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Non-renewable Resources. APES Ch 15. Activity. Renewable Resources vs Non-renewable Resources Give examples of each How many Non-renewable Resources can easily be converted to a Renewable Resource. Alaska!!!. What do you know about the area?. Alaska’s North Slope has 3 Regions.

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Non renewable resources

Non-renewable Resources

APES Ch 15



  • Renewable Resources vs Non-renewable Resources

    • Give examples of each

  • How many Non-renewable Resources can easily be converted to a Renewable Resource



What do you know about the area?

Alaska s north slope has 3 regions

Alaska’s North Slope has 3 Regions

  • The National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska (NPR-A):

    • Its 23 million acres were to remain untapped unless the nation faced an emergency.

    • It has been opened recently for drilling and faces increased drilling pressure in key caribou and waterfowl breeding areas.

  • Prudhoe Bay consists of state lands that are drilled for oil that is transported via the trans-Alaska pipeline to the port of Valdez.

  • The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is federal land set aside for wildlife and to preserve pristine ecosystems.

    • It has been called the “Serengeti of North America.”

Alaska s north slope

Alaska’s North Slope

So does it pay to drill here

So Does it Pay to Drill Here?

  • Estimates for ANWR’s oil deposits

    • 11.6–31.5 (average = 20.7) billion barrels

    • enough for 33 months at current consumption rates

  • But………… only 4.3–11.8 (average = 7.7) billion barrels are technically recoverable, equivalent to 1 year of consumption

Scientists anticipate negative impacts in anwr

Scientists anticipate negative impacts in ANWR

  • Some scientists anticipate damage if ANWR is drilled.

    • Vegetation killed

    • Degraded air and water quality

  • Other scientists say little harm will be done.

    • ANWR will be developed with environmentally sensitive technology and approaches.



  • What are your thoughts?

    • 3-4 people per group:

      • With no more research than todays discussion, would your group be for or against drilling in the ANWR area of Alaska? Give your reasoning.

      • No matter the side you have taken, try to see the opposition and help to create ways to find a happy medium



  • Outline Chapter pages 328-338 (Sources of Energy and Fossil Fuels)

  • How are fossil fuels created

  • What is EROI, and how does it work? Compare todays ratios to that of the 40’s

  • 3 major fossil fuels are….

    • Which is most abundant, what country has the most of it, and how is it both created and mined

  • 2 ways natural gas is formed, how is it extracted

  • Weighing the Issues: The End of Oil (pg. 337)



Non-renewable Resources

Coal, Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear

Fossil fuels provide most of our energy

Fossil fuels provide most of our energy

These fuels generate electricity: a secondary form of energy that is easier to transfer and apply to a variety of uses

Resources are renewable or non renewable

Resources are renewable or non-renewable

  • Renewable energy: supplies will not be depleted

    • Sunlight, geothermal energy, and tidal energy

  • Nonrenewable energy: at current rates we will use up Earth’s accessible storage in a matter of decades to centuries

    • Oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear energy

    • They cannot be replaced in any time span useful to our civilization.

Fossil fuel reserves unevenly distributed

Fossil fuel reserves unevenly distributed

  • Nearly 67% of the world’s proven reserves of crude oil lie in the Middle East.

    • Russia contains the most natural gas.

    • The U.S. possesses more coal than any other country.

People in developed regions consume far more energy than those in developing nations.

Industrialized nations divide their energy use between transportation, industry, and other uses.

Fossil fuels provide the majority of this energy.

Developing nations use energy for subsistence activities (agriculture, food preparation, and home heating).

Global fossil fuel reserves

Global fossil fuel reserves

It takes energy to make energy

It takes energy to make energy

  • To harness, extract, process, and deliver energy requires substantial inputs of energy.

