3 What do renewable and non-renewable mean? Energy resources can be classified into two groups.RenewableNon-renewableRenewable energy resources can be replaced or regenerated and will never run out (at least not for a very long time).Photo credit (left): Energy Northwest/DOE/NRELTurbine installation at the Nine Canyon Wind Project; largest wind farm to be built in Washington State.Photo credit (right): Warren Gretz/NOE/NRELCherokee Station coal-powered plant, Denver, Colorado.Non-renewable energy resources will eventually run out – once used they cannot be used again.Examples: wind and solar.Examples: coal and oil.
4 Spot the energy resources How many different energy resources are part of this scene?Teacher notesThis illustration could be used to start a discussion about energy resources.Renewable energy resources shown in this scene are:wind, wave and tidal power at sea;hydroelectric dam in the mountains;wind turbines inland;solar panels on the roof of the farmhouse;forest, hay and animal dung to represent biofuel.Non-renewable energy resources shown in this scene are:oil rig at sea;coal mine in the background;nuclear power station (which does not have a chimney).
5 Non-renewable or renewable? Teacher notesAppropriately coloured voting cards could be used with this classification activity to increase class participation.
7 The total amount of fossil fuels available is limited and so What are fossil fuels?Industrial societies need a lot of energy and, at the moment, rely on fossil fuels as the main source of this energy.Coal, oil and natural gas are fossil fuels. They are carbon-based materials that formed over millions of years from the remains of ancient plants and animals.Fossil fuels are so useful because they contain stored chemical energy, which is converted into large amounts of useful heat energy when the fuels are burned.The total amount of fossil fuels available is limited and sothey are classed as non-renewable energy resources.
9 What happens in a coal/oil power station? Teacher notesThis four-stage interactive animation illustrates how a coal or oil power station works. While viewing the animation, students could be asked to identify the energy transfers that are taking place.
10 Energy changes in a coal/oil power station Teacher notesThis drag and drop activity could be used as a plenary exercise to check students’ ability to identify the energy changes that occur in a coal or oil power station. Class voting or the use of traffic light cards could be used to make this a whole class activity.
11 Stages in a coal power station – activity Teacher notesThis ordering activity could be used as a plenary or revision exercise on how a coal power station works. Mini-whiteboards could be used to make this a whole-class exercise.
13 What is the greenhouse effect? Teacher notesThis four-stage interactive animation could be used to explain how the greenhouse effect works.While showing the animation it is important to highlight the longer wavelength of the infrared that is emitted by the Earth. It is this radiation that is partially absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, raising the temperature of the atmosphere.See the Chemistry “Climate Change” presentation for more information about the greenhouse effect.
15 Should we use nuclear power? Teacher notesThis voting activity enables the individual opinions of the class to be represented graphically. It could be used as a precursor to a debate on the use of nuclear power.
17 What happens in nuclear power station? Teacher notesThis four-stage interactive animation illustrates how a nuclear power station works. While viewing this animation, students could be asked to identify the energy transfer that are taking place. The similarities and differences between a nuclear power station and a coal or oil power station could also be discussed.
18 What waste does nuclear power produce? Nuclear power stations produce radioactive waste.The used nuclear fuel contains some uranium, which can be separated from the waste and reused.It also contains plutonium, which is a highly-radioactive product of the fission reactions that occur in uranium nuclear fuel.New reactors that use this waste product as a fuel have been built.However, plutonium is also used in the construction of nuclear bombs and poses a very serious threat if it gets into the wrong hands.
19 Where can nuclear waste be stored? Nuclear waste that cannot be reused poses serious problems as it can remain radioactive for thousands of years.Highly radioactive waste can be turned into glass to help stabilize it and prevent leaks during storage.One solution is to bury the waste deep underground.This must be in a geologically stable environment, so there are few suitable sites.Photo credit: US Department of Energy/Science Photo LibraryUnderground storage of radioactive wastes. This is one of the chambers of the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), 700 metres below ground. WIPP is a research project to determine the suitability of the local salt rocks as a storage site for highly-radioactive transuranic waste from atomic power stations. Such waste materials may have radioactive half-lives of thousands of years, and so must be isolated in a geologically stable environment. On the left is an experiment testing the design of containers carrying vitrified waste. The mine is located near Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA.Another suggested solution is to dump radioactive waste at the bottom of the sea. Dealing with nuclear waste isexpensive and any solution has to be long term.
