What is Energy? The ability to do work.
We use energy to do a lot Here’s the breakdown of how it’s used:
Can energy be “made”? The 1st law of thermodynamics says that…. ENERGY CAN NOT BE CREATED NOR DESTROYED
It can be CONVERTED….. From potential to kinetic energy
So what form is our energy converted from? Most of our energy comes fromCHEMICAL ENERGYthat is stored inFOSSIL FUELS
FOSSIL FUELS • Coal • Oil • Natural Gas
COAL Where does it come from ?
Coal was once plant material • and the plants got their energy from…. • The SUN
How do we extract the coal? We sink mine-shafts into the earth….
Mountain Top Removal video
Much of the world’s energy still comes from coal. • The US generates ½ its electricity from coal • it’s cheap & plentiful
What are the advantages of using coal? • There’s plenty of it • It’s relatively cheap • Our conventional power stations are designed to use it.
What are the disadvantages of using coal? • Coal is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. • When burned, it produces emissions that contribute to global warming, create acid rain and pollute water • Damage to water, buildings, wildlife, & habitat • Dangerous to Miners • There have been 104,000 deaths in US mines since 1900 • 29 miners died in 2012 in West Virginia.
Clean Coal Technology Seeks to reduce harsh environmental effects by using multiple technologies to clean coal and contain its emissions.
Moran Plant in Burlington, VT 1954-1986
Millions of years ago, the dead bodies of living things settled to the bottom of the ocean. As they were buried, the remains turned slowly into OIL.
What are Oil’s advantages? • It’s easy to transport • It’s easy to store • It’s easy to use
And extraction can harm ecosystems: Ex. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
NATURAL GAS…. …FROM THE SAME SOURCES AS OIL
Natural gas can also be used as a fuel to generate heat, and from that, electricity
Fracking overview • Define fracking and explain the process in general. • What are some possible environmental impacts of fracking? • Explain why some people are concerned about the fracking process. • Do you think that gas drilling companies should be compelled to tell the public which chemicals they are using? Why or why not? • What scientific evidence so far suggests a possible link between fracking and human illness? • How would you design an investigation to establish a possible link between fracking and negative impacts on human health?
But burning ANY fossil fuel causes pollution and the carbon dioxide adds to the “greenhouse effect”...
Cars are amongst the worst polluters… but what’s the alternative?
So, no matter what fossil fuel we use to make electricity, it can be contributing to global warming.
….and what about NUCLEAR power? • using nuclear reactions to produce energy for commercial use. • Involves nuclear fission– the splitting of the nucleus of a large atom into two or more smaller nuclei. • This involves a release of a lot of heat energy which can be used to generate electricity.