on Energy Resources
- Formed hundreds of
millions of years ago from the remains of dead organisms
- Contain the elements
hydrogen and carbon, hydrocarbons
- There are three forms;
Coal, Oil and Natural Gas
- They produce energy
during combustion (the process of burning)
- They are the main source
of energy for industry, transportation, and homes
- This is the solid form of
- There are four types
- Most coal in the
United States is used to produce electricity.
- Peat: not yet
coal but it is developing. It is soft, made of plant fiber. During
combustion it gives off smoke but very little energy.
- Lignite: the 2nd
type, it is brown and has a woody texture. Also low in energy
- Bituminous Coal:
the 3rd type. It is dark brown or black, called soft coal.
It is made from a lot of pressure because it forms deep within the
earth. This is the most abundant type.
the 4th type. Formed from tremendous pressure. Very hard and
brittle. It is almost pure carbon.
- This is the liquid form
of fossil fuel, sometimes called petroleum.
- Oil is formed from the
remains of dead ocean plants and animals. We find oil under the ocean
floor or where an ocean once covered the earth.
- Crude oil is used to
produce gasoline, which is used for transportation and
heating oil for homes.
are also made from crude oil; they are used in plastics, fabrics,
medicines and building materials.
- This is the gaseous or
vapor form of fossil fuel. It is usually found near oil deposits (above
- The most common natural
gas is methane.
- Natural Gas is used for
home heating. We use propane, which is a natural gas for our
We are having a shortage of
fossil fuels. This is why fuel costs are rising.
Energy use in the United States
The United States contains only
5% of the world’s population, however we use more than 30% of the energy
produced in the world today!
Scientist predict that in the
past 5000 years we have used up almost all of the coal, oil and natural gas
formed over a period of 500 million years.
We are running out!
- Life would not exist
without the sun’s energy
- It can be used to heat
buildings and to produce electricity.
- There are two types of
- Passive Solar heat:
When the sun is shining the energy is given off, when it is not, there
is no energy. In this form there is no collection or storage of energy.
- Active Solar heat:
This is a system where a device called a solar collector is installed.
It absorbs the sun’s energy and traps the heat. It also used water to
transfer the heat.
- Solar cells:
Science has recently advanced our solar energy systems with the
invention of solar cells. These are like batteries that collect the
energy for future use. Many car manufacturers are experimenting with
solar-powered cars that use these photovoltaic cells (solar
batteries). Up until recently they were too expensive and produced too
- Solar Power Towers:
These are power plants that use mirrors to reflect the sun’s energy into
a boiler. The boiler converts water to steam, which turns a turbine and
- Wind energy is an
indirect form of solar energy (caused by the uneven heating of
- Windmills have been used
since the 1800’s to power water pumps. Now they are used to product
- Wind generators are not
always reliable; they need a constant source of wind so they are only used
in certain areas.
- Also a form of indirect
- Used to produce
- Hydroelectric power: The
use of running or falling water to produce electricity.
- Dams hold back millions of
tons of water. It flows through turbines to product electricity.
- It is also a limited
energy source because there are only a few locations where dams can be
- The way in which our
sun produces energy is through something called nuclear reactions.
- Scientists have used this
knowledge to duplicate this type of reaction on Earth.
- All objects on earth
contain matter. All matter is made up of tiny particles called
atoms. The center of the atom is called the nucleus (this is
where the term nuclear energy comes from)
- Nuclear Fission:
When an atom splits into two sections energy is released. There are certain
elements that are easy to “split” and cause a chain-reaction. These
elements are considered radioactive (able to produce nuclear energy).
- Nuclear Power Plants:
These plants are where nuclear fission takes place. They use the energy
released to heat water into steam, which turns a turbine and produces
energy. There are problems with this type of energy. The radioactive
materials are dangerous and harmful to the environment; radioactive leaks
are possible, and security is threatened.
- Nuclear Fusion:
When two atoms combine together into one large nucleus it creates much more
energy than nuclear fission. It uses the hydrogen atom. Scientist have not
yet been able to generate enough energy to do this yet, however it would be
safer and less polluting.
- We are running out of
current energy sources and pollution problems exist with many of the current
Geo: means earth Thermal: means heat
Geothermal means the heat energy from the earth.
- Magma within
the earth heat up in certain spots near the surface. Water comes in
contact with these spots, it heats and bursts out as steam. We call
this release of steam a geyser. A famous geyser is “Old
Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park. We can use this steam energy to
- This is a limited
source of energy because there are only a few places on earth where hot
- Tidal Energy:
- This can be used where
the difference between high and low tides are great.
- Used to produce
- Can only be used in a
very limited area where tidal plants can be built.
- Materials that come
from living things.
- They can be burned
directly to produce energy or turned into other fuels.
- Wood, plants, animal
wastes are used to produce heating energy
- Burning Garbage is
another example (American Refuel)
- Gasahol – this is when
biomass from corn, wheat or barley is turned into fuel
- Limited in the amount
of energy produced and pollution problems.
- Hydrogen Power:
- Hydrogen is available
everywhere from the water (H2O) on earth.
- It can be burned
instead of fossil fuels.
- Problem is the amount
of energy used to separate out the hydrogen from the oxygen in the water
is more than the energy that it produces!