Exploration of Energy Resources
Energy consists of many types of categories:
* Sound Energy
* Heat Energy
* Light Energy
* Electrical Energy
* Kinetic Energy
* Chemical Energy
* Nuclear Energy
* Gravitational Potential Energy
* Elastical Potential Energy
The conservation of energy law states:
It is not possible to create or destroy energy. What disappears in one
form must re-appear in another.
What are energy resources
Energy resources occur in many different states, renewable and
non-renewable. There are, fossil fuels, which consists of oil, gas and
coal. There are also resources that generate electrical energy
is then transferred into the energy needed. Examples of these are,
hydroelectric power; wind power; geothermal energy and more, later
discussed in this project.
I mentioned these words previously: Renewable and Non-renewable. What
do they mean? Well, it is very simple.
Renewable means when energy resources are being replaced constantly,
like solar power, we never run out of the sun.
Non-renewable means when energy resources cannot be replaced easily
and quickly, like fossil fuels, they take millions of years to be
I am sure any one would think if we have renewable sources
then why use fossil fuels, well I think you might be surprised how
much oil some countries use. Later on in the project I think you might
see the rate of reliability when using renewable sources.
I will now explain to you the different types of energy resources and
the advantages and disadvantages involved.
Solar power is energy that is produced by our sun. It is the oldest
and most efficient form of renewable energy.
The first and probably most important way is the ability of the sun to
produce electricity. This is achieved by the use of photovoltaic
These panels are primarily made out of silicon, phosphorus and boron.
When the sun's rays strike the panels, the combination of these
materials produces electricity. This electricity is sent to a battery
where it is stored for use. The stored energy can be used to operate
computers, lights, televisions, heaters, air conditioners, cars and
even video games. And this all occurs without any damage to our
Another way the sun can be used is to heat water. This simple and
efficient way of using the sun is called solar thermal technology. It
can and is used to heat water for schools and homes and produce
electricity for power companies.
When the sun's rays hit certain types of materials such as copper and
aluminium, they become very hot. Lining containers with copper and
aluminium can produce very high temperatures. As water flows through
these containers it is heated. This heated water can be used for pool
water, shower water or to heat homes.
Solar power is used to produce electrical energy, heat energy and
generate electrical energy through turning turbines by steam
If the water is heated long enough it will boil, producing steam. This
steam can be used to turn a turbine, which can produce electricity.
This is also another use for solar power.
* Does not run out quickly and easily so it is renewable
* Solar power can be used to heat things instead of burning coal to
* It is free
* No fuel needed and it does not give off any waste or pollution
· Does not work at night
· Very expensive to produce solar power stations
· Can be unreliable unless in a sunny climate
Geothermal energy is the natural heat of the earth stored deep below
the earth's surface. The energy is found near areas where volcanic
activity has taken place, either recently or many years ago. It can be
in the form of steam, hot liquid, or hot dry rock. Wells drilled deep
into the ground bring steam and hot water to the surface.
We do not have enough hot springs on the earth's surface and many of
the wells have run dry in a short period.
Geothermal energy is the earths heat. It rises as steam, which is used
to turn generators to make electricity.
* Geothermal energy can be used instead of fossil fuels to produce
electricity. Replacing fossil fuels will reduce the amount of air
pollutants, which can cause acid rain and contribute to global
* Geothermal energy is believed to exist in large amounts. It does
not have to be imported
* Use of geothermal energy as a source of electricity will help
reduce the dependence on fossil fuels for electrical power
* In some places direct-use geothermal heat has been used
successfully to aid agricultural production; to dry lumber, fruits
and vegetables; and to assist certain manufacturing processes.
* Geothermal wells are sometimes vented for a few hours to clear the
well and pipe lines resulting in a temporary release of steam and
abated gases. Such events can be noisy for a short time. Some
continuous low-level noise is also generated during normal power
* There are not enough springs on the earths surface
* They dry up in a short period of time
The springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming and
examples of geothermal sites.
Wing power turns the turbines generating electricity.
Wind is the natural movement of air across the land or sea. Wind is
caused by uneven heating and cooling of the earth's surface and by the
earth's rotation. Land and water areas absorb and release different
amount of heat received from the sun. As warm air rises, cooler air
rushes in to take its place, causing local winds. The rotation of the
earth changes the direction of the flow of air. Surface features such
as mountains and valleys can change the direction and speed of strong
winds. Wind power is harnessing the wind with turbines to produce
mechanical power or electricity.
* Wind is a renewable energy resource. Wind patterns in Hawaii
provide strong, steady trade winds in specific areas throughout
most of the year.
* Used as a "fuel," wind is free and non-polluting, producing no
emissions or chemical wastes.
