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Unformatted text preview: Nonrenewable Energy Resources Chapter 9 – Part A Energy Resources • Solar power – most of our heating comes from the sun, but in a passive manner • As we know the sun also powers the wind, the hydrologic cycle (hydropower), biomass (trees grow, burn them) The sun has also created our three sources of fossil fuels • coal • oil • natural gas • In developing countries, most people use biomass for fuel – wood and/or dung 14.3 Fossil Fuels: Analyzing Our Options Benefits of fossil fuels: One of the biggest benefits of fossil fuels is their cost. Coal, oil and natural gas are abundant right now and relatively inexpensive to drill or mine for. In fact, coal is the most plentiful fossil fuel and it is found over much of the world. Because the costs are contained, electricity and fuels for transportation and heating are available to everyone. Limitations Nonrenewable Resource Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource. Fossil fuels take millions of years to develop under extreme conditions. Once they are gone, they can no longer be part of our energy mix. Environmental Impact Fossil fuels’ downfall is their environmental impact. The burning of fossil fuels is blamed for emissions that contribute to global climate change, acid rain, and ozone problems. There are new technologies under development that could make burning fossil fuels much more efficient and much cleaner. These technologies could keep fossil fuels in the energy mix for the future. The problem is, fossil fuels are non-renewable. They are limited in supply and will one day be depleted. There is no escaping this conclusion. Fossil fuels formed from plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago and became buried way underneath the Earth's surface where their remains collectively transformed into the combustible materials we use for fuel. The sun is the ultimate source of energy for our planet. Its energy is found in fossil fuels as well as all living things. Harnessing its energy holds great promise for the world's energy needs, and it will be heavily called upon as fossil fuels are depleted. Energy does not come cheaply. In addition to the economic costs, society pays a huge environmental price for its use of nonrenewable energy in damage to the health of its people and to the environment. These impacts arise at every phase of energy production. The most significant impacts arise from extraction and end use. Crude Oil Oil is extracted from deep wells on the seafloor and on land; it is often found in association with natural gas. After it is extracted, crude oil is heated and distilled, a process that separates the components of oil, which produces useful fuel and nonfuel by-products. The major impacts of the oil energy system come from oil spills and from combustion of oil and its by-products....
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- Spring '09
- Energy development, World energy resources and consumption, Peak oil