Some energy sources on Earth are being used faster than Earth’s natural processes can replace them.
These resources are called nonrenewable energy resources.
Most of the energy resources that are used to generate electricity are nonrenewable
Fossil Fuels are one type of nonrenewable resource. Some examples are coal, oil, and natural gas.
These form from the decay of dead organisms like, plants and animal remains that have been buried over millions of years.
Coal is a sedimentary rock formed from the compaction and transformation of the remains of ancient plant matter.
Oil- is a liquid hydrocarbon that is often referred to as petroleum.
A hydrocarbon is a compound that contains hydrogen and carbon atoms.
Gasoline is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon that is processed for the use in cars, heating systems in homes, and many other uses.
Uses of Fossil Fuels.
Coal- Used to generate electricity.
Oil- Used to produce gasoline.
Used as lubricant, like motor oil.
Used to make plastics, shingles
- Natural Gas- Used for Heating and a
source of sulfur.
Coal- The most abundant fossil fuel in the world.
If the world continues to use coal at the rate we are using it now, there will only be enough coal to last the next 250 years.
Coal is a rock that’s composition is 50% plant remains.
Coal begins to form when plants die in a swampy area.
These plants are covered by more plants, water, and sediment. This kind of smothers the plant material and does not allow oxygen from the atmosphere to come into contact with it.
B/c of the lack of O2 the plant material decays slowly and bacteria begin to breakdown the plant molecules, leaving behind carbon as a by product.
This carbon left over from the bacteria causes the black color of the coal.
After these bacteria breakdown the plant molecules, it takes millions of years for the carbon and sediments to be compacted, underneath great pressure, to finally become coal.
A synthetic fuel is one that is extracted from solid organic material, like coal.
We get these by extracting the hydrocarbons from coal to form liquid and gaseous synthetic fuels that can be processed to produce gasoline for cars and oil for heating.
The gaseous forms of synthetic fuels are used to generate electricity.
Stages of Coal Formation
As plant material decays it releases gas and moisture and carbon.
The first stage of coal formation results in the formation of Peat.
Peat is a layer of organic sediment. As peat is buried under more and more sediment, it changes into lignite, a soft brown coal with a lot less moisture then peat due to the increasing pressure pushing down on it.
Stages of Coal Formation
Also, as the pressure and heat increases on top of lignite, the carbon in it becomes concentrated. This allows lignite to release more energy than Peat.
As the layers becomes more and more buried beneath the surface the soft brown lignite coal, becomes bituminous coal, which is compact, black and brittle.
This kind of coal provides lots of energy when burned. And it also contains a lot of sulfur that can pollute the environment when burned.
Stages of Coal Formation
The last and fourth stage of coal formation occurs when enough pressure and heat is put on to the bituminous coal to change it into anthracite coal.
This type of coal contains the most carbon of all coal forms. Since, almost all of anthracite coal is carbon it is the cleanest burning form of coal.
There is less sulfur and other impurities.
Oil and Natural Gas
Oil and Natural Gas are also very important types of fossil fuels.
Oil is a thick, black liquid formed from the buried remains of microscopic marine organisms.
Natural gas forms under very similar ways and often with oil. However, instead of a liquid, it is a gaseous form.
They are both hydrocarbons, but the molecules in natural gas are a lot lighter than those of oil.
Oil and Natural Gas
Natural gas is used mostly for heating and cooking purposes.
Oil is used for heating also, but can be used as gas, lubricants or in the productions of plastics as well.
40% of Americas energy comes from the use of Oil.
24% is from Natural gas.
23 from Coal
The other 13% are renewable resources will learn about later.
Formation of Oil and Natural Gas H.W. pg 146 ques. 1-12
The process begins when marine organisms called plankton die and fall to seafloor.
Sediments then gets deposited on top of this dead plankton and the pressure and temperature increase as this happens.
Eventually, this will cause the dead plankton to become oil and natural gas.
Formation of Oil and Natural Gas
Natural gas and oil are found in layers of rock that have become tilted or folded.
Oil and gas are less dense than water and are therefore forced upward, fairly close to the surface.
Shale, is an impermeable rock that stops the upward flow of the oil and gas.
This is what has to be drilled through when we want to excavate the oil or gas.
