FC: Alternative Energy Sources Scheman P3 Emily Bauer Wendy Ballard Josh Duncan Skye Martin Zach Markert
1: Table of Contents Pg. 2-3: Hydrogen Energy Pg. 4-5: Wind Energy Pg. 6-7: Hydro-Electric Energy Pg. 8-9: Nuclear Energy Pg. 10-11: Geothermal Energy Pg. 12-13: Solar Energy Pg. 14-15: Biomass Energy Pg. 17: Works Cited Page
2: WOW: Hydrogen is the most abundant element. About 75% of the element mass of the universe is hydrogen.
3: Hydrogen Energy Hydrogen is the simplest element. It is also the most plentiful in the universe. Hydrogen is stored as chemical energy in fossil fuels. Most of the energy we use today originally came from the sun's radiant energy. Hydrogen has the highest energy content of any common fuel by weight (about three times more than gasoline), but the lowest energy content by volume (about four times less than gasoline). Hydrogen is not currently widely used, but it has potential as an energy carrier in the future. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of resources (water, fossil fuels, or biomass) and is a byproduct of other chemical processes. Hydrogen fuel cells make electricity. They are very efficient, but expensive to build. Small fuel cells can power electric cars. Large fuel cells can provide electricity in remote places with no power lines. Because of the high cost to build fuel cells, large hydrogen power plants won't be built for a while. However, fuel cells are being used in some places as a source of emergency power, from hospitals to wilderness locations. There are many pros and cons for using hydrogen as an alternative energy source to electricity. The pros are that hydrogen is almost completely pollution free, which means a cleaner and healthier environment, and that hydrogen is recyclable. The biggest con for using hydrogen is in the way that it is stored. If the hydrogen leaked into the environment, it could lead to a disastrous effect on the ozone layer.
4: WOW: The Babylonians and Chinese were using wind power to pump water for irrigating crops 4,000 years ago.
5: Wind Energy The Sun heats our atmosphere unevenly, so some patches become warmer than others. These warm patches of air rise, other air blows in to replace them - and we feel a wind blowing. We can use the energy in the wind by building a tall tower, with a large propeller on the top. The wind blows the propeller round, which turns a generator to produce electricity. The best places for wind farms are in coastal areas, at the tops of rounded hills, open plains and gaps in mountains - places where the wind is strong and reliable. Some are offshore. To be worthwhile, you need an average wind speed of around 25 km/h. The pros of using wind as an alternative energy source is that it's free and wind farms need no fuel. It produces no waste or greenhouse gases. The land beneath can usually still be used for farming. Wind farms can be tourist attractions. Wind is also a good method of supplying energy to remote areas. The cons are that the wind is not always predictable - some days have no wind. Another con is that suitable areas for wind farms are often near the coast, where land is expensive. Some people feel that covering the landscape with these towers is unsightly. Windmills can kill birds - migrating flocks tend to like strong winds. Also, wind can affect television reception if you live nearby.
6: WOW: Nowadays there are many hydro-electric power stations, providing around 20% of the world's electricity.
7: Hydro-Electric Energy A dam is built to trap water, usually in a valley where there is an existing lake. Water is allowed to flow through tunnels in the dam, to turn turbines and thus drive generators. Notice that the dam is much thicker at the bottom than at the top, because the pressure of the water increases with depth. Hydro-electric power stations can produce a great deal of power very cheaply. Although there are many suitable sites around the world, hydro-electric dams are very expensive to build. Gravitational potential energy is stored in the water above the dam. Because of the great height of the water, it will arrive at the turbines at high pressure, which means that we can extract a great deal of energy from it. The water then flows away down river as normal. Once the dam is built, the energy is virtually free. No waste or pollution produced. Much more reliable than wind, solar or wave power.Hydro-electric power stations can increase to full power very quickly, unlike other power stations. Electricity can be generated constantly. The dams are very expensive to build. However, many dams are also used for flood control or irrigation, so building costs can be shared. Building a large dam will flood a very large area upstream, causing problems for animals that used to live there. Finding a suitable site can be difficult - the impact on residents and the environment may be unacceptable. Water quality and quantity downstream can be affected, which can have an impact on plant life.
8: WOW: Nuclear power has cost this country over $492,000,000,000 -- nearly twice the cost of the Viet Nam War and the Apollo Moon Missions combined.
