Discuss the scientific and technical concepts related to the uses of fossil fuels and renewable energy resources.
Ans. Fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, natural gas are regarded as non-renewable sources of energy. These sources of energy cannot be replenished and re-generated and hence can get over after some period of time. Wind power, water, geothermal energy is all renewable sources of energy and are also sustainable sources of energy.
Consider how fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are utilized for production of electricity.
Ans. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are utilized for production of electricity. These fossil fuels undergo combustion process and generate heat energy. A traditional electric power plant generates electricity by burning or combustion of a fossil fuel such as coal or natural gas. The heat generated by this combustion is used to boil water which leads to the production of steam. The steam then causes a turbine of coiled wire to turn in a magnetic field. When a coil of wire is rotated in a magnetic field, it leads to flow of electrons in the wires. This flow of electron leads to generation of electricity.
Consider how alternative and renewable resources such as wind turbines, hydroelectric power, wave power, and geothermal energy are utilized to either produce electrical energy or provide an alternative to electricity consumption.
Ans. Some forms of alternative energy generate electricity in the similar way. The major difference is that instead of using combustion of fossil fuels to turn the turbine, other energy sources are used. For example, wind power uses windmills to turn the turbines of coiled wire to generate electricity. Nuclear energy depends on the heat produced by the splitting of uranium atoms to convert liquid water to steam, which in turn causes rotation of a turbine of coiled wire. Sometimes wood or cornstalks or garbage or other organic matter (together known as biomass) is burned and causes the water to boil. Rays of sunlight (solar power) which are focused with mirrors can also generate adequate amount of heat required to boil the water. Fast water flowing over dams can also turn turbines; which is known as “hydroelectric power.” The ebb and flow of the tides, caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon on the Earth’s oceans, are utilized to turn a turbine in a few tidal power plants. Energy from the centre of the earth can be used in the form of geothermal energy and to generate large amount of heat energy.
Explain the advantages and disadvantages related to both fossil fuels and renewable energy resources such as wind power, hydroelectricity, geothermal energy, and biomass.
Ans. Fossil fuels are very important sources of energy. However, the greatest disadvantage of fossil fuels is that combustion of fuels for transportation and heating accounts for about two-thirds of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). Even with regular increasing development in energy technologies; primary energy use and GHG and air pollutant emissions from fuel use will likely grow over the next century, because of increasing demand, especially in developing countries. Air quality remains an issue in many parts of the world. Moreover, fuel supply security is a serious concern, particularly for the transportation sector.
There are some advantages and disadvantages of renewable sources of energy as well. The greatest advantage of renewable sources of energy is that since it is renewable, it leads to sustainable development of a nation. This type of energy source requires less maintenance and thus is also cheaper than fossil fuels. It is also environment friendly. One of the greatest disadvantages of renewable sources of energy is that it cannot yield the large amount of electricity required to meet demands of the masses. Another disadvantage of renewable energy sources is the dependability of supply. Renewable energy often depends on the weather for its source of power. Hydro generators need rain to fill dams to supply flowing water. Wind turbines need wind to turn the blades, and solar collectors need clear skies and sunshine to collect heat and make electricity. When these resources are unavailable so is the capacity to make energy from them. This can be random and contradictory.
Consider issues such as availability of the resource, sustainability of the technology, and environmental impact.
Provide 2–3 examples of the uses of both types of energy resources that are utilized in your community.
Ans. Example of renewable energy used are: solar energy and Wind energy. Coal and petroleum are used as forms of non-renewable sources of energy.