Connexions module: m16730
NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
University of California College Prep University of California This work is produced by The Connexions Project and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License †
Sucient, reliable sources of energy are a necessity for industrialized nations. Energy is used for heating, cooking, transportation and manufacturing. Energy can be generally classied as non-renewable and renewable..... 1 NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
Sucient, reliable sources of energy are a necessity for industrialized nations. Energy is used for heating, cooking, transportation and manufacturing. Energy can be generally classied as non-renewable and renewable. Over 85% of the energy used in the world is from non-renewable supplies. Most developed nations are dependent on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels (coal and oil) and nuclear power. These sources are called non-renewable because they cannot be renewed or regenerated quickly enough to keep pace with their use. Some sources of energy are renewable or potentially renewable. Examples of renewable energy sources are: solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and wind. Renewable energy sources are more commonly by used in developing nations. Industrialized societies depend on non-renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels are the most commonly used types of non-renewable energy. They were formed when incompletely decomposed plant and animal matter was buried in the earth's crust and converted into carbon-rich material that is useable as fuel. This process occurred over millions of years. The three main types of fossil fuels are coal, oil, and natural gas. Two other less-used sources of fossil fuels are oil shales and tar sands.
Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel in the world with an estimated reserve of one trillion metric tons. Most of the world's coal reserves exist in Eastern Europe and Asia, but the United States also has considerable reserves. Coal formed slowly over millions of years from the buried remains of ancient swamp plants. During the formation of coal, carbonaceous matter was rst compressed into a spongy material called "peat," which is about 90% water. As the peat became more deeply buried, the increased pressure and temperature turned it into coal. Dierent types of coal resulted from dierences in the pressure and temperature that prevailed during formation. The softest coal (about 50% carbon), which also has the lowest energy output, is called lignite. ∗ Version
1.2: Sep 25, 2009 12:50 pm GMT-5
Connexions module: m16730
Lignite has the highest water content (about 50%) and relatively low amounts of smog-causing sulfur. With increasing temperature and pressure, lignite is transformed into bituminous coal (about 85% carbon and 3% water). Anthracite (almost 100% carbon) is the hardest coal and also produces the greatest energy when burned. Less than 1% of the coal found in the United States is anthracite. Most of the coal found in the United States is bituminous. Unfortunately, bituminous coal has the highest sulfur content of all the coal types. When the coal is burned, the pollutant sulfur dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Coal mining creates several environmental problems. Coal is most cheaply mined from near-surface deposits using strip mining techniques. Strip-mining causes considerable environmental damage in the forms of erosion and habitat destruction. Sub-surface mining of coal is less damaging to the surface environment, but is much more hazardous for the miners due to tunnel collapses and gas explosions. Currently, the world is consuming coal at a rate of about 5 billion metric tons per year. The main use of coal is for power generation, because it is a relatively inexpensive way to produce power. Coal is used to produce over 50% of...
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