Energy Conversion; Fossil Fuels; Attractive Sources of Energy; Alternative to Fossil Fuels and Their Relative Advantages and Disadvantages Energy Conversion; Fossil Fuels; Attractive Sources of Energy; Alternative to Fossil Fuels and Their Relative Advantages and Disadvantages Introduction Energy comes in different forms and different terms distinguished one form from another. Potential energy is called the energy that possessed by an object due to its position. Kinetic energy is called the energy possessed by an object due to its motion.
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Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it only converted from one form to another.
Conversion energy from one form to another Potential energy can be converted into kinetic energy and vice versa. The classic example of this intra-conversion is a pendulum. Throughout a swing of a pendulum the total amount of energy (potential plus kinetic) is constant. When the pendulum reaches its highest point at the end of the movement, all its energy becomes potential energy. As it begins, a downward swing gains kinetic energy and loses potential energy. At the lowest point of its trajectory all its energy is converted into kinetic energy.
As its proceeds to swing to its highest point it loses kinetic energy and gains potential energy. At the highest point all of its energy is once again a potential energy. All of the different forms of energy are intro-convertible. For example: electrical energy is converted into light energy in the bulb, into mechanical energy in the washing machines, and into thermal energy in an oven. “The chemical energy of a molecule of glucose is converted to mechanical energy in our muscles” (James B. Seaborne, 2002). The majority of our technological devises are converters of different forms of energy.
What does it mean by fossil fuel? “In a sense, the fossil fuels are a one-time gift that lifted us up from subsistence agriculture and should eventually lead us to a future based on renewable resources” Kenneth Deffeyes, 2001). The energy we use today is mainly from fossil fuels. The fossil fuels include gas, oil, coal, uranium, etc. All of these fuels are created over millions of years from the decay of plants and animals under high temperature and pressure. These resources are located in the bowels of the Earth. The formation of fossil fuels continues to this day, but their use is much faster than formation.
For this reason, fossil fuels are considered non-renewable because their resources can be exhausted in the near future. Coal provides about 35% of the world’s energy. It has been applied before other fossil fuels. “Most of the coal deposits formed about 286-360 million years ago” (James B. Seaborne, 2002). The most important element in the composition of coal is carbon. The oldest and hardest rock anthracite coal contains about 98% carbon, and only 30% of lignite (age of less than 1 million years old). Oil accounts for about 40% of the world’s energy.
It was formed millions of years ago due to the expansions of plankton and small water animals. “Oil and natural gas are called hydrocarbons, because they consist of two elements, hydrogen and carbon” (Kuhn, Karl F. 1996). Petroleum products are widely used for cars, trucks and other machineries. Oil is used in agriculture, and also is an essential material for many other industries. Natural gas accounts for about 20% of the world’s energy. Gas is generated in the same manner as oil, and as a rule, is carried out in parallel with the production of oil. The main component of natural gas is methane.
According to current assumptions the total natural gas reserves on the Earth are about the same as the oil. Attractive sources of energy “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that” (Thomas Edison, 1931). There are natural sources of energy like Wind, Water, and Sun. Inasmuch these sources provide clean, safe, and nearly carbon-free energy they are considered attractive sources of energy. Our society is very advantageous to use these sources because they are renewable and therefore very stable.
For example, we are able to use the kinetic energy of wind and water. Electrical generators using turbines convert the energy into conventional electricity. Two different energy alternatives to fossil fuels; how they work; how they compare with fossil fuels, and their relative advantages and disadvantages Fossil fuels are a limited resource. In addition, “increasing amounts of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal leads to an increase in emissions of CO2” (Kuhn, Karl F. , 1996). This, in turn, causes global warming. Today, the power of water as a source of energy is used to produce electricity.
The modern hydropower plant includes dams and huge reservoirs that provide water pressure from a fall from a great height. Water wheels mounted on hydro-turbine in which the flow of water turns the rotor. Each turbine is connected to electric generator. The major advantage of hydroelectricity is the use of inexhaustible resources. Unlike fossil fuels, hydro-resources do not pollute the atmosphere. However, the flooding of large areas to create reservoirs harms the environment and destroys the ecological balance. Great expectations are associated with the use of nuclear power.
In a nuclear reactor, the heat produced in the splitting of an atom of a radioactive element, known as uranium-235. Emitted in the nuclear reaction, heat is used to produce steam turns a turbine to generate electricity. Compared to fossil fuels, nuclear energy has a number of advantages. It provides fuel economy: “a ton of U-235 gives us more energy than 12 million barrels of oil. It’s clean and does not pollute the atmosphere kind of energy” (Kuhn, Karl F. , 1996). However, there are drawbacks. Construction of the plant is expensive. There are hazardous radioactive waste generate during their operation.
As a result, the nuclear accident, like the one that occurred at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, could be contaminated vast areas, causing serious illness and even death. After the Chernobyl disaster, some countries have decided to close down their nuclear power plants. Resources http://www. planetseed. com/relatedarticle/alternatives-fossil-fuels http://www. altenergy. org/nonrenewables/nonrenewables. html http://www. afdc. energy. gov/fuels/index. html http://www. fueleconomy. gov/feg/bifueltech. shtml http://www2. epa. gov/science-and-technology/ecosystems#aquatic