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Student name: Nattha Chantasarn (BEC) Student number: 5006643471
INTRODUCTION The purpose of this report is to provide information about variety forms of energy, energy problems and the solution of those problems. We use energy to do work. Energy lights our cities. Energy powers our vehicles, trains, planes and rockets. Energy warms our homes, cooks our food, plays our music, and gives us pictures on television. Energy powers machinery in factories and tractors on a farm. Energy from the sun gives us light during the day. It dries our clothes when they're hanging outside on a clothes line. It helps plants grow. Energy stored in plants is eaten by animals, giving them energy. And predator animals eat their prey, which gives the predator animal energy. Everything we do is connected to energy in one form or another. Energy is defined as: "the ability to do work." Energy can be found in a number of different forms. It can be chemical energy, electrical energy, heat (thermal energy), light (radiant energy), mechanical energy, and nuclear energy. To consider the energy problems, we should understand types of energy, forms of energy and where are they come from first. TYPES OF ENERGY
There are two types of energy -- stored (potential) energy and working (kinetic) energy. But there are many forms of energy such as nuclear energy, electrical energy, mechanical energy, wind energy, solar energy and fossil fuels. The energy sources have been split into three categories: fossil fuels, renewable sources, and nuclear sources. The fossil fuels covered here are coal, petroleum, and natural gas. The renewable energy sources are solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal power. The nuclear-powered sources are fission and fusion. Fossil Fuels There are three major forms of fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. The theory behind fossil fuels is actually quite simple. Burning coal, natural gas, and petroleum releases energy stored in the fuel as heat. The energy contained by the fuels is derived from the energy of the sun. The heat that is recovered upon combustion of the fuel can be used by us in several ways. Industrial processes that require extremely high temperatures may burn a great deal of very pure coal known as "coke" and use the energy released to directly heat a system. Some people make use of clean burning natural gas to heat their homes. Combustion of fossil fuels can also be used to generate electricity; the fuel is burned to heat water, and the steam from the boiling water spins turbines that power a generator, thereby manufacturing electricity. Coal Coal is a hard, black colored rock-like substance. The nature of coal is such that the higher the carbon content, the more cleanly and brilliantly the coal burns. It is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and varying amounts of
sulphur. There are three main types of coal - anthracite, bituminous and lignite. Anthracite coal is the hardest and has more carbon, which gives it higher energy content. Lignite is the softest and is low in carbon but high in hydrogen and oxygen content.ส Bituminous is in between. Today, the precursor to coal - peat is still found in many countries and is also used as an energy source.
Oil or Petroleum Petroleum, or "crude oil," is a liquid fuel that is present in various locations throughout the world. It has many uses, from the generation of electricity to the manufacture of medicines, plastics, and other commercial items. Oil and natural gas are found underground between folds of rock and in areas of rock that are porous and contain the oils within the rock itself. The folds of rock were formed as the earth shifts and moves. It's similar to how a small, throw carpet will bunch up in places on the floor. A new development is the offshore rig, a construction that allows for the retrieval of petroleum buried deep within the ocean.
Natural Gas Natural gas is almost always found in deposits of petroleum. When the petroleum is drilled, natural gas is also recovered.
Natural gas is a combustible mixture of hydrocarbon gases. While natural gas is formed primarily of methane, it can also include ethane, propane, butane and pentane. Natural Gas is one of the principle sources of energy for many of our day-to-day needs and activities. It is a vital component of the world's supply of energy. It is one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources. Fossil fuels are relatively easy to use to generate energy because they only require a simple direct combustion. However, a problem with fossil fuels is their environmental impact. Not only does their excavation from the ground significantly alter the environment, but their combustion leads to a great deal of air pollution. Effects on the Environment The consumption of coal, oil and natural gases has some terrible effects on the environment. Gradually the world’s temperature is heating up due to the greenhouse effect that causes ‘Global Warming’. With the burning of fossil fuels, the carbon dioxide emissions add to the greenhouse effect, along with exhaust fumes from vehicles, the spraying of aerosol cans, Infra-red radiation from phones, computers etc. and many other reasons. A potential danger of global warming is the melting of the so-called "polar ice caps" at the north and south poles. This occurrence would cause the ocean level to rise and perhaps flood many coastal cities. Effects on Humans As humans are using fossil fuels faster than the earth is producing them, it would mean that, in the not so distant future, people would be running the risk of fossil fuels becoming very scarce. Solving Energy Problems, Saving Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels take millions of years to make. We are using up the fuels that were made more than 300 million years ago before the time of the dinosaurs. Once they are gone they are gone. So, it's best to not waste fossil fuels. They are not renewable; they can't really be made again. We can save fossil fuels by conserving energy. The world’s power would need to come from alternative sources such as renewable energy i.e. wind power, solar power or hydroelectricity, as people are so reliant on electricity. The reduction of fossil fuel wastage and the greenhouse effect can be helped in many ways. The reduction of fossil fuel consumption can be helped by energy conservation and by the use of alternative energy sources. The planting of more trees and less deforestation could help to consume the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that adds to the greenhouse effect. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy-are constantly replenished and will never run out.
Renewable Energy Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses. The sun's heat also drives the winds, whose energy, is captured with wind turbines. Then, the winds and the sun's heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns
into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydroelectric power. Along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called bioenergy. Hydrogen also can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It's the most abundant element on the Earth. But it doesn't occur naturally as a gas. It's always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity. Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth's internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production, and the heating and cooling of buildings. And the energy of the ocean's tides comes from the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun upon the Earth. In fact, ocean energy comes from a number of sources. In addition to tidal energy, there's the energy of the ocean's waves, which are driven by both the tides and the winds. The sun also warms the surface of the ocean more than the ocean depths, creating a temperature difference that can be used as an energy source. All these forms of ocean energy can be used to produce electricity. Problems with Solar Power Solar power is actually one of the cleanest methods of energy production known. Because solar panels simply convert the energy of the sun into energy mankind can use, there are no harmful byproducts or threats to the environment.
One major concern is the cost of solar power. Solar panels (accumulators) are not cheap; and because they are constructed from fragile materials (semiconductors, glass, etc.), they must constantly be maintained and often replaced. Further, since each photovoltaic panel has only about 40% efficiency, single solar panels are not sufficient power producers. However, this problem has been offset by the gathering together of many large panels acting in accord to produce energy. Although this setup takes up much more space, it does generate much more power. Problems with Hydroelectric Power Although hydroelectric power is admittedly one of the cleanest and most environmentally-friendly sources of energy, it too has the capability to alter or damage its surroundings. Among the main problems that have been demonstrated by hydroelectric power is significant change in water quality. Because of the nature of hydroelectric systems, the water often takes on a higher temperature, loses oxygen content, experiences siltation, and gains in phosphorus and nitrogen content. Another major problem is the obstruction of the river for aquatic life. Salmon, which migrate upstream to spawn every year, are especially impacted by hydroelectric dams. Fortunately, this problem has been dealt with by the production of "fish ladders". These structures provide a pathway for fish to navigate past the hydroelectric dam construction. Problems with Wind Power One of the main problems with wind power is the space that is used up by the so-called "wind farms." In some cases, the space taken up can seriously alter the environment. The good news is that although wind farms require a great deal of square mileage, there is quite a bit of space between the actual wind machines. This space can be used for agricultural purposes.
Another problem with wind power is that relatively speaking, it does not generate very much energy for the price. Perhaps this setback is made up for in friendliness to the environment.
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