Sources Of Energy Sources of Energy Have you ever thought about how we get the energy to run the things we take for granite every single day. There are many sources of energy that that are used for transportation, heat, light, and the manufacturing of goods of all kinds. The development of science and civilization is closely linked to the availability of energy in useful forms. The seven main energy sources are fossil fuels, hydroelectric, solar power, win power, geothermal, nuclear power, and biomass energy. By harnessing the sun, wind, falling water, plant matter, and heat from the earth, energy planners expect to decrease the environmental impact on energy use. Most of the nonhydro renewable power comes through some form of combustion, such as the burning of biomass, landfill gas, or municipal solid waste. Little electricity comes from solar, wind, and geothermal sources.
Factors that are increasing interest in renewable energy include cost advantages in niche markets, regulatory pressures, customer service requirements, fuel flexibility, and security. One of the biggest source of energy is fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have served as a reliable source of heat for cooking and warmth since the beginning of history. The common fossil fuels are coal, peat, lignite, petroleum, and natural gas. Coal gas, coke, water gas, and producer gas can be made by using coal as the principal ingredient.
These such artificial gases can be used for fuel, illuminant, and a source material for the manufacturing of synthetic ammonia. Gasoline, kerosene, and fuel oil are made from petroleum. They are mainly used for transportation if the fuel is used in a liquid form. Natural gas is a natural mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons found from the ground or obtained from specially driven wells. The composition of natural gas varies in different localities.
It is used extensively as an illuminant and a fuel. Some geologists theorize that natural gas is a by-product of decaying vegetable matter in underground strata. Others think it may be primordial gases that rise up from the mantle. Natural gas was known to the ancients but was considered by them to be a supernatural phenomenon because it appeared as a mysterious fire bursting from the ground. Gas is also a fossil fuel. It is a gaseous substance that burns in the air and releases enough heat to be useful as a fuel.
It is advantageous if a fuel gas is readily transportable through pipes and is easily liquefied. Oil gas is a type of gas made by applying heat to various petroleum distillates. Its principal use is as a supplement to natural gas during periods of heavy demand. Coal gas may be any of a variety of gases produced by heating coal in the absence of air and driving off the volatile constituents. It is not as high in fuel value as other gases and often contains tars, light oils, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide. These common fuels are used in industry, transportation, and the home are burned in the air.
Scientists research and develop alternatives to gasoline every single day. One possible alternative is methanol, which can be produced from wood, coal, or natural gas. Another possibility is ethanol. Ethanol is an alcohol produced from grain and currently used in some types of US gasoline. A example of this is gasohol. It is a compressed natural gas, which is much less polluting than gasoline and is currently used by a half-million vehicles around the world.
Petroleum is a fossil fuel thought to have been formed over millions of years from incompletely decayed plant and animal remains buried under thick layers of rock. The widespread burning of petroleum products as fuels has resulted in serious problems of air pollution. Oil spilled from tankers and offshore wells has damaged ocean and coastline environments. The environmentally disruptive effects of oil wells have sometimes led to strong opposition to new drilling, as in wilderness areas of Northern Alaska. Most of the energy consumed is ultimately generated by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. The world has only a finite supply of these fuels, which are in danger of being used up.
Also the combustion of these fuels releases various pollutants, such as monoxide and sulfur dioxide, which pose health risks and may contribute to acid rain and global warming. Environmentalists have become increasingly alarmed in the latter half of the 20th century at the widespread destruction imposed on sensitive wild lands during the exploration. Some examples of these wild lands are the tropical rainforests, the arctic tundra, and coastal marshes. Hydroelectric power is an important source of energy. Hydroelectric power or water power is a mechanical energy derived from falling or flowing water, such as rivers, streams, and the overflow of dams. Water flowing from a higher level to a lower level (a dam or waterfall) is used to activate a turbine that drives an electric generator.
The amount of power furnished is proportional to the rate of flow of water and the vertical distance through which it falls. During high demands the facility produces electricity by using the water that flows down the reservoir. A dam is a barrier to hold back water. They are commonly across a watercourse and often forming a reservoir or lake. Dams are made of timber, rock, earth, masonry, or concrete or of combinations of these materials.
Timber is used in dams because timbers are impermanent and their height is limited. Rock dams consist of an embankment of loose rock with either a core impervious to water or a watertight face on the upstream side. Earth dams may be either simple embankments of earth or embankments reinforced with a center of cement. Masonry and concrete dams are either gravity dams or arch dams. Gravity dams are dependent upon their own weight for resistance to the pressure of the water. Arched dams are curved upstream and are usually constructed in narrow canyons or gorges where the rocky side walls are strong enough to withstand the tremendous lateral thrust of the dam that is caused by the pressure of the water.
Most dams are constructed for multiple purposes. To provide for irrigation, to aid flood control and help improve the navigability of waterways, and especially to furnish power for hydroelectric plants. Some dams built to provide hydroelectric power include the Aswan dam and the Itaipu Dam. The Aswan High Dam is one of the world’s largest dams. It is located on the Nile River in Egypt. The dam is 4 miles long, 375 feet high and 11,811 feet long. The dam has a hydroelectricity capacity of 10 billion kWh.
The downfalls of hydroelectric is that is it is a very expensive project to build these such dams. Most of the energy consumed from the dams can only be used within 100 mile radius. The last downfall is that you have to have a large body of water to have a dam, therefore many areas of the world don’t have these bodies of water. Another source of energy is solar power. The earth receives huge amounts of energy every day from the sun, but the problem has been harnessing this energy so that it is available at the appropriate time and in the appropriate form. Solar power or solar energy is only received during the daylight hours, but more heat and electricity for lighting are needed at night. Solar energy is expected to become a more viable and competitive source of energy by the end of the 20th century.
Several solar thermal power plants are now in operation in California, but they are not yet able to compete with conventional power plants on an economic basis. Some forms of solar energy are light, radio waves, and X rays. Solar energy is needed by green plants for the process of photosynthesis. It is the ultimate source of most foods. Natural collection of solar energy occurs in the earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and plant life.
The photovoltaic cell is a semiconductor diode that converts light to electric current. When light strikes the exposed active surface, it knocks electrons loose from their sites in the crystal. Practical photovoltaic cells are currently about 10 to 15% efficient. Solar cells have long been used to provide electric power for spacecraft. One important solar energy application concentrators is a solar furnace. They are ideal for research requiring high …