    • Roads, wells, vehicles, storage tanks

  • Net energy: the difference between energy returned and energy invested

    • Net energy = energy returned – energy invested

  • Energy returned on investment (EROI): calculated as:

    • energy returned ÷ energy invested

    • EROI for petroleum: 1940s = 100:1, today = 5:1

Food for thought

Food for Thought……

  • Explore what could happen to US relations w/other countries if:

    • Adequate alternative energy sources were developed and we no longer relied on imported fossil fuels

    • We fail to limit US greenhouse gas emissions while other countries are actively regulating such emissions

Coal and natural gas

Coal and Natural Gas

APES Ch 15

Non-renewable Resources

Non renewable resources


  • World’s most abundant fossil fuel

  • Coal: organic matter (woody plant material) compressed mya under very high pressure forming dense, solid carbon structures

    • Very little decomposition

  • Peat: organic material that is broken down anaerobically but remains wet, near the surface and not well compressed

    • Additional pressure turns peat into coal.

Coal contains impurities

Coal contains impurities

  • Sulfur, mercury, arsenic, and other trace metals

  • Sulfur content depends on whether coal was formed in salt water or freshwater.

    • High sulfur coal in the eastern U.S. was formed in marine sediments.

    • Burning high-sulfur coal releases sulfate air pollutants, which contribute to smog and acidic deposition.

  • Mercury can bioaccumulate.

Coal is mined using two methods

Coal is mined using two methods

  • Strip mining: for deposits near the surface

  • Subsurface mining: underground deposits

  • First uses of coal were for direct heating and running steam engines

    • Today, coal is burned to produce electricity.

    • Coal combustion turns water to steam, which turns a turbine.

Top producers and consumers of coal

Top producers and consumers of coal

Natural gas

Natural gas

  • The fastest growing fossil fuel in use today

    • 25% of global commercial energy consumption

  • Natural gas: consists of methane (CH4) and other volatile hydrocarbons

  • Biogenic gas: created at shallow depths by bacterial anaerobic decomposition of organic matter

    • “Swamp gas”

  • Thermogenic gas: results from compression and heat deep underground

    • Found above coal or crude oil

Top producers consumers of natural gas

Top producers & consumers of natural gas

Natural gas extraction becomes more challenging

Natural gas extraction becomes more challenging

  • The first gas fields simply required an opening and the gas moved upward.

    • Most remaining fields require pumping.

  • Most accessible reserves have been depleted.

    • Extraction today uses sophisticated techniques such as fracturing, which pumps high-pressure salt water into rocks to crack them.

Offshore drilling

Offshore Drilling

  • Drilling takes place on land and in the seafloor on the continental shelves.

    • Technology had to come up with ways to withstand wind, waves, and currents.

    • Platforms are either strong fixed platforms or floating platforms.

    • 25% of U.S. natural gas comes from offshore drilling.

    • Hurricanes can devastate drilling platforms, and prices rise accordingly.



  • H/W: Research Clean Coal

    • How we “Get it”

    • How it is “Used”

    • How much cleaner it is supposed to be

  • Testing Comprehension Q’s 1-4

  • Seeking Solutions #5

  • Attempt Calculating Ecological Footprints



  • Hydraulic Fracturing: what is it?

  • Take notes

  • Be prepared for a quiz Friday over material

    • Be sure to pay attention to detail with regard to how the process works, how many gallons of water is used, what types of chemicals are used in the process, and how this affects the environment

    • Why/how was this type of technology allowed?

Heat pressure form petroleum

Heat & Pressure Form Petroleum

  • Oil is the world’s most used fuel.

  • Its worldwide use over the past decade has risen 17%.

  • Crude oil (petroleum): a mixture of hundreds of different types of hydrocarbon molecules

    • Formed 1.5-3 km (1-2 mi) underground

    • Dead organic material was buried in marine sediments and transformed by time, heat, and pressure.

Top producers c onsumers of oil

Top Producers &Consumers of Oil

Not all oil can be extracted

Not all oil can be extracted

  • Proven recoverable reserve: the amount of oil (or any other fossil fuel) that is technically and economically feasible to remove under current conditions

    • Technology limits what can be extracted.

    • Economics determines what will be extracted.

A petroleum refinery

A petroleum refinery

Petroleum products have many uses

Petroleum products have many uses

Oil is refined to create many products, so we should be concerned as we continue depleting it.

Have we depleted reserves

Have we Depleted ½ Reserves

  • Some people calculate that we have used up about 1.1 trillion barrels of oil — ½ of the world’s reserves

  • Reserves-to-production ratio (R/P ratio): the amount of total remaining reserves divided by the annual rate of production (extraction and processing)

    • At current levels of production (30 billion barrels/year), we have about 40 years of oil left.

