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Nonrenewable Energy Resources Chapter 17

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1 Nonrenewable Energy Resources Chapter 17
Advanced Placement Environmental Science

2 1. Energy Resources 2. Oil 3. Natural Gas 4. Coal 5. Nuclear Energy

3 Energy Sources Modern society requires large quantities of energy that are generated from the earth’s natural resources. Primary Energy Resources: The fossil fuels(oil, gas, and coal), nuclear energy, falling water, geothermal, and solar energy. Secondary Energy Resources: Those sources which are derived from primary resources such as electricity, fuels from coal, (synthetic natural gas and synthetic gasoline), as well as alcohol fuels.

4 Thermodynamics The laws of thermodynamics tell us two things about converting heat energy from steam to work: 1) The conversion of heat to work cannot be 100 % efficient because a portion of the heat is wasted. 2) The efficiency of converting heat to work increases as the heat temperature increases.

5 Energy Units and Use BTU (British Thermal Unit) - amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 lb. of water by 1 ºF. cal (calorie) - the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 ºC. Commonly, kilocalorie (kcal) is used. 1 Btu = 252 cal = kcal 1 Btu = 1055 J (joule) = kJ 1 cal = J

6 Energy Units and Use Two other units that are often seen are the horsepower and the watt. These are not units of energy, but are units of power. 1 watt (W) = BTU/hour 1 horsepower (hp) = 746 W Watt-hour - Another unit of energy used only to describe electrical energy. Usually we use kilowatt-hour (kW-h) since it is larger. quad (Q) - used for describing very large quantities of energy. 1 Q = 1015 Btu

7 Evaluating Energy Resources
U.S. has 4.6% of world population and uses 24% of the world’s energy. 84% from nonrenewable fossil fuels (oil, coal, & natural gas). 7% from nuclear power. 9% from renewable sources (hydropower, geothermal, solar, biomass).

8 Changes in U.S. Energy Use

9 Energy resources removed from the Earth’s crust include: oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium.

10 Fossil Fuels Fossil fuels originated from the decay of living organisms millions of years ago, and account for about 80% of the energy generated in the U.S. The fossil fuels used in energy generation are: Natural gas, which is % methane (CH4) Liquid hydrocarbons obtained from the distillation of petroleum Coal - a solid mixture of large molecules with a H/C ratio of about 1

11 Problems with Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources. At projected consumption rates, natural gas and petroleum will be depleted before the end of the 21st century. Impurities in fossil fuels are a major source of pollution. Burning fossil fuels produce large amounts of CO2, which contributes to global warming.

12 2. Oil 1. Energy Resources 3. Natural Gas 4. Coal 5. Nuclear Energy

13 Oil Deposits of crude oil often are trapped within the earth's crust and can be extracted by drilling a well. Fossil fuel, produced by the decomposition of deeply buried organic matter from plants and animals. Crude oil: complex liquid mixture of hydrocarbons, with small amounts of S, O, N impurities. How Oil Drilling Works by Craig C. Freudenrich, Ph.D. – read the entire article on

14 Sources of Oil Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – 13 countries have 67% world reserves: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, & Venezuela Other important producers: Alaska, Siberia, & Mexico.


16 Oil in U.S. 2.3% of world reserves. Uses nearly 30% of world reserves.
65% for transportation. Increasing dependence on imports.


18 Low oil prices have stimulated economic growth, they have discouraged/prevented improvements in energy efficiency and alternative technologies favoring renewable resources.

19 Burning any fossil fuel releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and thus promotes global warming. Comparison of CO2 emitted by fossil fuels and nuclear power.


21 Oil Crude oil is transported to a refinery where distillation produces petrochemicals. How Oil Refining Works by Craig C. Freudenrich, Ph.D.



