9 surprising facts about energy you may not know
It’s easy to take energy for granted at times, forgetting how complex it is to power our world. There are some pretty cool and surprising facts behind the power that we use every day.
1. An estimated 15 trillion watts of power are being used across our planet at any one time
That’s the equivalent of powering ten billion 100-watt light bulbs at the same time. With a growing population, this will inevitably increase, however with smarter energy technologies, combined with the growth in renewable energy, should help to reduce the effects it will have to the planet. (Source: EIA)
2. Googling uses more energy than you think
The energy it takes to conduct ten searches on Google could power a 60-watt light bulb. At any one time the energy used by the search engine could power 200,000 homes. Think of that the next time you go searching for ‘funny cat videos’. (Source: The Telegraph)
3. A single lightning bolt unleashes the same energy as blowing up a ton of TNT
Lightning is nature’s very own electricity. Every day lightning bolts are a common phenomenon - about 100 strike Earth’s surface every single second—yet their power is extraordinary. Each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.
Lightning is extremely hot—a flash can heat the air around it to temperatures five times hotter than the sun’s surface. This heat causes surrounding air to rapidly expand and vibrate, which creates the loud thunder we hear a short time after seeing a lightning flash. (Source: National Geographic)
4. Renewables now supply 25% of the UK’s electricity
Renewables are no longer just future energy solutions, they are mainstream. In 2015 the UK produced a quarter of its electricity from renewables, up from 6% just a few years before.
5. Daylight saving time is good for the planet
When we turn our clocks forward each spring, we shift an hour of daylight toward the end of the day. In 2008, U.S. Department of Energy experts studied the impacts of extending Daylight Saving Time by four weeks. The extension saved 0.5 percent of electricity each day. Even though it's a small percentage, that amounts to 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours saved, or the amount of electricity used by over 100,000 households for a whole year. (Source: NASA)
6. We can get energy from household waste and sewage
All that waste we flush down the toilet and put in our dustbins doesn't have to go to, well, waste! When waste breaks down, it can release methane, a natural gas. We can trap that gas and use it to make electricity. This is also helpful because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. If we use it, we keep it out of the atmosphere and in doing so help the environment. Everybody wins! (Source: NASA)
7. Glow in the dark footpaths could become ‘a thing’
Cambridge City Council has covered an historic city pathway with ultraviolet particles which turn blue when the sun sets, in what could be the future of street lighting. The technology, called 'Starpath', absorbs light during the day before emitting the artificial glow in the evening. It is thought technology could one day replace streetlamps as a cheaper and more energy efficient form of lighting. (Source: The Telegraph)
8. 48 people riding bikes for 24 hours can generate enough power to run a TV for a week
A group of cyclists at Olympian City in Hong Kong proved anything is possible when it comes to generating energy when they broke a world record in June 2014 – generating just under 30,000 watt-hours of energy. We’ll stay tuned for the next energy generating invention! (Source: Guinness Book of Records)
9. Gas doesn’t naturally have its well known odor
Gas naturally is odorless and is mostly made up of methane. Sulphur compounds have been added to it to give it a distinctive smell to spot when there is a possible gas leak. (Source: safegas.com)