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active collection

the use of devices, such as solar panels, to collect, focus, transport, or store solar energy.

anthracite

the cleanest-burning coal; almost pure carbon

barrels

the unit used to describe the volume of fossil fuels

bituminous

the second-purest form of coal.

crude oil

the form petroleum takes when in the ground

energy

the capacity to do work

fission

a nuclear reaction in which and atomic nucleus, especially a heavy nucleus such as an isotope of uranium, splits into fragments, usually two fragments of comparable mass, releasing from 100 million to several hundred million electron volts of energy

fossil fuel

a hydrocarbon deposit, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas, derived from living matter of a previous geologic time and used for fuel.

First Law of Thermodynamics

says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transferred and transformed.

Fly ash

a waste product produced by the burning of coal.

half-life

the amount of time it takes for half of a radioactive sample to disappear

Hubbert Peak (peak oil)

an influential theory that concerns the long-term rate of conventional oil (and other fossil fuel) extraction and depletion. It predicts that future world oil production will soon reach a peak and then rapidly decline.

hydroelectric power

Power generated from moving water.

kinetic energy

the energy of motion

lignite

the least pure coal

nuclear fusion

the process of fusing two nuclei

overburden

the rocks and Earth that is removed when mining for a commercially valuable mineral resource.

passive solar energy collection

the use of building materials, building placement, and design to passively collect solar energy that can be used to keep a building warm or cool.

peak oil (Hubbert peak)

an influential theory that concerns the long-term rate of conventional oil (and other fossil fuel) extraction and depletion. It predicts that future world oil production will soon reach a peak and then rapidly decline.

petroleum

a hydrocarbon that forms as sediments are buried and pressurized.

photovoltaic cell (PV cell)

a semiconductor device that converts the energy of sunlight into electric energy

potential energy

energy at rest, or stored energy

proven reserve

an estimate of the amount of fossil fuel that can be obtained from reserve

radiant energy

sunlight

scrubbers

devices containing alkaline substances that precipitate out much of the sulfur dioxide from industrial plants.

Second Law of Thermodynamics

says that the entropy of the universe is increasing. On corollary of this law is the concept that, in most energy transformations, a significant fraction of energy is lost to the universe as heat

strip mining

involves the removal of the Earth's surface all the way down to the level of the mineral seam.

subbituminous

the third purest form of coal

underground mining

involves the sinking of shafts to reach underground deposoits. In this type of mining, networks of tunnels are dug or blasted and humans enter these tunnels in order to manually retrieve the coal.

wind farm

a group of modern windmills

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