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Transcript of Earth Science
Identify alternative energy resources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biofuels. A natural resource is something that we use that comes directly from Earth. A man made resource is something that we use that has been changed by a person. Natural resources can be divided into two main groups: Non-renewable resources Renewable resources A non-renewable resource is something that we use that comes directly from the Earth, but it can NOT be replaced within a lifetime. Once used, it takes millions of years to replace a non-renewable resource. Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources. Fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) were formed millions of years ago from the remains of once living organisms. Metals and minerals such as aluminum, iron, copper, and quartz are also non-renewable resources. Iron Ore Quartz A renwable resource is something we use that comes directly from the Earth and it CAN be replaced within a lifetime. Plants and animals can be made new again through reproduction of parent to offspring. The air can be made new again through the carbon dioxide - oxygen cycle. Water can be made new again through the water cycle. There is a special class of renewable resources that can never be completely used up. Solar energy, wind, and ocean tides are inexhaustible resources. Many of Earth's natural resources can be used to produce energy. Typically, we have depended on fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) to power our homes and our vehicles. However, pollution levels and the limited availability of these resources have prompted us to research and use other, alternative forms of energy. Energy Alternative Energy Instead of using fossil fuels, an alternative energy source is solar energy. Solar energy comes from the sun. Solar panels can collect the solar energy and transfer it into electricity. Solar energy is clean, since no fuels are burned. The sun provides an inexhaustible energy source. Wind is another alternative energy source. Wind energy comes from moving air. It is created when the sun heats the Earth. Today, we use windmills to generate electricity. The wind pushes on the blades, making them turn. These turbines are connected to generators that produce electricity. Windmills are a clean energy source. As long as the sun shines, there will be wind, an inexhaustible resource. Instead of burning fossil fuels, another alternative energy source is hydroelectricity. Hydro means water and hydroelectricity comes from moving water. Fast moving water or falling water can carry a lot of energy. Dams can be built to capture the energy from a river. The water is used to produce electricity. Hydroelectricity does not release pollution into the air or produce toxic waste. Water, a renewable resource, is made new again through the water cycle so it is a great alternative energy source. Geothermal energy is another example of an alternative energy source. Geothermal energy comes from heat deep under the ground. Geothermal energy can be captured as steam or hot water. These can be found at hot springs, geysers, and volcanoes. People use water heated by geothermal sources to warm buildings and generate electricity. Using geothermal energy is a very clean process. It uses water which is a renewable resource. Biofuels come from living materials. The most common sources of biofuels are trees, crops, manure, and garbage. One way to release the energy captured in biomass is by burning. All sorts of waste materials can be burned to create steam and electricity. Corncobs, manure, and household garbage are burned just like coal. Burning biomass can pollute the air but not as much as fossil fuels do. Biomass materials can also be changed into fuel. Biodiesel can be made from vegetable oils and animal fats. Ethanol is made from corn mixed with gasoline which makes a cleaner burning fuel. Since biofuels is made from plants and animals, it is a renewable resource. Earth's resources can be used to create many useful items and they are important to conserve. Conserving resources means we need to use them wisely and not waste them. Even renewable resources can be ruined and lost if we misuse them. Some ways to conserve our natural resources are to reduce (such as turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth), reuse (in the Science lab we reuse all sorts of materials over and over), and recycle (cans, plastic bags, and newspaper can all be made into new items). Plants and Trees Soil Water Rocks Metals Air Minerals Coal Oil Plants Animals Natural Gas Glass Paper Aluminum Cans Steel Plastic