13 terms

ES Chapter 17 Nonrenewable Energy


Terms in this set (...)

Fossil fuels
Th remains of ancient organisms that changed into coal, oil, or natural gas. Are central to life in moderns societies. The supply of fossil fuels is limited. Obtaining and using fossil fuels causes environmental problems.
Electric generator
A machine that converts mechanical energy or motion, into electrical energy. Produce energy by moving an electrically conductive material within a magnetic field. Convert the movement of a turbine into electric energy.
A wheel that changes the force of a moving gas or liquid into energy that can do work. Water is boiled to produce the steam that turns the turbine. The water is heated by burning a fuel in coal-fired and gas-fired plants or is heated from the fission of uranium in nuclear plants. The turbine spins a generator to produce electricity.
Coal formation
Coal is formed from the remains of plants that lived in swamps hundreds of millions of years ago. Layers of sediments compressed the plant remains, and heat and pressure within the U.S. also formed from ancient swamps.
Oil and gas formation
Oil and natural gas result from the decay of tiny marine organisms that accumulated on the bottom of the ocean million of years ago. After these remains were buried, they were heated until they became complex energy-rich carbon-based molecules. Over time the molecules migrated into to porous rocks that now contain them.
Oil that is pumped from the ground. Also known as crude oil. Anything made from petroleum is called a petroleum product. Accounts for 45% of the world's commercial energy use.
Natural gas
Methane. CH4. More oil wells use natural gas.
Oil reserves
Oil deposits that can be extracted profitably at current prices using current technology.
Nuclear energy
Energy within the nucleus of an atom. The forces that hold together the nucleus of an atom are more than 1 million times stronger than the chemical bond of atoms. In power plants, atoms of uranium are used as fuel.
The nuclei of uranium atoms bombarded with atomic particles.
Nuclear fission
Collisions that cause the nuclei to split. Releases a lot of energy and more neutrons which collide with more uranium nuclei. Can cause an atomic bomb.
Nuclear reactor
Surrounded by thick pressure vessel that is filled with a cooling fluid. Is designed to contain the fission products in case of an accident. Metal fuel rods that contain solid uranium pellets are bombarded with neutrons. The chain reaction releases energy and produces more neutrons. The reactor core contains control rods that control the rate of fission in the reactor. They do this by absorbing neutrons, which prevents the neutrons from causing fission reactions in the uranium fuel. The heat released during the nuclear reactions is used to generate electricity in the same way that power plants burn fossil fuels. Energy released from the fission reaction heats a closed loop of water that heats another body of water. As the water boils, it produces steam that drives a steam turbine, which is used to generate electricity. Do not produce greenhouse gases.
Nuclear fusion
Occurs when lightweight atomic nuclei combine to form heavier nucleus and release tremendous amounts of energy. Powers all of the stars, including our sun. Safer energy than nuclear fission. Nuclei must be heated to 180,000,000 degrees F.