Misconceptions About Energy - Halil Öztürk



Energy is a comprehensive topic, a word about which, in our daily lives, we see, think of, and talk. In popular usage, the term “energy” is used in many other ways. You say, "There is a different energy in this place," or "I am totally out of energy." These statements appear to be about energy but obviously have different usages of energy due to the large scale of what the word triggers in our minds. Ergo, in addition to this kind of ambiguities, some other reasons such as the media's explanation of some terms related to energy, based upon personal observations, there are some "misconceptions" about energy in the society. In the following paragraph, we shall see some of these mistakes and give the correct versions.


As seeing the mistakes, we will go with bullet-points:

· The words energy and power are in daily life used interchangeably, but actually, power is defined as the energy used per second, the rate of release.

·Maybe you may think that it should not make a problematic difference to use in daily life, but it could be better to take the following equations into account:

* Energy per gram:

- Butter is equal to about 11 times TNT.

- Chocolate Chip Cookies is equal to about eight times of TNT

- Coal is equal to about ten times of TNT.


Probably, the numbers surprise many people who are not interested in related physics topics because we all know that TNT is by far more explosive than a chocolate chip cookie, but TNT has by far less energy than the cookie, but the reason why these equations hold is a result of a simple equation: power=energy/time


Power is not directly related to energy, but it is a function of both energy and time.

· At times, we heard, "The temperature is below absolute zero." Firstly, the definition of energy and heat: energy is anything that can be turned into heat; heat is the microscopic energy of motion of vibrating molecules, which raises the temperature of a material. Temperature can be measured with different scales such as Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin. If we use the adjective absolute, however, we should use the absolute temperature scale, which Kelvin scale. Being below absolute zero simply means a kind of having negative movement of the particles. Ergo, it is not possible to have a temperature below absolute zero. The reason why we sometimes see, hear or read something below absolute zero is due to different interpretations. Zero degrees in Kelvin scale is equal about to -273 degrees in Celsius scale, for example.


· At first glance, the following claim can seem right: “the sources of wind energy and solar energy are different." Nonetheless, in fact, both of them are gotten through the Sun. When we say "solar energy," probably most of us think of the sunlight energy converted into electricity via solar cells when we say "wind energy," the energy coming from the movement of wind converted to electricity via wind tribunes. By definition, wind occurs due to the heat difference between the parts of the surface of the Earth, which means wind power ultimately derives from solar.


· Especially in recent years, when the debate on carbon footprint has been hot, we can an idea blaming China which is one of the most harmful countries to nature due to its burning a great number of fossil fuels to furnish its own energy demand, especially coal. Interestingly, it is China in some sources mentioned as the world’s leading country in electricity production through renewable energy according to the IEA.


· Hydrogen is sometimes thought of as a source of energy, especially due to the recent technological improvements in energy generation. Hydrogen is not a source of energy; it is only a means for transporting energy.


· Energy is always conserved. Sometimes, we see some cases in which energy is getting off; in correct usage, energy does not get off but just converts into another form, usually heat. However, not all forms of energy, of course, have equal economic value. When we are told to conserve energy, it is actually "conserve useful energy," and usually, heat is seen as the least useful form of energy.


To conclude, in this paper, I have tried to give and correct some right known mistakes about energy. Probably, the number of mistakes we make is much more than these ones, but these are the ones. If I accept my environment as a sample, I have observed around a lot.