What is energy production?
- How electrical energy is produced
- How magnets help in energy electrical production.
- How nonrenewable energy is produced.
- Natural Gas
- Greenhouse Effect
- How renewable energy is produced.
- How batteries produce electricity.
Magnets use in Electricity
All of the forces are in balances in most objects with half of the electrons distributed evenly and orbiting in one direction or force, and the other half distributed evenly in another direction or force. An object that does not have even scattering or distribution of electrons is the magnet. Most of the electron are on opposite ends of the magnet and orbiting in opposite directions. Imbalance forces are created between the ends or one pole the North (N) and the other end or pole the South (S). The electrons flow from the North Pole to the South Pole making a magnetic field. Magnets also repel like or the same charged particles(proton to proton), (electron to electron) if you put the same charged Pole together ( North to North), (South to South). Magnets also attract if you put the opposite Pole (North to South) together. The same as the opposite charge particles proton and electron attract each other.
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Coal makes over 50 % of the electricity in the United States because it is cheap and abundant. Coal, natural gas and oil are considered fossil fuels because they are chemical remains of old sea animals and plants. Coal is nonrenewable resource (cannot be made in a short amount of time) that developed from the remains of plants that lived in large swamps millions of years ago. Through pressure and heat the plant material chemically and physically changes to a product that has less oxygen and a higher concentration of hydrocarbon.
Underground and surface mining are the the ways coal is mined for usage. Coal goes from mining to a preparation plant for cleaning and then it is usually shipped by train to the power plants. Most coal in the U. S. is burned to heat water into steam. The power plants where the fossil fuel is burned are called thermal because they use heat energy. Coal burning produces emissions of carbon dioxide and sulfur. Power plants try to remove the sulfur by using low-sulfur coal (anthracite) and machines (scrubbers) to remove sulfur from the emissions. Sulfur can react with oxygen to produce sulfur dioxide, a chemical that can harm trees and water when it combines with water to make acid rain.
About 13 % of electricity in the United States is a result of the chemical conversion of natural gas to heat energy for electricity. Natural gas, like coal is another fossil fuel. It is the result of pressure and heat changing ancient plants and tiny sea animals.
Natural gas usually has to be drilled since it is trapped in deep underground pockets of porous rocks. It can be found by itself or in petroleum deposits or coal beds. After it is drilled or comes out of the earth it has to be cleaned and separated into parts. The major chemical in natural gas is methane but there are smaller parts of butane and propane that are separated out after processing. In the drilled form, natural gas is a nonrenewable resource but landfill natural gas is a renewable resource since it can be made from rotting garbage. It is transported by pipelines from the source to its final destination. The major use for natural gas is not electricity but industry.
GOVERNMENT INFORMATION - NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION (http://www.fe.doe.gov/education/gas_production.html)
About 3% of electricity in the United States is a result of the chemical conversion of petroleum to heat energy for electricity. Petroleum, like coal and natural gas is a fossil fuel. It is the result of pressure and heat changing ancient plants and tiny sea animals. Petroleum like natural gas has to be drilled since it is trapped in deep underground pockets of porous rocks. Crude oil or oil are other names for petroleum. and when it comes out of the ground it can be as thick as tar or as thin as gasoline. It is also a nonrewable source since we cannot make new petroleum. After the oil is drilled, it has to be pumped up the surface and moved through pipelines to an oil refinery. At the oil refinery, the oil is processed into many types of fuels like diesel, heating and jet or thousands of products. Most petroleum products are transported through pipelines after the refinery.
The environment may be harmed with oil exploration, oil drilling, and pipeline, so the petroleum industry is working hard to protect the environment.
Propane is rarely used to convert to electricity in the United States. It is another fossil fuel like coal, natural gas and petroleum. Since it is a fossil fuel it is a nonrenewable resource. It is the result of pressure and heat changing ancient plants and tiny sea animals. Propane is mixed usually with petroleum and natural gas in underground deposits.
