Fun Facts About Energy

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The bioluminescent chemical reaction created by fireflies is nearly 100% efficient and subsequently, no heat is generated. Conversely, some light bulbs lose 90% of their energy as heat.

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.

Without enzymes, it would take about 1 million years for our body to extract energy from ATP. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is essentially the most common form of "energy currency" in almost any living cell. When they say the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, that’s because it makes about 36 molecules of ATP for every one glucose molecule it processes.

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.

Two tablespoons of honey would be enough to fuel a bee's entire flight around the world.

Switzerland has no landfills. 50% of the municipal waste is recycled and the other 50% is incinerated to produce electricity.

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.

The Pentagon has rocket balls a.k.a. kinetic fireball incendiaries made of rubberized rocket fuel. When ignited, they propel themselves randomly at high speed, bouncing off walls, smashing through doors, turning an entire building into an inferno.

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.

There are microscopic living things in solid rock up to 7 km deep, called Endoliths. So little energy is available that they undergo cell division once every 100 years, and some may only divide once every 10,000 years.

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.

Tachyons (hypothetical particles that travel faster than light) would experience time in reverse. They would have imaginary mass, as in the square root of -1. Adding kinetic energy would slow them down; an infinite amount of energy would be needed to slow them to the speed of light.

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.”

Glass has been recycled for almost 3,000 years. It never wears out as a raw material. Just one recycled clear glass bottle saves enough energy from the manufacturing process to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

Positronium is a nearly massless element made out of a meta-stable mix of matter and antimatter with no protons or neutrons. It can even form chemical compounds such as Positronium Hydride. When it does collapse, it releases pure energy as a flash of gamma radiation, leaving nothing behind.

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

On Dec 27, 2004, for a brief instant, for a couple of tenths of a second, an invisible burst of energy the equivalent of half a million years of sunlight shone on Earth from 50,000 light-years away. This was caused by starquake.

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.

No wind turbine can capture more than 59.3% of the kinetic energy in wind, regardless of its design. The “Betz limit” was first derived over 100 years ago.

The Orgone Accumulator was a device that was sold in the 1950s to allow a person sitting inside to attract orgone, a massless ‘healing energy.’ FDA noted that one purchaser, a college professor, knew it was “phony” but found it “helpful because his wife sat quietly in it for four hours every day.”

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.

Lightning is a source of fixed nitrogen, and thus nitrate. Nitrogen in the atmosphere is highly stable and nonreactive due to the triple bond between atoms in the N2 molecule. Lightning produces enough energy and heat to break this bond allowing nitrogen atoms to react with oxygen, forming NOx. So when lightning strikes, it rips nitrogen bonds in the atmosphere and the rains carry them into the soil, fertilizing plants.

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.

The Universe may exist in a false vacuum. If it dropped to a lower energy state in a vacuum metastability event, a true vacuum bubble could form in our Universe, endlessly expanding at light speed and annihilating everything in its volume. Thus, all we know may cease to exist in an instant.

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.

When the dying star VY Canis Majoris collapses, it will produce 100 times more energy in one single second than our sun will produce over its entire 10 billion year lifetime.

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.

After accounting for calories burned when pedaling, a person riding a bicycle has an equivalent energy use of 732 mpg. For comparison, electric cars only have around 100 mpg equivalent.

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.

Britain’s power stations have to learn television schedules to anticipate when there will be a huge power draw as everyone turns on their electric kettles during a break in a soap opera or sporting event.

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.

The collision that formed the moon added rotational energy to Earth, making a day about 5 hours long. Tidal interactions with the Moon and Sun have since slowed Earth's spin enough that we now have a 24-hour day. And they are still slowing Earth’s spin by about 2 milliseconds every 100 years.

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

Human intelligence increased dramatically once we started extracting more energy from food via cooking.

The Rolls Royce Merlin V12 aviation engine created so much thrust from the exhaust that engineers were able to angle the exhaust backward to gain 10 mph in the Spitfire it powered.

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.

80% of the SR-71 Blackbird’s thrust at Mach 3.2 was generated from its ability to harness energy from the shock waves it created, thanks to special retractable spikes in front of its inlets. Its engines generated the other 20% of thrust.

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.

Camels can drink up to 40 gallons of water in one sitting and they do not in fact store water in their humps. They store fat, which is used for energy when traveling long distances without food and water.

Radiotrophic fungi were discovered in 1991 growing inside and around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in an environment in which the radiation level was 500 times higher than in the normal environment. The fungi convert gamma radiation into chemical energy for growth.

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.

The F15 was the first fighter jet to exceed the speed of sound in vertical flight and had so much thrust it could climb 65,000 feet in 122 seconds.

All of the tin produced in the US is recycled. The United States has neither mined tin since 1993 nor smelted tin since 1989, but it was the largest secondary producer, recycling nearly 14,000 tons in 2006.

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Fun Facts About Energy

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