* Use of wind power as a source of electricity will help reduce the
usage of fossil fuels.
* Wind power can be used with battery storage or pumped hydro-energy
storage systems to provide a steady flow of energy.
* Wind power is a proven technology and has been used to generate
electricity for many years.
* Equipment for wind machines is commercially available.
* Wind machines must be located where strong, dependable winds are
available most of the time.
* Because winds do not blow strongly enough to produce power all the
time, energy from wind machines is considered "irregular," it
comes and goes. Therefore, electricity from wind machines must
have a back-up supply from another source.
* Wind towers and turbine blades are subject to damage from high
winds and lighting. Rotating parts which are located high off the
ground can be difficult and expensive to repair.
* Electricity produced by wind power sometimes varies in voltage and
power factor, which can cause difficulties in linking its power to
a utility system.
* The noise made by rotating wind machine blades can be annoying to
Nuclear fission produces steam to generate electricity
Nuclear energy is released in two ways: Fission and Fusion. Fission is
responsible for the atom bomb and fusion provides energy for the stars
and the sun for heat hydrogen bomb. It is generated with radioactive
fuel and uses the thermal energy released by nuclear fission to
generate steam, which in turn generates electricity by turning the
· It is reasonably cheep
· Makes very little air pollution
· Do not emit green house gases so it is not responsible for global
· Produce radioactivity, which is bad for health
· Occasional worries about leaks
· Problems about the disposal of waste
Biomass consists of growing plants or the remains of growing things.
Examples of biomass include trees, grasses, agricultural and food
processing wastes, manure, ocean plants, and even garbage. Biomass
serves as an important fuel for wood and paper product industries as
well as for farm power and food processing facilities. Power plants in
some states, such as Maine and New York, use biomass as a fuel source.
Biomass may also be converted into liquid fuels such as methanol,
ethanol, and biomass-based diesel substitutes for automobiles and
other vehicles. Brazil operates about 40% of its vehicles on ethanol.
Biomass is basically fuel.
· Biomass is readily available and can be continuously produced as a
· Growing biomass crops produce oxygen and use carbon dioxide
· Growing plants recaptures carbon dioxide, which is released when
biomass fuel is burned
· Burning causes air pollution
· A very inefficient method of providing energy
Hydropower controls the energy in moving water to produce electricity
or operate machinery. The force of falling water or flowing streams
spins a turbine. The turbine then turns a generator, which produces
electricity. Pumped storage hydropower plants pump water back up from
a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir where it is stored and then
periods to meet peak power demands.
· Clean and readily available in most countries
· Water may be sorted in reservoirs so that its use can be controlled
· A cheap way to produce electricity
· Has other benefits: reservoirs often provide leisure facilities
· Can have an environmental impact. Large dams and reservoirs change
the landscape, with many dams being built in spectacular mountain
scenery. Roads often have to be built to provide access. River
wildlife may also be affected, and large reservoirs create their own
· Only effective where there is sufficient water supply
· Many of the best and cheapest locations for dams have already been
Tidal power and wave power
The key difference between tidal power and wave power is the wave
power is air driven and not turned by water. When high tide comes in,
waves pass through a generator; turbines in tidal power stations
generate electricity. A barrier constructed across a river or beach,
traps the water as the tide comes in. As the tide goes out, a gate on
the barrier is lifted allowing the water to flow out. The flow of
water again turns the turbines to power the generators in the power
Tidal and Wave power mainly generates electricity
* It reduces the dependence upon fossil fuels
* Tidal and wave energy is free, renewable, and clean source of
* Tidal and wave energy consumption creates no liquid or solid
* Highly efficient resource (compared with coal and oil at 30%,
tidal power efficiency about 80%)
* Energy capturing and conversion mechanism may help protect the
* Energy capturing and conversion mechanism have little visual
* About 60 billion watts of energy from tides can be used for
* Tides are active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
* Construction of strong, cheap and efficient conversion devices may
* Technology isn't fully developed
* Problems exist with the transportation of hydroelectricity
* Ecological impacts relating to the alteration of tides and waves
is not fully understood
* Appropriate waves and tides are highly location dependent
* Waves are a diffuse energy source, irregular in direction,
durability and size
* Extreme weather can produce waves of great intensity
Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy sources. They are usually in the
form of oil, coal and gas, which are burnt to produce power, mainly
heat. The heat then produces steam, which is used to turn the
generators to produce electricity.
Fossil Fuels are burnt to produce heat, which is used to produce
steam, which generates electricity
* They are available at a relatively cheap price
* They can be transported easily
* They have a high energy value
· Many engines are designed to use petroleum
* They are non-renewable
* Burning of fossil fuels causes serious air pollution
* The price of fossil fuels may be controlled by a few countries