When natural gas is processed one of the gases that separates out is propane with methane being 90 per cent. When petroleum is refined gasoline is the major product and propane is another. After the refining propane is piped to distribution centers and then to bulk plants. Propane is stored under pressure as a liquid in tanks for easier storage. Propane is mainly used in rural United States in homes and farms that are not easily accessed by natural gas pipelines. Propane is a clean-burning fuel that leaves engines clean and almost pollutant free.
The atmosphere is composed of nitrogen , oxygen and greenhouses gases. Less than one percent of the atmosphere are greenhouse gases ,which composed water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, CFC's, ozone and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide is produced when we burn fossil fuels and wood. Methane is produced when animals and plants decay.
The greenhouse effect is the trapping or absorbing of heat energy in the atmosphere by the greenhouse gases and bouncing it back to earth. This level of greenhouse gases has increased in the last few years and the average temperature on earth has risen. This effect is called global warming. Some scientist think this will cause major problems for earth and that we should lower the amount of fossil fuels we burn. The U. S. is responsible for a third of world's carbon dioxide emissions or 25 tons of carbon dioxide per person each year. Generating electricity accounts for much of the carbon dioxide emissions. Generating electricity by most renewable sources does not produce carbon dioxide because no fuel is being burned.
Biomass can pollute the air when it is burned like a fossil fuel but sulfur and acid rain are not produced. Biomass is a renewable energy because it is and energy source that we can grow more in a short amount of time since it is any organic matter that can be used as an energy source. It is the oldest energy source.( wood burning) Plants get their energy from the sun in a process called photosynthesis.
To release the energy you do not only have to burn the biomass, you can release it by bacterial decay, fermentation or conversion from gas to liquid. Bacterial decay is the way garbage in landfill changes to methane. Wells are drilled to capture the methane. Methane is then purified and used as an energy source to produce heat (thermal energy) or electricity. Fermentation is adding bacteria to biomass and produce ethanol (an alcohol). We can use 10 percent ethanol made from corn and added to gasoline to run our cars. The engines in our cars do not need to be changed plus it is a less polluting fuel. Adding heat and chemicals to biomass can convert it into liquid fuels and gas. The gas and liquid fuels can be converted into thermal energy or electricity. India used cow manure to produce methane gas in this way for heat and lights.
Geothermal or the earth's heat is a renewable resource. It is generated in the earth's core and we can dig well and pump the heated underground water to the surface. Most of the geothermal activity is found along the crustal plate boundaries where volcanoes and earthquakes occur.
One of the types of geothermal is hydrothermal energy which has water and heat. In the United States, low temperature (50-300 degrees Fahrenheit) hydrothermal is used for heating buildings and agriculture. High temperature (300-700 degrees Fahrenheit is used to make electricity. The resources are harvested by drilling wells and piping the hot water (steam) to the surface. The dry steam power plant has the geothermal resource piped from the well to a turbine generator to make electricity. When the steam cools the water is piped back into the earth. Geothermal only produces .4% of our electricity in the United States. Geothermal power plants produce almost no emissions and don't have to transport or burn fuel to produce electricity.
Hydro means water in Greek. The moving water is kinetic energy. Hydropower is a renewable energy source because as long as it rains. Hydropower has been around for centuries.
Hydro power plants are usually built on a river or an artificial dam to allow for storing water for potential energy. The hydro plant is usually made up :
- a dam that allows for water to be controlled
- a lake or reservoir where water can be stored
- a plant where the power or electricity is produce
- The dam opens up to allow water to flow through the gate into a large tube (penstock) onto a turbine blade. The fast moving water spins the turbine blade that is attached to a generator to produce electricity. The electricity is then transported to the utility company by transmission lines. Hydropower produces eight to 11 percent in the United States. World wide hydropower is 25% of the electricity production total.
Students: Click on the button at the left to connect to the Power Worksheet.
Authors: Sue Emmons, Powell Middle School, Littleton, CO; Kevin Lindauer, John F. Kennedy High School, Denver, CO; Linda Lung, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO; John Sepich, Scott Carpenter Middle School, Westminster, CO; ; Janet Stellema, Monarch K-8, Louisville, CO. Created: September 9, 1998 - Updated: October 3, 2001. URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/