Removing Fossil Fuels from the Ground
Coal is removed in two different ways: 1) strip mining
2) open-pit mining
We remove oil and natural gas by drilling and using pumps to remove them from the Earth.
In strip mining, layers of rock, that lie above coal, are removed and piled to one side.
The now exposed coal can be removed and loaded into trucks and transported elsewhere.
After the removal of the coal, the miners put the removed soil into the place they took the coal from.
Strip mining is only used when coal is close to the surface.
In one method of mining for coal, tunnels are dug underground and rock are left to make pillars for support.
Drift mines remove coal that is not close to the Earth’s surface, through horizontal tunnels in the side of hills or mountains.
In slope mining, an angled opening and air shaft are made in the side of a mountain to remove coal.
Oil and Gas drilling
These fossil fuels can be pumped from underground deposits.
Geologists and engineers drill wells into rock that they believe are trapping gas or oil beneath them.
When the drilling reaches rock that contains oil or gas the drilling is stopped.
Equipment is then inserted in order to control the flow of oil and gas.
The surrounding rock is then fractured and the oil and gas spill into a well.
The oil or gas in the well are then pumped to the surface.
Fossil Fuel Reserves
The amount of a fossil fuel that can be extracted at a profit using current technology is called a reserve.
A fossil fuel resource different than a reserve because a resource is concentrated enough that it can be removed in useful amounts.
In a reserve there is less fuel so it has to be profitable in order for it to be mined.
We said that there is enough coal to last 250 more years.
The is only enough natural gas to last about 60 years.
However scientists have found a new source of methane, a major component of natural gas.
This new source of methane is underneath the ocean floor.
And a methane hydrate is an ice like substance that could provide tremendous energy.
Methane hydrates are stable molecules found hundreds of meters below sea level in ocean floor sediment.
These form under high pressure and fairly low temps. And can be found on the eastern coast of the U.S.
It is thought that methane hydrates hold more energy than all of the other fossil fuels combined.
Conserving Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuels are being used faster than they can form. And wasteful habits like not turning off the lights when you leave a room, adds to the raising of electricity prices.
How can we avoid running out of these precious natural resources that we rely on so heavily?
We can turn lights off, shut windows or doors tightly and quickly in the winter months.
Energy from Atoms
Most electricity in the U.S. is generated in power plants that use fossil fuels.
However, nuclear energy is an alternate source of energy.
Nuclear energy is energy produced by atomic reactions.
When the nucleus of a heavy element is split large amounts of energy are released.
This energy can be used to power submarines or to even light a home.
The act of splitting the nucleus of a heavy atom is called nuclear fission.
And the most used heavy element to get energy is uranium.
In a power plant there is a large chamber called a nuclear reactor, which contains uranium rods that sit in a pool of cool water.
Neutrons are then fired into the chamber of rods and splits the uranium atom so energy can be released.
The released energy from the split atoms causes water to boil and make steam which drives large turbines which turns a generator which makes electricity.
Nuclear energy is considered a nonrenewable resource b/e you need to use uranium-235 as a fuel.
Another bad thing about nuclear energy is the waste products of the fission reactions.
Nuclear waste contains high amounts of radioactive material.
The EPA has determined that nuclear waste material must be safely stored and contained for at least 10,000 years before reentering the environment.
In fusion, materials of a low mass are fused together to form a substance of a higher mass.
This will produce a lot of energy, and the waste will not be as harmful as fission, however, we are still looking for ways to create technology to get this done.
Renewable Energy Resources Sec 5-2 H.W. pg 135 ques. 1-5
Inexhaustible resources are energy resources that cannot run out in the future.
Some examples are the Sun, water, wind, and geothermal energy.
Solar energy is energy from the sun that can be used in two ways: passively or actively.
Solar energy is passively used when the sun heats up wind or water and that water and wind is circulated to warm the area around it.
We actively use solar energy by trapping the energy of the sun in what is called cells.
These cells trap the suns energy and turn it into electricity. They were originally created to generate electricity for satellites.
We can find solar cells today, in calculators, streetlights, and some experimental cars.
Disadvantages of Solar energy
Although solar energy is clean and inexhaustible, there are some downfalls of solar energy.
It doesn’t work well on cloudy days, and is useless at night.
Some systems of solar energy use batteries to store the energy for the night time, but it is difficult to store large amounts of energy in these batteries.