9: Nuclear Energy Changes can occur in the structure of the nuclei of atoms. These changes are called nuclear reactions. Energy created in a nuclear reaction is called nuclear energy, or atomic energy. Nuclear energy is produced naturally and in man-made operations under human control. Some nuclear energy is produced naturally. For example, the Sun and other stars make heat and light by nuclear reactions. Machines called nuclear reactors, parts of nuclear power plants, provide electricity for many cities. Man-made nuclear reactions also occur in the explosion of atomic and hydrogen bombs. The advantages of using nuclear energy are that the Earth has limited supplies of coal and oil and nuclear power plants could still produce electricity after coal and oil become scarce. Nuclear power plants need less fuel than ones which burn fossil fuels. Coal and oil burning plants pollute the air while one ton of uranium produces more energy than is produced by several million tons of coal or several million barrels of oil. The disadvantages of using nuclear energy are that nuclear explosions produce radiation. The nuclear radiation harms the cells of the body which can make people sick or even kill them. Nuclear reactors also have waste disposal problems. Because they could kill people who touch them, they cannot be thrown away like ordinary garbage. Currently, many nuclear wastes are stored in special cooling pools at the nuclear reactors. Nuclear reactors only last for about forty to fifty years.
10: WOW: Geothermal energy is an extremely efficient (almost 100 %) energy source where only real source of losing energy is from turbine friction.
11: Geothermal Energy Hot rocks underground heat water to produce steam. Holes are drilled down to the hot region, steam comes up, then it is purified and used to drive turbines, which drive electric generators. Water is pumped down an "injection well", filters through the cracks in the rocks in the hot region, and comes back up the "recovery well" under pressure. It "flashes" into steam when it reaches the surface. The steam may be used to drive a turbo generator, or passed through a heat exchanger to heat water to warm houses. The steam must be purified before it is used to drive a turbine, or the turbine blades will get "furred up" be ruined. The advantages of using geothermal energy are that geothermal energy does not produce any pollution, and does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. Also, the power stations do not take up much room, so there is not much impact on the environment and no fuel is needed. Once a geothermal power station is built, the energy is free. The disadvantages of using geothermal energy are that there are not many places where a geothermal power station can be built. Hot rocks of a suitable type are needed, at a depth that's easy to drill down to. Sometimes a geothermal site may "run out of steam", perhaps for decades. Hazardous gases and minerals may come up from underground, and can be difficult to safely dispose of.
12: WOW: Just the tiny fraction of the Sun's energy that hits the Earth (around a hundredth of a millionth of a percent) is enough to meet all our power needs many times over.
13: Solar Energy There are three main ways that we use the sun's energy: solar cells, solar water heating, and solar furnaces. Solar cells are used to convert light directly into electricity. In a sunny climate, one square meter of solar panel can generate enough power to run a 100W light bulb. Solar water heating is where heat from the Sun is used to heat water in glass panels on someone's roof. This way of heating is used so that less gas or electricity is used in the home. Solar furnaces use a large array of mirrors to concentrate the Sun's energy into a small space and produce very high temperatures. It can achieve temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Celsius. In some countries, solar furnaces are used to cook food. The pros of using solar energy is that free, it needs no fuel, and produces no waste or pollution. In sunny countries, solar power can be used where there is no easy way to get electricity to a remote place. Solar energy is also handy for low-power uses such as solar powered garden lights and battery chargers. The cons of using solar energy is that it doesn't work at night or in climates that are not sunny enough. It is also very expensive to build solar power stations, although the cost is coming down as technology improves. In the meantime, solar cells cost a great deal compared to the amount of electricity they'll produce in their lifetime.
14: WOW: Garbage, often called municipal solid waste (MSW), is the source of about 12% of the total biomass energy consumed in the United States.
15: Biomass Energy Biomass energy is creating energy by burning organic materials. When burned, the chemical energy in biomass is released as heat. Biomass is a renewable energy source because we can always grow more trees and crops, and waste will always exist. Some examples of biomass fuels are wood, crops, manure, and some garbage.Wood was once our main fuel. It still provides a small percentage of the energy we use, but its importance as an energy source is dwindling. Burning biomass is not the only way to release its energy. Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy, such as methane gas or transportation fuels, like ethanol and biodiesel. The advantages of using biomass are that it makes sense to use waste materials and the fuel is cheap. Also, there is less demand on the fossil fuels. The disadvantages of using biomass are that collecting or growing the fuel in sufficient quantities can be difficult and when the organic material is burned, it makes greenhouse gases just like fossil fuels do. Another disadvantage is that some waste materials are not available all year round. A bigger challenge is the disposal of the ash after combustion. Ash can contain high concentrations of various metals that were present in the original waste. Textile dyes, printing inks, and ceramics, for example, contain the metals lead and cadmium.
16: Works Cited Page "EIA Energy Kids - Hydrogen." U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis. Web. 20 Jan. 2011.
17: "Geothermal Energy." Geothermal Education Office. Web. 21 Jan. 2011.