  • We will face a crisis not when we run out of oil, but when the rate of production begins to decline.

We are facing an oil shortage

We are facing an oil shortage

  • Hubbard’s peak: Geologist M. King Hubbard predicted that oil production would peak around 1970

    • His prediction was accurate: U.S. production continues to fall.

  • We may have passed peak global production in 2005.

    • We won’t know we’ve peaked until a few years after it.

    • Companies and governments do not disclose their oil supplies.

    • Estimates for peak production range from now through 2040.

U s oil production has already peaked

U.S. oil production has already peaked

Global oil production is peaking

Global oil production is peaking

Discoveries of new oil fields peaked 30 years ago, and since then we’ve been extracting and consuming more than discovering.

Peaking oil production will have consequences

Peaking oil production will have consequences

  • “The long emergency”: our economies will collapse and become localized: no cheap oil to transport goods

    • Suburbs will become the new slums, a crime-ridden landscape littered with the hulls of rusted-out cars.

  • More optimistic observers argue that as supplies dwindle, conservation and alternative energy supplies will kick in.

    • We will be saved from major disruptions.



  • Testing Comprehension Q’s #5-7

  • Seeking Solutions: 1 & 2

  • Continue Outline of Chapter: Pages 338-345, Impact of FF Use/Energy Conservation

Nations can become dependent on foreign energy

Nations can become dependent on foreign energy

  • We are vulnerable to supplies becoming unavailable or expensive.

  • The U.S. imports 67% of its crude oil, meaning other nations control our energy supplies.

The oil embargo of the 1970s

The Oil Embargo of the 1970s

  • OPEC’s (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) oil embargo caused widespread panic, skyrocketing prices, and spurred inflation. It also causes “Strange Bed Partners”

The u s enacted policies to reduce foreign oil

The U.S. enacted policies to reduce foreign oil

  • The U.S. government enacted policies to diversify its oil supply.

    • The U.S. is developing its own reserves.

    • Proposed drilling in ANWR, despite charges that drilling won’t help much

    • It imports oil from several countries.

    • Resuming extraction at currently closed sites

    • Stockpiling oil (but this reserve equals just one month’s supply)

    • Research into renewable energy sources

    • Enacting conservation measures



  • Read remainder of chapter and write down the ways we can do a better job of being less dependent of fossil fuels

  • What are the consequences to our dependence?

  • What are CAFÉ standards? Are they helping?

  • Will drilling in ANWR really help? What are some alternatives?

  • Nuclear Activity at home

Nuclear power

Nuclear Power

  • Nuclear power occupies an odd and conflicted position in our energy debate.

    • It is free from the air pollution produced by fossil fuels.

    • But there are issues of nuclear weaponry, radioactive waste disposal, and previous accidents.

  • The U.S. generates the most electricity from nuclear power.

    • 20% of U.S. electricity comes from nuclear sources.

    • Other nations rely more heavily on nuclear power (i.e., France gets 78% of its electricity from nuclear power).

Fission releases nuclear energy

Fission releases nuclear energy

  • Nuclear energy:the energy that holds together protons and neutrons within the nucleus of an atom

    • The reaction that drives the release of nuclear energy in power plants is nuclear fission: the splitting apart of atomic nuclei

Fission in reactors generates electricity

Fission in reactors generates electricity

  • For fission to begin in a nuclear reactor, the neutrons bombarding uranium are slowed down with a substance called a moderator (water or graphite).

  • Control rods: made of a metallic alloy that absorbs neutrons, and are placed into the reactor among the water-bathed fuel rods of uranium

  • The first step in the electricity-generating process of a nuclear power plant:

    • Moving control rods into and out of the water to maintain the fission reaction at a desired rate

A typical light water reactor

A typical light water reactor

Nuclear energy comes from uranium

Nuclear energy comes from uranium

  • We use uranium for nuclear power because it is radioactive and emits high-energy radiation as it decays.

    • Uranium in mined as uranium-238 (238U), a stable isotope.

    • This is processed into uranium-235 (235U) and incorporated into fuel rods.

    • Uranium decays after several years and must be replaced.