Also, these batteries could cause pollution if not discarded properly.
Energy from Wind
Wind is an excellent source of energy. For centuries we have used wind to power sail boats and ships.
People have even used the wind to power windmills that are used to do various things like grinding corn, pump water or creating electricity.
When we put a large amount of windmills in one place in order to generate electricity, it is called a wind farm.
Wind energy is nonpolluting, free and causes no waste material.
Some problems are: 1) There are only some places on Earth that have strong enough winds to generate electricity.
2) Wind is not steady. Sometimes it doesn’t blow hard enough or it could stop entirely.
For a place to use wind as energy, it would have to have wind that is persistent and strong enough.
Energy from water
Running water was used to harness energy, with the use of waterwheels, in the past.
Today, we generate hydroelectric energy with the use of dams and turbines.
Dams are built to hold large amounts of water back. When some of the water is released it rushes through and forces turbines to turn and create electricity.
It might seem that hydroelectric energy is very environmentally safe. But is not as safe as you think.
The building of dams causes upstream lakes to fill with sediments and downstream lakes begin to erode.
Also, the land above the dam becomes flooded and wildlife in that area are heavily effected.
Turbines and Dams
Energy from the Earth
Energy we acquire from the Earth’s magma and hot dry rocks is called geothermal energy.
Erupting volcanoes and geysers are examples of geothermal energy.
Both of these examples can be used to generate electricity.
Magma heats bodies of water, like reservoirs and causes them to boil and create steam.
Geothermal power plants then use this steam to turn turbines to produce electricity.
We presently use these methods in Hawaii and the Western U.S.
Renewable Energy Resources H.W. pg 146 ques. 13-20
A renewable resources are one that can be replaced by nature of by humans in a relatively short time.
A relatively short time is defined as one human lifetime.
A major renewable resource is what's called biomass energy, which is energy derived from burning organic material, such as wood, alcohol, and garbage.
Energy from Wood
When you burn wood you are releasing stored solar energy as heat.
Wood is the most widely used biomass.
The small particles and gases released into the air by burning wood can pollute the air.
And when we cut down massive amounts of trees to be burned we virtually wipe out habitats for thousands of species.
If we conserve trees properly, by planting one for every one we cut down, using wood for energy can become a large part of our future.
Energy from Alcohol
Distillation of corn creates a biomass in the form of an alcohol, like ethanol.
If we mix ethanol with a fuel, like gasoline to produce gasohol, which can be used the same way as gas but it burns cleaner and allows us to use less fossil fuels, since we don’t have to make the total volume of the mixture pure gasoline.
Liquid biomasses like alcohol have more uses than solid ones.
Energy from Garbage
We can take the heat from burning garbage and use it to produce energy.
When garbage burns it causes heat to produce steam which can be used to turn turbines, which generate electricity.
It is cheap and would reduce the amount of garbage that would have to be dumped into landfills.
This form of energy does, however, pollute the air greatly.
Mineral Resources Section 5-3 H.W. pg 141 ques 1-4
Metallic Mineral resources are deposits of useful minerals that contain metals like, aluminum, copper, gold, iron, etc….
Ores are the most important metallic mineral resource.
An ore, is a metallic mineral found in a large enough deposit that can be mined for profit.
In order for a mineral to be considered an ore, it must be in demand. And has to be worth the trouble of removing it.
To remove an ore from rock it must be concentrated and refined.
The metallic ore is mined and crushed to remove the waste rock, or gangue (GANG).
Nonmetallic mineral resources
Any mineral not used as fuel or as a source of metal is a nonmetallic mineral.
There are 2 types: industrial minerals & building materials.
Limestone belongs to both goups.
Many useful chemical are taken from industrial minerals.
We use silica, from sandstone to make glass. We use others to make into fertilizers, table salt and rock salt.
Abrasives like sandpaper are made from corundum and garnet.
The most important mineral here is called aggregate, which is a mixture of crushed stone, gravel, and sand.
We use it to make concrete when we add water to it.
We use gypsum as plaster and limestone as walkways or driveways.
Recycling mineral resources
Mineral resources are nonrenewable and take millions of years to form.
We can help to save these resources by recycling, or making new materials from old ones.
Recycling reduces the demand for new mineral resources and uses less energy to obtain the new material.