143 votes
Accepted

Do "solar panels require 10 times the minerals to deliver the same quantity of energy as a natural gas plant"?

Basically correct; however... If by "solar panels" he means the classic photovoltaics which turn sunlight into electricity, the number is about 5 to 20 times more material depending on what ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 19.7k
84 votes
Accepted

Can the US be powered by a 100 miles x 100 miles solar grid?

Can the US be powered by a 100 x 100 miles solar grid? Desertec is basically the same idea, solar plants located in North Africa supplying power to Europe. The article includes a map showing the area ...
DevSolar's user avatar
  • 19k
80 votes
Accepted

Is it true that there is not enough electricity to power all vehicles in the United States if they were electric?

tl;dr: The claim is false. The claim is that there would need to be six times as much electric generation, but if all cars in 2019 had been electric, only 1.43 times (43%) more generation would have ...
LShaver's user avatar
  • 9,921
55 votes

Did the USA increase oil imports from Russia after the Ukraine invasion?

[...]is it true that USA is increasing it's crude oil imports from Russia year-over-year No. Before we get to the technical answer, first let's point out the lies by omission. The US imports very ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 19.7k
49 votes
Accepted

At the current rate are we going run out of fossil fuels by 2060?

No First, this figure is for petroleum. For coal, the figure is much larger. Some of the figures I found for coal were 133 years, "anywhere from 68 years to a hundreds of years", and 357 ...
Acccumulation's user avatar
42 votes

Will SpaceX's fleet of rockets triple the entire United States demand for methane/natural gas?

Source Confusion from TechCrunch+ The article by the Energy Consulting Group cites an article by Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch which is not an interview with Musk but instead a badly summarized ...
Evan Carroll's user avatar
  • 30.4k
38 votes
Accepted

Do windmills in freezing climates require power so they don't seize up?

Yes, but it's a small fraction of what they produce. Wind turbines need measures to deal with cold and ice. Heating is one of them. Canada address the problem in Wind Energy in Cold Climates. Based ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 19.7k
38 votes
Accepted

Did wind power supply less than half a percent of global energy in 2014?

Yes. They refer to International Energy Agency's 2016 Key Renewable Trends report, which contains these 2 graphs: Combining these two graphs shows that Wind energy is 3.3% of the 13.8% of the ...
Just J for now's user avatar
36 votes
Accepted

Are there 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in the USA?

The origin of this claim is Andrew Walden's 2010 article Wind Energy's Ghosts. He is specifically referring to the wind turbines installed in California between 1981 and 1986 in three locations: ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 107k
30 votes

Is it true that there is not enough electricity to power all vehicles in the United States if they were electric?

No, about 40 to 60% Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles currently use 146 billion gallons of gasoline used each year annually. A gallon of gasoline represents about 33 kWh of energy. So all the ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 19.7k
29 votes

Did wind power supply less than half a percent of global energy in 2014?

NO, (or YES dependent on the definition of primary energy) as answer to the claim: "Wind power does not account for less than half a percent of total global energy usage in 2014." The wording of the ...
WalyKu's user avatar
  • 431
26 votes
Accepted

Does nuclear power cause fewer deaths than other forms of electricity production, accidents included?

The New Scientist calculated the number of deaths per kilowatt-hour question based on the data from International Atomic Energy Agency in 2011. According to the New Scientist: The agency examined ...
denten's user avatar
  • 10.8k
24 votes
Accepted

Does one SUV tank of ethanol "take as much grain as could feed a person for a whole year?"

Mathematically accurate From Cornell University News: An acre of U.S. corn yields about 7,110 pounds of corn for processing into 328 gallons of ethanol. That's 3,225 kg and 1241 liters. Let's ...
Brythan's user avatar
  • 10.2k
23 votes

Do "solar panels require 10 times the minerals to deliver the same quantity of energy as a natural gas plant"?

Yes, mostly true (although the relevance of this particular metric could be discussed) Last year, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe published a report titled Life Cycle Assessment of ...
jkej's user avatar
  • 2,047
22 votes

Can the US be powered by a 100 miles x 100 miles solar grid?

It seems possible, at least in theory. Of course, whether it possible and whether it's remotely economically feasible are completely different questions. A decent back-of-the-envelope series of ...
HopelessN00b's user avatar
  • 1,395
18 votes

Do "solar panels require 10 times the minerals to deliver the same quantity of energy as a natural gas plant"?

