hill with renewable electricity then sent back down the hill to generate on-demand clean electricity at up to 80% efficiency.


2. Assuming you eat 2000 calories a day (8,400,000 joules), you use, on average, 97.2 joules per second (97.2 watts). This means we are pretty much as powerful as a “bright light bulb.” So we run one of the more powerful computers in the known universe and an entire life support system that can transport itself and reproduce copies of itself while consuming the same amount of energy as a light bulb. We are remarkably efficient.


3. When two subatomic particles called “bottom quarks” fuse, they release more than 7 times the energy of individual fusion reactions in hydrogen bombs. The physicists who made this discovery kept it a secret until they were certain this discovery cannot be weaponized.


4. Every second of every day, the sun converts 700 million tons of hydrogen into 695 million tons of helium. The other 5 million tons becomes energy. Despite losing about 5 million tons of mass every second, it has only lost about 0.05% of its original mass over the past 4.5 billion years.


5. Termites are being researched as a possible renewable energy source as they can produce up to 2 liters of hydrogen from ingesting a single sheet of paper, making them one of the planet’s most efficient bioreactors.


6Brain Energy

The level of difficulty of a mental task, from working on a complex calculus equation to completing a simple game of Sudoku, barely alters the amount of energy the brain consumes while completing the task.


7. The National Trust in the USA implores us to stop urinating in a toilet, in order to save the water used in flushing, and instead wee onto compost heaps, which speeds up the chemical process of decomposition, making it a better fertilizer to grow vegetables and save even more energy in reducing food miles.


8. A blimp flying an entire week consumes the same amount of fuel as a 747 commercial jet uses to move away from the gate.


9. Some sap-sucking sea slugs incorporate living chloroplasts from the algae they eat into their own bodies, allowing the slugs to temporarily live off of solar energy through photosynthesis. For this reason, they are also known as “solar-powered sea slugs.”


10. The ghost plants unlike most plants are white and do not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic. It hosts certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees.


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11Mayonnaise Energy

In 2017, after 1250 gallons of mayonnaise went bad at Michigan State University last year, the school’s Sustainability Officer used an anaerobic digester to turn it into energy and power part of the campus. In the anaerobic digester, microorganisms eat biodegradable waste and produce biogas, which can then be combusted into heat and electricity.


12. The Atmos clock is a mechanical torsion pendulum clock which gets the energy it needs to run from temperature and air pressure changes in the environment and can run for many years without human intervention. A temperature variation of only 1 degree is sufficient for two days of operation.


13. The “Lazy Dog” bomb, developed during World War 2, was a 2 inch steel kinetic projectile that was dropped by the thousands at 3,000 feet and could penetrate up to 9 inches of solid concrete with no explosive.


14. Evidence to support the view that some obese people eat little yet gain weight due to a slow metabolism is limited. On average, obese people have a greater energy expenditure than their healthy-weight counterparts due to the energy required to maintain an increased body mass.


15. Infants lack the ability to shiver, so they rely on fat tissue called brown fat, which is capable of converting chemical energy into heat.


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16Coal Plants

The ash from coal power plants contains uranium and thorium and carries 100 times more radiation into the surrounding environment than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.


17. Asphalt pavements are America’s most recycled product. Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) can be recycled into the pavement that is as high, or even higher, in quality as pavements made of all-virgin materials. The same material can be recycled again and again. It never loses its value.


18. In 1913, the first practical thermal solar ‘power plant’ was built in Egypt, it generated power using polished steel to focus the sunlight. Unfortunately, World War 1 broke out and the power plant was abandoned due to conflict in the area and oil became a much more attractive energy source.


19. It takes 95% less energy to recycle a ton of aluminum cans than to produce the new. One ton of recycled aluminum is equivalent to saving 40 barrels of oil.


20. In 2009, scientists in Iceland unexpectedly drilled into a magma chamber 2.1 km below ground, creating the world’s first magma enhanced geothermal energy source capable of powering 80,000 homes.


21Oh-My-God Particle

The Oh-My-God Particle was a proton traveling at about 99.99999999999999999999951% the speed of light. It is the fastest moving object ever recorded and as it hit the atmosphere it carried the kinetic energy equivalent to a baseball traveling at 50MPH, all in one particle.


22. The amount of matter converted to energy in the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was about 700 milligrams, less than one-third the mass of a U.S. dime.


23. Photosynthesis is most likely so efficient because plants evolved to use quantum mechanics, like superposition, to aid inefficient energy transfer. These are the same concepts we are struggling to utilize to make better computers today.


24. 2,4-dinitrophenol, a widely used chemical in industries, is also a powerful weight loss agent with severe side effects. In some people, it can burn food energy so fast that their body isn't able to expel the heat quickly enough, thus causing them to die by literally burning from the inside out.


25. A thermos flask creates a highly efficient thermal insulation by creating a partial vacuum between 2 barriers. Since there’s virtually no air/gas/matter, there's nothing to carry energy away (bar the canister itself). This is how rocket fuel is stored, in a giant Thermos.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you so much for continuing to update this page through these strange times. It’s a joy to be able to read new facts instead of doom and gloom. I and my fellow nerds salute you!

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