59 terms

AP Environmental Science (Energy)


Terms in this set (...)

Chapter 12
Once they're gone, there's no more
Fossil fuels
Derived from biological material that became fossilized millions of years ago. (Coal, Oil, Natural gas)
Nuclear Fuels
Derived from radioactive materials that give off energy
Commercial energy sources
Those that are bought and sold, (coal, oil, wood, etc)
Subsistence energy sources
Those gathered by individuals for their own immediate needs. More used in developing countries.
Energy Carrier
Something that can move and deliver energy into a convenient, usable form to end users.
Large device that will turn to spin a shaft of a generator which produces electricity.
Electrical Grid
Connects power plants together and links them with end users of electricity.
Combined Cycle
Natural gas-fired power plant. 2 turbines and generators. Natural gas is burned to spin a turbine and the waste heat will boil water which will turn another turbine.
Maximum Electrical output of a plant
Capacity Factor
Fraction of time a plant is operating.
Combined heat and power. Use of fuel to generate electricity and heat.
Solid fuel formed by remains of plants that were preserved at least 280 million years ago.
Widely used fossil fuel. Mixture of hydrocarbons, water and sulfur that occurs in underground deposits.
Crude Oil
Liquid petroleum that is removed from the ground. Oil=crude oil=petroleum
Oil Sands
Slow flowing viscous deposits of bitumen mixed with sand, water and clay.
(Tar/Pitch) Degraded type of petroleum that forms when a petroleum deposit is not capped with nonporous rock.
Coal to liquid. Process to make solid coal a liquid fuel
Energy Intensity
Total energy is increasing, but energy per person is staying constant.
Hubbert Curve (Dealing with Oil)
Peak Oil
Maximum amount of oil that can be extracted before it begins to decline.
Nuclear reaction in which a neutron strikes a relatively large atomic nucleus which then splits into 2 or more parts.
Fuel Rods
Containment structure enclosing the nuclear fuel which is contained in a cylindrical tube.
Control Rods
Cylindrical devices that can be inserted between the fuel rods to absorb excess neutrons. thus slowing and stopping the fission reaction.
Radioactive Waste
Waste after the nuclear fuel is used up and can't produce heat, but still emits radioactivity.
Becquerel (Bq)
Measures the rate at which a sample of radioactive material decays.
Another unit of measure for radiation. 37 billion decays per second.
Nuclear Fusion
Reaction that powers the Sun and other stars. Lighter nuclei are forced together to produce heavier nuclei. Lots of heat is generated.
Chapter 13
Once gone, no more. Oil Coal Nuclear
Potentially Renewable
As long as we do not consume them more quickly than can be replenished. Wood Biofuel
Solar, Wind, Hydro etc. Energy for all time.
Potentially Renewable and Nondepletable
Energy Conservation
Finding ways to use less energy
Tiered Rate System
Customers pay a low rate for the first increment of electricity they use and pay higher rates as their use goes up.
Peak Demand
Greatest quantity of energy used at any one time.
Passive Solar Design
Technique that takes advantage of solar radiation to maintain a comfortable temperature in a building.
Thermal Inertia
Ability of a material to retain heat or cold. Stay hot when heated or cold when cooled.
Biomass can be processed or refined into liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
Modern Carbon
Carbon in biomass
Fossil Carbon
Carbon in fossil fuels.
Carbon Neutral
An activity that does not change atmospheric CO2 concentrations
Net Removal
Removing more timber than is replaced by growth. Unsustainable practice -> Deforestation.
Alcohol. Made by converting starches and sugars from plant material into alcohol and CO2.
Flex-Fuel Vehicles
Can run on either gas or E-85 (85% ethanol, 15% gas) fuel.
Electricity generated by the kinetic energy of moving water. 2nd most common form of renewable energy.
Hydroelectricity generation, water behind a low dam and runs through a channel before returning to the river.
Water Impoundment
Storing water in a reservoir behind a dam. Allows for on demand electricity generation.
Tidal Energy
Comes from the movement of water. This is driven by the gravitational pull of the moon.
Active Solar Energy
Technologies capture the energy of sunlight with the use of technologies. Includes, Small scale solar water heating systems, photovoltaic solar cells etc.
Photovoltaic Solar Cells
Capture energy from the sun as light, not heat, and convert it directly to electricity.
Geothermal Energy
Heat that comes from the natural radioactive decay of elements deep within the earth.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Take advantage of the high thermal inertia of the ground.
Wind Energy
Widely used in some countries and making a comeback in others.
Wind Turbine
Converts kinetic energy of moving air into electricity.
Fuel Cell
Operates like a battery. This reaction happens in a closed container to which no additional elements are added.
Electric current is applied to water to split it into hydrogen and oxygen.
Smart grid
Efficient, Self-Regulating electricity distribution network that accepts any source of electricity and distributes it automatically to end users.