What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels? Oil, natural gas, and coal are currently abundant and relatively inexpensive, but using them causes air and water pollution, degrades large areas of land, and releases greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
Dependence on Oil Petroleum (crude oil) –Trapped underground or under ocean with natural gas –Fossil fuels Extraction –U.S. peak production-1970 (Hubbard’s Peak) Transportation Refining Petrochemicals
Asphalt Gases Lowest Boiling Point Highest Boiling Point Gasoline Aviation fuel Heating oil Diesel oil Heated crude oil Furnace Naphtha Grease and wax Science: refining crude oil. Components of petroleum are removed at various levels, depending on their boiling points, in a giant distillation column. The most volatile components with the lowest boiling points are removed at the top of the column.
How Long Will Crude Oil Supplies Last? Crude oil is the single largest source of commercial energy in world and U.S. Proven oil reserves –Can be extracted profitably at today’s prices with today’s technology –80% depleted between 2050 and 2100
Major Oil-Supplying Nations Control of oil reserves OPEC Distribution of proven reserves How long will conventional oil last?
2050 Year Barrels of oil per year (billions) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Projected U.S. oil consumption Arctic refuge oil output over 50 years 2000 2010202020302040 The amount of crude oil that might be found in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, if developed and extracted over 50 years, is only a tiny fraction of projected U.S. oil consumption. In 2008, the DOE projected that developing this oil would take 10–20 years and lower gasoline prices at the pump by at most 6 cents per gallon.
United States Oil Production and Use U.S. –93% of energy from fossil fuels –39% from crude oil –Produces 9% of world’s crude oil –Uses 25% of world production –Has 2% of proven crude oil reserves
What Happened to Nuclear Power? Optimism of 1950s is gone Comparatively expensive source of power No new plants in U.S. since 1978 Disposing of nuclear waste is difficult Three Mile Island (1979)
What Do We Do with Worn-Out Nuclear Power Plants? Decommissioning old nuclear power plants Dismantle power plant and store materials Install physical barriers Entomb entire plant
Renewable Energy Sustainability mostly depends on solar energy –Direct form: from the sun Indirect forms –Wind –Moving water –Biomass Geothermal
Photovoltaic (PV) or solar cells can provide electricity for a house or building using solar cell roof shingles, as shown in this house in Richmond Surrey, England. Solar-cell roof systems that look like a metal roof are also available. In addition, new thin-film solar cells can be applied to windows and outside walls.
Producing Electricity from Flowing Water Hydropower –Leading renewable energy source –Much unused capacity Dams and reservoirs –Turbines generate electricity –Eventually fill with silt Micro-hydro generators
Transition to a More Sustainable Energy Future Gradual shift from centralized macropower to decentralized micropower Greatly improved energy efficiency Temporary use of natural gas Decrease environmental impact of fossil fuels