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Chapter 13 Achieving Energy Sustainability

What is renewable energy?

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy sources can be rapidly regenerated, and some can never be depleted, no matter how much we use them.

What is Renewable Energy?

Nonrenewable sources: exist in finite amounts (fossil fuels, uranium) Potentially renewable sources: must not be consumed more quickly than they are replenished (biomass) Nondepletable sources: cannot be depleted in the span of human time (solar, wind)

What is Renewable Energy?

Using any form of energy (renewable or nonrenewable) will have an impact on the environment.
Overharvesting of woode.g., to obtain biomasscan lead to deforestation and land degradation.

How can we use less energy?

How Can We Use Less Energy?

Energy conservation: finding ways to use less energy. For instance, lower your thermostat during the winter, or walk instead of driving, and do laundry using cold water.

How Can We Use Less Energy?

Energy efficiency: getting the same result from using a smaller amount of energy. Examples include using energy-efficient (EPA Energy Star) appliances, and switching to compact fluorescent or LED lighting.

Benefits of Conservation and Efficiency

Energy companies periodically need backup energy sources available to meet the peak demand, the greatest quantity of energy used at any one time.

Benefits of Conservation and Efficiency

Often these peak demand sources are natural gas-fired generators. Reducing peak demand reduces the need to build extra generating capacity. Some utilities give away free compact fluorescent light bulbs or help pay for house insulation in order to reduce peak demand.

Benefits of Conservation and Efficiency

Variable price structure: utility customers can pay less to use energy at times when demand is lowest and pay more during peak demand.

Sustainable Design

Sustainable design improves the efficiency of the buildings in which we live and work.

Passive Solar Energy

Passive solar energy can lower your electricity bill without the need for pumps or other mechanical devices. For example, building a house with windows along a south-facing wall, allowing the Suns rays to warm the house.

Sustainable Design
The California Academy of Sciences building embodies many sustainabledesign elements: Natural lighting and ventilation Rooftop solar panels Rooftop garden to collect rainwater

Biomass is energy from the sun.

Biomass Is Energy from the Sun

The Sun is the ultimate source of almost all types of energy, including Biomass Hydroelectric Wind


Modern Carbon vs. Fossil Carbon

Why is it better to burn biomass such as wood than a fossil fuel such as coal?

Modern Carbon vs. Fossil Carbon

The carbon found in biomass: Existed in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide Was taken in by the tree through photosynthesis By burning it, was put back into the atmosphere

Modern Carbon vs. Fossil Carbon

Coal contains carbon: That has been buried for millions of years and was out of circulation until we began to use it Now it is being returned to the atmosphere at a rapid rate This results in a rapid increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere


Wood, charcoal, and manure: used to heat homes throughout the world

Ethanol and biodiesel (biofuels): used as substitutes for gasoline and diesel fuel


Land denuded for charcoal production

The kinetic energy of water can generate electricity.

The Kinetic Energy of Water Can Generate Electricity

Hydroelectricity: electricity generated by the kinetic energy of moving water The second most common form of renewable energy in the world Creates 7% of electricity used in the United States

Types of Hydroelectric Power Systems

Run-of-the-river systems: water is held behind a low dam and runs through a channel to return to the river

These do not store water

Are generally small

Can be affected by droughts

Types of Hydroelectric Power Systems

Water impoundment: water is stored behind a dam and the gates of the dam are opened and closed controlling the flow of water.

Types of Hydroelectric Power Systems

Tidal systems: the movement of water is driven by the gravitational pull of the Moon. Gates and turbines are used to generate electricity. Limited application depending on difference between heights of low and high tides.

The suns energy can be captured directly.

The Suns Energy Can Be Captured Directly

Passive solar energy: can be used in homes, buildings, and ovens Active solar energy: capturing the energy of sunlight with the use of a pump or photovoltaic cell and generating hot water or electricity

The Suns Energy Can Be Captured Directly

Solar energy has certain drawbacks: Photovoltaic cells are expensive

Requires longer sunlight days to decrease payback period

Solar cell manufacture requires energy and creates toxic wastes

Earths internal heat is a source of nondepletable energy.

Earths Internal Heat Produces Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy: using the heat from natural radioactive decay of elements deep within the Earth. Does not use sunlight as a source of energy. Iceland now heats 87% of their homes geothermally, and also creates 20% of their electricity in this way.

Wind energy is the most rapidly growing source of electricity.

Wind Energy Is the Most Rapidly Growing Source of Electricity

Wind energy: uses a wind turbine to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy

Wind Energy Is the Most Rapidly Growing Source of Electricity

Wind energy is the fastest-growing major source of electricity in the world, but not without problems: Most off-grid wind systems must rely on battery-storage.

Wind Energy Is the Most Rapidly Growing Source of Electricity

Wind turbines are highly visible. Placement is suited only to certain areas, and it does not supply a constant source of power.

Hydrogen fuel cells have many potential applications.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells Have Many Potential Applications

Fuel cell: a device that operates like a common battery where electricity is generated by a reaction between two chemicals. Potential problems include the expense involved in making hydrogen and its explosive nature.

How can we plan our energy future?

Our Energy Future

A varied strategy will be required to meet future energy challenges, including: Conservation Increased energy efficiency Greater use of renewable sources

New technology to improve energy storage and distribution

Review Questions
List some common forms of nondepletable, potentially renewable, and nonrenewable energy sources. Why is energy conservation important? What is meant by energy efficiency as opposed to energy conservation? Which government agency established the Energy Star program?

Review Questions

What is peak demand?

How can peak demand be managed and reduced? What are some characteristics of sustainably designed homes? What is passive solar design? What produces the energy found in biomass?

Review Questions
Distinguish between modern carbon and fossil carbon sources of energy. What are three examples of solid biomass? What is biodiesel?

What is the ultimate energy source for hydroelectric energy?

How does a run-of-the-river system differ from a water impoundment system?

Review Questions
15. What are some advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric power? 16. How can solar energy be captured directly? 17. What are some drawbacks to active solar systems? 18. How can the Earths internal heat be used for energy?

Review Questions

19. Where does the Earths heat come from?

20. What is the most rapidly growing source of electricity?

21. What is a fuel cell?