24 3. Natural Gas 1. Energy Resources 2. Oil 4. Coal 5. Nuclear Energy

25 Natural Gas - Fossil Fuel
Mixture 50–90% Methane (CH4) Ethane (C2H6) Propane (C3H8) Butane (C4H10) Hydrogen sulfide (H2S)

26 Sources of Natural Gas Russia & Kazakhstan - almost 40% of world's supply. Iran (15%), Qatar (5%), Saudi Arabia (4%), Algeria (4%), United States (3%), Nigeria (3%), Venezuela (3%). 90–95% of natural gas in U.S. domestic (~411,000 km = 255,000 miles of pipeline).

27 billion cubic meters


29 Natural Gas Experts predict increased use of natural gas during this century.


31 Natural Gas When a natural gas field is tapped, propane and butane are liquefied and removed as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The rest of the gas (mostly methane) is dried, cleaned, and pumped into pressurized pipelines for distribution. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be shipped in refrigerated tanker ships.


33 4. Coal 1. Energy Resources 2. Oil 3. Natural Gas 5. Nuclear Energy

34 Coal: Supply and Demand
Coal exists in many forms therefore a chemical formula cannot be written for it. Coalification: After plants died they underwent chemical decay to form a product known as peat. Over many years, thick peat layers formed. Peat is converted to coal by geological events such as land subsidence which subject the peat to great pressures and temperatures.



37 Ranks of Coal Anthracite : A hard, black lustrous coal, often referred to as hard coal, containing a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter. Energy content of about 14,000 Btu/lb. Bituminous: Most common coal and is dense and black (often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material). Its moisture content usually is less than 20 percent. Energy content about 10,500 Btu / lb. Subbituminous: Black lignite and is dull black and generally contains 20 to 30 percent moisture Energy content is 8,300 BTU/lb. Lignite: A brownish-black coal of low quality (i.e., low heat content per unit) with high inherent moisture and volatile matter. Energy content is lower than 4,000 BTU/lb.



40 Main Coal Deposits Bituminous Anthracite Subbituminous Lignite


42 Advantages and Disadvantages
Pros Most abundant fossil fuel. Major U.S. reserves. 300 years at current consumption rates. High net energy yield. Cons Dirtiest fuel, highest carbon dioxide. Major environmental degradation. Major threat to health. © Brooks/Cole Publishing Company / ITP

43 Sulfur in Coal When coal is burned, sulfur is released primarily as sulfur dioxide (SO2 - serious pollutant). Coal Cleaning - Methods of removing sulfur from coal include cleaning, solvent refining, gasification, and liquefaction. Scrubbers are used to trap SO2 when coal is burned. Two chief forms of sulfur are inorganic (FeS2 or CaSO4) and organic (Sulfur bound to Carbon).

44 Coal Coal gasification ® Synthetic natural gas (SNG)
Coal liquefaction ® Liquid fuels Disadvantage Costly High Environmental Impact

45 5. Nuclear Energy 1. Energy Resources 2. Oil 3. Natural Gas 4. Coal

46 Nuclear Energy In a conventional nuclear power plant:
a controlled nuclear fission chain reaction heats water produces high-pressure steam that turns turbines generates electricity.

47 Nuclear Energy Controlled Fission Chain Reaction
Neutrons split the nuclei of atoms such as of Uranium or Plutonium Release energy (heat)

48 Controlled Nuclear Fission Reaction


50 Radioactivity Radioactive decay continues until the the original isotope is changed into a stable isotope that is not radioactive. Radioactivity: Nuclear changes in which unstable (radioactive) isotopes emit particles & energy.

51 Radioactivity Types Sources of natural radiation
Alpha particles consist of 2 protons and 2 neutrons, and therefore are positively charged Beta particles are negatively charged (electrons) Gamma rays have no mass or charge, but are a form of electromagnetic radiation (similar to X-rays) Sources of natural radiation Soil Rocks Air Water Cosmic rays

52 Relative Doses from Radiation Sources

53 Half-Life The time needed for one-half of the nuclei in a radioisotope to decay and emit their radiation to form a different isotope. Half-time emitted Uranium million yrs alpha, gamma Plutonium yrs alpha, gamma During operation, nuclear power plants produce radioactive wastes, including some that remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years.

