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IPC—Chapter 10. Energy Sources. Fossil Fuels. How many different ways have you used energy today ? Law of Conservation of Energy states : Energy cannot be created or destroyed—only converted or transformed More energy is used in the US than in any other country in the world

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Ipc chapter 10

IPC—Chapter 10

Energy Sources

Fossil fuels
Fossil Fuels

  • How many different ways have you used energy today?

  • Law of Conservation of Energy states: Energy cannot be created or destroyed—only converted or transformed

  • More energy is used in the US than in any other country in the world

  • (Energy Usage charts—pg. 291)

Fossil fuels cont d
Fossil Fuels –cont’d.

  • Fossil fuels— such as petroleum (oil), natural gas and coal: they are formed from the decaying remains of ancient plants and animals

  • Burning fossil fuels is a more concentrated form of fuel than other sources (ex: wood)


  • Petroleum—a highly flammable liquid formed by decayed ancient organisms

    • A mixture of thousands of chemical compounds

    • Fractional Distillation: A process that separates hydrocarbons in petroleum to be used to produce different materials

    • Petroleum is used to manufacture fuels, plastics, synthetic fabrics, lubricants, asphalt, etc.

Natural gas
Natural Gas

  • NaturalGas—gaseous compounds produced by same processes that produce petroleum

    • Composed mostly of methane

      • Also contains other hydrocarbon gases

      • About ¼ of energy consumed in the US comes from burning natural gas

      • Natural gas powers stoves, furnaces, hot-water heaters, clothes dryers, etc.


  • Coal—a solid fossil fuel that is found in mines underground

    • At one time powered most of the US

    • Now, 2/3 of energy in US comes from petroleum and natural gas, and about ¼ comes from coal

    • 90% of coal used in the US is burned by power plants to generate electricity

Origin of coal
Origin of Coal

  • Coal mines were once the site of ancient swamps where large, fernlike plants grew.

    • Coal formed from this plant material.

      • Worldwide, the amount of coal that is potentially available is estimated to be 20 to 40 times greater than the supply of petroleum

Generating electricity
Generating Electricity

  • Almost 70% of electrical energy used in the US is produced by burning fossil fuels

  • The overall efficiency of burning fossil fuels is listed in table 1 on pg. 296

  • There are undesirable side effects of burning fossil fuels, such as: smoke, carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, pollutants, sulfur dioxide, etc.

Nonrenewable resources
Nonrenewable Resources

  • Nonrenewable resources—all fossil fuels—resources that cannot be replaced by natural processes as quickly as they are used

  • Conservation:

    one way to reduce the use of fossil fuels is to obtain energy from other sources


Section 2 nuclear energy
Section 2—Nuclear Energy

  • Some power plants convert nuclear energy to electrical energy (w/out using fossil fuels)

  • Nuclear power plants produce about 8% of all the energy consumed in the US

  • There are currently more than 100 nuclear power plants in the US

Nuclear reactors
Nuclear Reactors

  • Nuclear reactor—uses the energy from controlled nuclear reactions to generate electricity

  • Reactorcore—where fission takes place in a nuclear reactor

    • Ex: for every 1 kg of uranium that undergoes fission in the core, 1 g of matter is converted into energy

    • The energy released = energy released by burning more than 3 million kg of coal

Nuclear power plants
Nuclear Power Plants

  • Nuclear fission reactors produce electricity in much the same way conventional power plants do

  • Overall efficiency of nuclear power plants is about 35 %, similar to that of fossil fuel power plants

Risks of nuclear power
Risks of Nuclear Power

  • Nuclear power plants do not produce air pollutants released by fossil fuel burning OR carbon dioxide


  • Mining of uranium can cause environmental damage

  • Water used as a coolant in the reactor core must cool before released into streams/rivers

Release of radioactivity
Release of Radioactivity

  • Fuel rods containing radioactive elements could cause damage to living organisms if released from the reactor core

  • 1986—Chernobyl, Ukraine

    • Reactor core overheated, chemical explosion blew a hole in the reactor

    • 28 people died/possible 260,000 exposed to radiation

Nuclear waste
Nuclear Waste

  • Nuclearwaste—any radioactive by-product that results when radioactive materials are used

  • Low-level waste: usually contain a small amt of radioactive material

    • Usually do not contain radioactive materials w/long half-lives.

    • Sometimes is released into air or water

More on nuclear waste
More on Nuclear waste

  • High-level waste:

    **Generated in nuclear power plants and by nuclear weapons programs

    **Stored in a deep pool of water

    **Spent fuel is buried 100’s of meters below ground in stable rock formations or salt deposits

Nuclear fusion
Nuclear Fusion

  • Fusion—the most concentrated energy source known

  • Fusion reactions occur only at temperatures of millions of degrees Celsius.

  • The use of fusion as an energy source remains in the future