Yes, but not taking into account the full picture As Schwern already pointed out, making a direct apples-to-apples comparison is near impossible. However I recently encountered the following graph, ...
Ivo Merchiers's user avatar
15 votes

At the current rate are we going run out of fossil fuels by 2060?

For oil, using proven reserves and current oil production, the date is more like 2067. World proven reserves are approximately 1.7 trillion barrels, or 1.7 million-million barrels (EIA figures]). ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 2,456
15 votes
Accepted

Did the USA increase oil imports from Russia after the Ukraine invasion?

While it's true that US oil imports from Russia increased in recent weeks they are lower than they were before the invasion, and by the end of April a complete prohibition will go into effect. The ...
Giter's user avatar
  • 11.4k
14 votes

Neutrino “Solar Panels”: This can't be for real, is it?

I would agree that on its face this seems sketchy, but there's a fairly simple way of debunking this. (Strictly back-of-the-envelope calculations.) The neutrino flux experienced on any given part of ...
jdunlop's user avatar
  • 2,949
12 votes
Accepted

Does Leonardo DiCaprio fly on private jets?

Yes, he has flown on a private jet on at least a few occasions. From the WikiPedia on Leonardo DiCaprio: ... his use of private jets and superyachts has attracted criticism by some sections of the ...
Batman's user avatar
  • 1,074
12 votes

Will SpaceX's fleet of rockets triple the entire United States demand for methane/natural gas?

Will a Starship launch require 1000 tonnes of LNG? Yes, this is a reasonable estimate. Wikipedia lists 800 tonnes just for the booster, citing an August 2021 interview with Musk. An additional 200 ...
LShaver's user avatar
  • 9,921
11 votes
Accepted

Are electric cars beneficial to the environment compared to low consumption modern cars?

This question can be answered using a Life Cycle Analysis, which looks at emissions over the total life cycle of a product - including manufacture, use, and disposal. Many such studies have been ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 7,777
11 votes
Accepted

Can one generate enough electricity from a plant to power a cellphone?

Not impossible, but highly unlikely The technology described does exist. Scientifically this is called Plant Microbial Fuel Cell. However Bioo's claims of 40 W/m² seem greatly exaggerated. People ...
vartec's user avatar
  • 26.7k
9 votes
Accepted

Does streaming a video to smartphone consume 1000W of electricity?

Summary: The data (model + coefficients together with source citations) of the Lean ICT study are available (see below). HD Video streaming consuming between 250 W and 1 kW power equivalent is ...
cbeleites unhappy with SX's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Does streaming an album 27 times consume as much energy as manufacturing a CD?

The original research that produced this was done in a collaboration between the University of Glasgow and the University of Oslo, and UoG details it here. While the Glasgow part is available here, ...
cpcodes's user avatar
  • 1,068
8 votes
Accepted

Is Russia's fiscal break-even price for oil around half of Saudi Arabia's?

There are multiple different break-even prices that people usually quote. The fiscal break-even is the oil price at which the fiscal balance is zero. The external break-even is the oil price at ...
Dimitri Vulis's user avatar
8 votes

Has Brilliant Light Power developed a new source of energy from water molecules?

No, the claims are completely untrue. The science of why is a little complicated. The opinions of the users of Physics.SE are that it is: improbable to the point of being gibberish. The opinions ...
userLTK's user avatar
  • 197
8 votes
Accepted

Is Amazon powered by 85% renewable energy?

Is Amazon powered by 85% renewable energy? Is the wrong question If the question is "Within the definitions, limitations and constraints that Amazon has set, is the claim that it has achieved 85% ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 1,365
7 votes

Do Duracell batteries last longer than normal batteries?

Zinc-Carbon and Alkaline batteries are different battery types. The have a similar voltage and come packaged identically, however the amount of stored energy varies greatly. Comparison of battery ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
  • 78.7k
7 votes

Is the production of nuclear power very expensive?

The figures seem consistent with most sources: A Lazard 2018 study puts nuclear firmly in that range. A UK government study puts new nuclear construction at 95 GBP per megawatt hour, which sits ...
jdunlop's user avatar
  • 2,949

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