    • The spent fuel is reprocessed for reuse or disposed of as radioactive waste.

  • Because uranium is an uncommon mineral, nuclear power is considered a nonrenewable energy source.

Nuclear power delivers energy cleanly

Nuclear power delivers energy cleanly

  • Nuclear power prevents 600 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year.

    • Equivalent to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions

    • Poses far fewer chronic health risks than fossil fuels

  • Nuclear power plants cause less landscape damage, generate less solid wastes, and are safer for workers than coal-fired plants.

  • Drawbacks of nuclear power:

    • Nuclear waste is radioactive.

    • If an accident occurs, or the plant is sabotaged, the consequences can potentially be catastrophic.

  • Today, the world has 439 operating nuclear plants in 31 nations.

Coal versus nuclear power

Coal versus nuclear power

Nuclear power poses small risks of large accidents

Nuclear power poses small risks of large accidents

  • The possibility of catastrophic accidents spawns public anxiety.

  • Three Mile Island (1979): the most serious accident in the U.S.

    • Meltdown: melting of uranium fuel rods, releasing radiation, as coolant water drained from the reactor vessel, and increased temperatures

    • It proceeded through ½ of one reactor core.

    • Radiation remained trapped in the containment building.

    • The cleanup cost billions of dollars.

  • Three Mile Island is regarded as a near-miss: the emergency could have been far worse.

Chernobyl was the worst accident yet

Chernobyl was the worst accident yet

  • The 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine caused the most severe nuclear power plant accident the world has seen.

    • Human error combined with unsafe design

    • For 10 days, radiation escaped from the plant while crews tried to put out the fire.

    • The Soviet government evacuated more than 100,000 residents.

    • The landscape around the plant for 30 km (19 mi) remains contaminated.

    • The accident killed 31 people directly and many became sick or developed cancer.

The chernobyl accident

The Chernobyl accident

The destroyed reactor was encased in a massive concrete sarcophagus to contain leakage — but a new, larger sarcophagus must be built.

Spent fuel rods must be stored

Spent fuel rods must be stored

  • Nuclear waste will remain radioactive for thousands of years.

    • Is currently held in temporary storage at nuclear power plants across the U.S. and the world

  • Spent fuel rods are sunk in pools of cooling water to minimize radiation leakage.

  • U.S. power plants store 56,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste, as well as much more low-level radioactive waste.

    • Waste is held at 125 sites in over 39 states.

    • Over 161 million U.S. citizens live within 125 km (75 mi) of temporarily stored waste.

U s storage of high level radioactive waste

U.S. storage of high-level radioactive waste

Waste storage at yucca mountain nevada

Waste storage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

Nuclear waste managers want to send all waste to a central repository that can be heavily guarded

With final approval, Yucca Mountain will begin receiving wastes by 2017.

Why yucca mountain

Why Yucca Mountain?

  • It is remote and unpopulated.

  • It has minimal risk of earthquakes.

  • Its dry climate minimizes groundwater contamination.

  • The water table is deep underground, on top of an isolated aquifer.

  • Its location on federal land can be protected from sabotage.

  • However, nuclear waste will need to be from 120 current storage areas, nuclear plants, and military installations.

    • Shipments by rail and truck across hundreds of public highways through all the states cause a high risk of accident or sabotage.

Dilemmas have slowed nuclear power s growth

Dilemmas have slowed nuclear power’s growth

  • Public anxiety makes utilities less willing to invest in new plants.

  • It is enormously expensive to build, maintain, operate, and ensure the safety of nuclear facilities.

    • Shutting down plants can be more expensive than construction.

  • A plant’s lifetime is often only ½ of what is expected.

  • Electricity is more expensive than from coal and other sources.

    • Governments still subsidize nuclear power.

  • But nuclear power is one of the few viable alternatives to fossil fuels for generating electricity.

    • New reactors are safer and less expensive.



  • Fossil fuels have helped us build our complex industrialized societies.

  • We are now approaching a turning point in history: fossil fuel production will begin to decline.

  • We can encourage conservation and alternative energy sources.

  • Nuclear power is pollution-free and highly efficient, but high costs and public fears stalled its growth.

    • Nuclear power will be a part of our future energy economy.

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