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Always available or renewed in a short period of time; easily replenished
plants, wood, animal waste, agricultural waste
carbohydrates made during photosynthesis can be released as energy!
Longer decay = more energy
- used to produce electricity, heat buildings, and mixed with gasoline to create gasohol that fuels cars!
2% of Americans burn wood as their only heat source
We can always grow more biomass
Biomass fuels can be produced in the USA
Burning biomass that is currently considered "waste" would reduce garbage sent to landfills
Difficult to store and transport due to decay
Burning biomass creates odors and other emissions
Moving water creates a force that powers turbine generators
First dam in the US was built in 1895 at Niagra Falls in New York
Norway produces 95% of its energy using hydropower
Cheapest way to generate electricity
Energy source is free!
Does not create pollution
Existing dams can be equipped with generator equipment
Reliable...you can store the water to use during any type of weather conditions
Domestic source of energy!
Initially expensive to build
Most dams do not have equipment to generate electricity (~76,000!)
Dams built to create the force for the turbine flood ecosystems and can disrupt the wildlife!
Dams also require flooding of thousands of acres of land
What is it?
Heat from within the Earth generates heat and electricity
Radioactive particles in rocks decay to produce huge amounts of heat energy
If you add water to the rocks, it generates steam
Where is it?
Hot springs, geysers, volcanoes
High or Low?
High temperature geothermal energy is generated for electricity....usually in western states
Low temperature energy is used to heat/cool homes...found everywhere!
Does little damage to the environment
Gases and chemicals from the energy are reabsorbed into the earth
Steam may contain chemicals that are harmful at high concentrations
Expensive to build and not available to all places in the country
What is wind power?
Air in motion due to uneven heating of Earth's surface creates wind
Wind farms harness this kinetic energy to generate electricity
Currently, US generates about 30% of the world's wind energy!
Most wind farms are operated by business owners and they sell the electricity to utility companies
Wind farms do not create air or water pollution
The land on wind farms can be used for agricultural purposes as well
Wind turbines can be located in isolated areas
Generate electricity at the same cost as coal plants!
The blades can injure animals
When the wind is not blowing, there is no power (they are functioning about 75% of the time)
Less than 1% of the Sun's radiant energy travels to Earth!
Make electricity - can be used to generate steam for turbines or converted directly to photovoltaic cells (they power our little blue calculators!)
Ability to store energy
Does not pollute the environment
Difficult to harness because the energy that reaches Earth is very spread out
Expensive to set-up!
The amount absorbed can depend on the weather, location, and even time of day!
Major supply of US energy
92% of US coal is used by utility companies for electricity
Very little is used for heating
What is coal?
Coal is a fossil fuel formed from decayed plant matter that has been under immense heat and pressure.
The US has the largest known coal reserves in the world! (about a 200 year supply)
Mine shafts can be used to get the coal from deep in the ground (no longer common)
Surface mining, where you remove layers of earth to uncover the coal is more common.
Abundant domestic supply
Methane gas in coal is another valuable resource
New technologies allow for cleaner, more efficient ways to burn coal
Surface mines can be restored to grasslands or parks once the coal is gone
We use coal thousands of times faster than it is produced
Coal produces many harmful gases that create acid rain or trap heat in the atmosphere
Water that filters through old mines becomes polluted with toxic chemicals
Large ecosystems are disrupted due to coal mining
The mines can be very dangerous for workers
Uranium: Nuclear Energy
Uranium is mined and then the atoms are split during nuclear fission to release the energy in the nucleus
The US is the number one producer of nuclear power...we use it for electricity!
104 nuclear power plants in the US
US has an abundant supply
Does not create air pollution because nothing is burned
Creates a lot of energy using a small supply of uranium
Inexpensive and easily transported
Radiation exposure, especially if there is an accident
Hot water run-off can increase local water sources and damage ecosystems
The US imports 90% of its nuclear energy
Radioactive waste is stored, cannot be disposed of
Expensive to build nuclear power plants
Leading source of energy - used primarily for transportation and industry
What is it?
Fossil fuel that takes millions of years to form!
Found in many areas, including the offshore in the ocean
Lots of regulation to protect the environment
New technology allows for less emission of toxic chemicals than in the past
Produces many toxic chemical emissions that lead to air pollution, acid rain formation, and other environmental hazards
There is only 50 year worldwide supply if consumption rates continue
US imports about half of its supply...so we are depending on other countries for a large portion of our energy!
Heating and a small amount for transportation
Methane is an odorless, colorless gas that can be refined to form propane (another energy resource)
44% of homes in the US use natural gas for heating
12% is imported from Canada
Cleanest burning fossil fuel
Usually found with petroleum and can be formed into other resources
Large supplies owned by the US in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas....domestic product
Has the potential to be a cleaner transportation fuel
Highly explosive if it leaks from the pipes
Must be processed to add an odorant for safety (otherwise you can't smell it if there is a leak)
Limited supply...100-200 year supply