21 How quickly can electricity be produced? The demand for electricity varies depending on the time of day and time of year. Power stations have to cope with this.Power stations cannot be turned on at the flick of a switch. These are typical start-up times for power stations that use non-renewable energy resources.1 hour4 hours7 hoursnatural gasoilcoalnuclear power48 hoursType of fuelStart-up timeNatural gas power stations produce electricity quickly.Nuclear power stations take about two days to reach full power. They are only shut down for maintenance.Which type of power is useful when extra power is neededfor a short time?
22 How long can non-renewable energy last? Non-renewable energy resources will eventually run out.25-30 yearsabout 75 yearsabout 300 yearsnatural gasoilcoalnuclear powerthousands of yearsType of fuelTime until reserves run outScientists think that natural gas reserves will only last another years.It is difficult to be exact as new gas fields are still being discovered.Even though nuclear fuel will last thousands of years, there is still a limited supply and so it will eventually run out.This is why nuclear power is classed as a non-renewableenergy resource.
23 Fossil fuels: what are the pros and cons? What are the advantages and disadvantages of burning fossil fuels in power stations to generate electricity?Advantagesof fossil fuelsDisadvantagesreadily availablenon-renewableeasily transportedacid rainlow fuel costgreenhouse effectlow building costsinefficientshort start-up times
24 Opinions about using fossil fuels Teacher notesThis citizens’ panel can be used to present a range of views on the use of fossil fuels, which could then lead into a small-group or whole class discussion about the subject. Further discussions could explore why people hold the views they do.There are no right or wrong answers for this activity.
25 Nuclear power: what are the pros and cons? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using nuclear power to generate electricity?Advantagesof nuclear powerDisadvantagescheaper to run once builtexpensive to buildconserves fossil fuelsnon-renewableno sulfur dioxide emissionsproduces radioactive wasteno carbon dioxide emissionsexpensive to decommissionsafe under normal conditionslinks with cancersmall amount of fuel usedso less transport neededrisk of disaster
26 Opinions about using nuclear power Teacher notesThis citizens’ panel can be used to present a range of views on the use of nuclear power, which could then lead into a small-group or whole class discussion about the subject. Further discussions could explore why people hold the views they do.There are no right or wrong answers for this activity.
27 Reporting about nuclear power Teacher NotesThis headline activity can be used to explore media reports about nuclear power. Students could get into groups and identify the bias in the headlines. They could then explore the reasons for the bias and perhaps predict what type of newspaper might run headlines like these. There are no right or wrong answers for this activity.
29 greenhouse effect – The trapping of heat from the Sun Glossary (1/2)acid rain – Rainwater that is more acidic than normal due to the release of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.fossil fuels – Carbon-based fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, that are formed over millions of years from the remains of ancient plants and animals.generator – A device used in power stations, which transforms kinetic energy into electrical energy.global warming – The increase in the temperature of the Earth, which some scientists think is causing climate change.greenhouse effect – The trapping of heat from the Sunby certain gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.greenhouse gas– A gas, such as carbon dioxide, that can trap heat from the Sun in the Earth’s atmosphere.
30 Glossary (2/2)nuclear fission – The splitting of an atomic nucleus, which releases large amounts of energy. In nuclear power stations, this process provides the heat used in generating electricity.nuclear fuel – Material, usually uranium, that undergoes nuclear fission and is the source of heat in nuclear power stations.non-renewable – An energy resource that cannot be replaced or used again and so will eventually run out.renewable – An energy source that can be replaced or regenerated and so will not run out.turbine – A device used in power stations, which is turned by the force of moving steam. It is connected by a shaft to a generator to produce electricity.
32 Non-renewable energy resources – summary Teacher notesThis completing sentences activity could be used as a plenary or revision exercise on non-renewable energy resources. Students could be asked to write down the missing words in their books and the activity could be concluded by the completion on the IWB.
33 Multiple-choice quiz Teacher notes This multiple-choice quiz could be used as a plenary activity to assess students’ understanding of non-renewable energy resources. The questions can be skipped through without answering by clicking “next”. Students could be asked to complete the questions in their books and the activity could be concluded by the completion on the IWB.