54 Diagram of Radioactive Decay

55 Effects of Radiation Genetic Damages: from mutations that alter genes.
Genetic defects can become apparent in the next generation. Somatic Damages: to tissue, such as burns, miscarriages, and cancers.


57 Radioactive Waste Low-level radiation (Gives off low amount of
Sources: nuclear power plants, hospitals, and universities. most was dumped into the ocean. Today deposited into landfills. High-level radiation (Gives off large amount of Fuel rods from nuclear power plants. Half-time of Plutonium 239 is 24,000 years. No agreement about a safe method of storage.

58 Radioactive Waste 1. Bury it deep underground.
Problems: i.e., earthquake, groundwater… 2. Shoot it into space or into the sun. Problems: costs, accident would affect large area. 3. Bury it under the Antarctic ice sheet. Problems: long-term stability of ice is not known, global warming. 4. Most likely plan for the US. Bury it into Yucca Mountain in desert of Nevada. Cost of over $ 50 billion. 160 miles from Las Vegas. Transportation across the country via train & truck.

59 Yucca Mountain EVR3019/Nuclear_Waste.ppt

60 Plutonium Breeding 238U is the most plentiful isotope of Uranium.
Non-fissionable - useless as fuel. Reactors can be designed to convert 238U into a fissionable isotope of plutonium, 239Pu.

61 Conversion of 238U to 239Pu Under appropriate operating conditions, the neutrons given off by fission reactions can "breed" more fuel, from otherwise non-fissionable isotopes, than they consume. Source: EVR3019/Nuclear_Waste.ppt

62 Reprocess Nuclear Fuel
During the operation of a nuclear reactor the uranium runs out. Accumulating fission products hinder the proper function of a nuclear reactor. Fuel needs to be (partly) renewed every year. Source:

63 Plutonium in Spent Fuel
Spent nuclear fuel contains many newly formed plutonium atoms. Miss out on the opportunity to split. Plutonium in nuclear waste can be separated from fission products and uranium. Cleaned Plutonium can be used in a different Nuclear Reactor. Source:


65 Nuclear Energy Concerns about the safety, cost, and liability have slowed the growth of the nuclear power industry. Accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island showed that a partial or complete meltdown is possible.

66 Nuclear Power Plants in U.S.

67 Three Mile Island March 29, 1979, a reactor near Harrisburg, PA, lost coolant water because of mechanical and human errors and suffered a partial meltdown. 50,000 people evacuated & another 50,000 fled area. Unknown amounts of radioactive materials released. Partial cleanup & damages cost $1.2 billion. Released radiation increased cancer rates.


69 Chernobyl April 26, 1986, reactor explosion (Ukraine) flung radioactive debris into atmosphere. Health ministry reported 3,576 deaths. Green Peace estimates32,000 deaths. About 400,000 people were forced to leave their homes. ~160,000 sq km (62,00 sq mi) contaminated. > Half million people exposed to dangerous levels of radioactivity. Cost of incident > $358 billion.



72 Nuclear Energy Nuclear plants must be decommissioned after years. New reactor designs are still proposed. Experimental breeder nuclear fission reactors have proven too costly to build and operate. Attempts to produce electricity by nuclear fusion have been unsuccessful.

73 Use of Nuclear Energy U.S. phasing out.
Some countries (France, Japan) investing is increasing. U.S. currently ~7% of energy is nuclear. No new U.S. power plants ordered since 1978. 40% of 105 commercial nuclear power plants expected to be retired by 2015 and all by 2030. North Korea is getting new plants from the US. France has 78% of energy from nuclear.

74 Phasing Out Nuclear Power
Multi-billion-$$ construction costs High operation costs Frequent malfunctions False assurances and cover–ups Overproduction of energy in some areas Poor management Lack of public acceptance

75 Energy & Mineral resources Energy

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