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APES Chapter 15: Nonrenewable Energy

Student Notes
Case Study: How long will supplies of conventional oil last?
1. What is oil used for? List at least four things.
Oils primary use is for one-third of the worlds energy.
Additionally it is used to grow most of our food,
transport people and goods, and make most of the
things we use every day from plastics to asphalt on
2. Explain what the concern is about the global
consumption of oil.
At the current rate oil will be 80% depleted sometime
between 2050 and 2100.
Section 15-1: What major sources of energy do we use?
1. What are the major resources used for energy
globally and in the United States?
Natural Gas, Coal, and oil.

2. List the three types of fossil fuels and explain

how they are formed. Are they renewable or
Natural Gas created by the natural gases in oil to
separate because it is less dense. Non-renewable.
Coal heat and pressure form coal underground. Nonrenewable.
Oil very similar to coal except is liquid.
3. Explain the term net energy and list the energy
resources that provide the greatest net energy.
Net energy: the usable amount of high-quality energy
available from a given quantity of an energy resource.
Surface-mined coal, underground mined coal, ethanol
from sugar cane.
4. Explain the relationship between net energy
and the second law of thermodynamics.
Net energy is how much energy is left after the second
law of thermodynamics has taken place. So when you
move from one step to another the net energy
decreases do to the second law of thermodynamics.
Section 15-2: What are the advantages and disadvantages of oil?
1. Contrast the terms petroleum and gasoline.
Petroleum is oil as it comes out of the ground without
anything done to it. It is generally thick and gooey.
Gasoline is a petroleum based produce. It has been
refined from petroleum to create gasoline.

Teacher Notes

2. What does an oil refinery do? List five

examples of products created from refined
Oil refineries transform crude oil to usable forms such
as asphalt, grease and wax, naphtha, diesel oil, geating
oil, aviation fuel, gasoline, and other gases.
3. What is OPEC and how does it relate to United
States energy resources?
OPEC is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries. It is made up of 13 countries. They have at
least 60% of the worlds crude oil reserves.
4. List some of the effects high oil prices have on
the US economy and social behaviors.
1. Prices of food produced by oil-dependent
industrialized agriculture and products such as plastics,
pesticides, asphalt, and other widely used materials
produced from petrochemicals will rise sharply. 2. Food
production may become more localized reversing the
current trend toward global food production and
distribution bui9lt on cheap oil.
5. Why is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
proposed to be open to drilling for oil? List
some advantages and disadvantages.
Because it is believed that the coast contains oil and
natural gas deposits. Will allow for America to be less
dependent on imported oil.
6. Provide both advantages and disadvantages to
using conventional oil for energy.
Advantages: Ample supply for 42-93 years. Low cost.
High net energy yield. Easily transported within and
between countries. Low land use. Technology is well
developed. Efficient system.
Disadvantages: Need to find substitutes within 50
years. Large government subsidies. Environmental
costs not included in market price. Artificially low price
encourages waste and discourages search for
alternatives. Pollutes the air when produced and
burned. Releases CO2 when burned. Can cause water
7. What is oil sand and where is it located? List
advantages and disadvantages of using oil
sand as an energy resource.
Oil Sand is a mixture of clay, sand, water, and a
combustible organic material called bitumen (a thick
and sticky, heavy oil with a high sulfur content that
makes up about 10% of the gooey mixture) This is
located in Northeastern Alberta in Canada. In order for
it to be mined the boreal forest must be clear0cut, its

wetlands must be drained, and its rivers and streams

must be diverted.
8. What is shale oil and where is it located? List
advantages and disadvantages of using oil
sand as an energy resource.
Shale Oil is rocks that contain a solid combustible
mixture of hydro carbons called kerogen. About 72%
can be found in the rock formations of the Western
United States.
Section 15-3: What are the advantages and disadvantages of natural gas?
1. What are the components of natural gas. In
what forms can it be used?
50-90% is methane (CH4). Ethane (C2H6), propane
(C3H8), and butane (C4H10), and small amounts of
highly toxic hydrogen sulfide (H2S).
2. Describe the process of fracking (hydrolic
fracturing). List some advantages and

3. Provide both advantages and disadvantages to

using natural gas for energy.

Section 15-4: What are the advantages and disadvantages of coal?

1. What three countries use the most coal?

2. Explain how coal is used to generate electricity.

3. List the four forms of coal from most to least

moisture content.

4. List the pollutants released when coal is


5. How do CO2 emissions compare between coal,

oil, natural gas and nuclear energy?

6. Describe the environmental effects created by

Chinas heavy dependence on coal.

7. Provide both advantages and disadvantages to

using coal for energy.

Section 15-5: What are the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy?
1. Explain how nuclear fission is used to generate

2. What resource is used to generate the nuclear

fission reaction?

3. Identify the following parts of a nuclear power

a. Fuel rods
b. Control rods


d. Containment shell
e. Water-filled pools or dry casks

4. Describe nuclear fuel cycle and explain why

the nuclear fuel cycle is considered to be so

5. Why is nuclear energy not more popular as an

energy source?

6. Describe the disasters at Three Mile Island and

Chernobyl. What caused them and what were
the consequences following?

7. Provide both advantages and disadvantages to

using nuclear fission for energy.

8. What must happen to nuclear waste after it is

spent? How is it being treated or stored at this

9. What is the Yucca Mountain storage facility?

Do you think it is a good solution? Support
your answer.

10. Does nuclear energy contribute to global

warming? Why or why not?

11. Describe nuclear fusion and explain why it is

not yet being used as a energy source.

12. What will the next generation nuclear power

plants require? Do you believe they will
become reality? Why or why not?

Watch the video about Methane Hydrates:


What are methane hydrates?

Why are they controversial?

What are the benefits and drawbacks to using methane hydrates?

Do you think they are the energy source of the future? Why or why not?