Non-Renewable Energy


Energy Concepts

First Law of Thermodynamics- Energy is _____________, not created or destroyed. It can only change in form.

Second Law of Thermodynamics- Energy transfers lead to the energy being in a less "_________", lower form.

ex. Only 20% of gasoline is converted to mechanical energy.

Energy always degrades to a less concentrated level.

Energy- the capacity to do work

Forms of Energy- can you think of examples of each?

  • Mechanical (Potential- energy at _______ and Kinetic- energy in __________)
  • Thermal
  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • ____________
  • Electromagnetic

Energy units

  • Joule (J)
  • Calorie (cal)
  • British Thermal Units (BTU)
  • Kilowatt hr (kWh)
    • kilo= 1000
    • mega= 1,000,000

Power Units

  • Watt (w)
  • Horsepower (hp)

History of Energy Use in United States- in order of supremacy.

Wood, slaves, coal, steam engine (industrial revolution), and oil.

  • A large majority of our energy in America comes from non ____________ energy sources.
  • Wood was the prodominent source of energy up to the _______________ Revolution.
  • The US was self sufficient until the late 1950s.
  • We are entering an energy crisis because our population _______ is outpacing our energy ___________ and renewable energy is not ___________ enough to replace conventional energy... by a long shot!
  • Undeveloped countries still use _________ as 90% of their energy source.
  • Amercians and Canadians (at 5% of the world population) use over _______ of the WORLD's available energy.
    • Hummer=Dummer. If we stopped driving gas hogs and living in sieves we could drastically reduce the amount of oil we use. ___________ is still the BEST response.
    • Each person in the US uses an average of 60 barrels of oil/year- most of which is _________.
    • Industry uses the most energy in the US, then transportation, residental and commercial.
  • The 20 richest countries (1/5 the world's population) use 80% of the world's gas, 65% of the world's oil and 50% of the coal produced each year.


  • Hunter-gatherers required 2500 cal/day/person
  • World consumption is 31,000 cal/day/person
  • US consumption is 108,000 ca/day/person (including oil)

Fossil Fuels- provide 64% of the worlds electricity. Fossil fuels are made from fossilized remains of once living organisms buried for years under intense heat and pressure. Includes oil, coal and gas.


Oil (liquid form of petroleum)

Our primary source of energy- 35% of the world's energy production comes from oil products.

Petrochemicals are chemicals refined from oil. They include _______, synthetic fibers, medicine, wax, synthetic rubber, insecticides, paints, fertilizers, detergents, __________!!!

The Creation of Oil

  • Oil is formed when ________________ accumulate at the bottom of the sea where oxygen is limited.
  • There it is _____________ transformed anaerobically into oil and gas by a process called maturation. Intense heat and pressure break down the organic molecules.
  • The ____________ the hydrocarbon molecule chain, the more solid it is. Less than 5 carbon atoms is gas. Huge numbers of carbon atoms turn into crude oil.
  • Geologists drill exploratory wells to find a "proven" reserve, a known large quantity of oil.
  • Measured in barrels which are equal to _________ gallons of oil.

The Extraction of Oil

  • Extraction from a reserve is done by pumping: a gusher (first 25%), then another 50-60% is done by pressure extraction- whereby steam, salt water or hot gasses are pumped into the oil field and pushes out the oil.
  • As oil prices rise it will be more cost effective to remove more of the oil from the field.
  • Right now the economics of removing oil from tar sands (surface sands) and oil shale (rock) is cost ___________.

The Future of Oil

  • We have a very vague idea of how much oil is left, but most estimates place our world reserves at ______ more years and US reserves at ____ years.
  • The Hubbert peak theory predicts that the oil production will soon reach a peak and then decline rapidly. We reached peak world oil production in the mid-90's most likely. Iran and Saudia Arabia (where most of today's oil is located) are a little touchy about informing us of EXACTLY how much oil they have. The US peaked in the ___0's.
  • Oil prices in the US are heavily _____________ by the government. Europeans pay at least twice as much for oil.
  • The US imports more than _______ of its oil.

The two biggest oil spill disasters in the US were Deep Water Horizon (largest marine spill in history- 4.9 ________ barrels) and Exxon-Valdez (750,000 barrels).

Documentary: A Crude Awakening The current oil and energy crisis our world is facing.



The most abundant fossil fuel. Supplies 25% of the world's energy.

The Creation of Coal

  • Most coal orginally formed from a dense swampy mat of decaying __________ during the Carboniferous period- 300 million years ago.
  • As plant material becomes buried it turns to _________ (5% carbon). Further compaction and burial create _________ coal which is 60% carbon.
  • Coal has various grades depending on purity and degree of metamorphism. The least favorable is lignite, then ______________ (sedimentary, 75% carbon) then _____________ (metamorphic, over 90% carbon). These are ranked by BTU's produced by burning.

The Extraction of Coal

  • Coal is found in long continuous deposits or __________.
  • Miners dig tunnels to follow the seam with sometimes disasterous results.
  • Coal mining occurs through strip mining and underground mining.
    • Underground mining requires _______ to be sunk to reach deposits. Networks of tunnels are created to reach the deposits and can be very unstable and dangerous.
    • Stip mining is horrible for the environment. The earth is removed all the way to the coal seam. Hazardous slag heaps are created containing _______ which can leach out and damage the water table. Mountain top removal mining is particularly _________.
  • The impact on the environment can be high- miners are often required to "reclaim" the land.

The Future of Coal

  • We have roughly _________ years left of coal supplies. It creates over one half of our electricity in US.
  • Most of the coal supplies are in _______, Russia and __________.


  • Most coal is used to make electricity. Coal fired electric plants are only 30% efficient AND they emit tons of _________ and _______ into the air.. floating on the wind currents.... straight to NPZ!
    • Acid rain is predominantly caused by burning sulfur-containing coal for electricity.
    • __________ should be mandatory to remove sulfur from coal's combustion gases.


Natural Gas

The cleanest fossil fuel- just don't frack with it!

  • Gas is made from the same process as oil- from the decomposition of organic matter under high heat and temperature.
  • Its convenient, cheap and _________ burning the the previous two fossil fuels. It emits considerably less _______ when combusted.
  • Only ____% of energy lost during conversion. (As opposed to _____% energy lost in an incadescent light bulb!)
  • Difficult to _________ as it has a tendancy to blow up if hit. If transporting must keep under pressure to keep in liquid form or put into pipelines.
  • Found in the same area as oil. 2/3 of natural gas is burned off when activating an ______ well. Maybe they should rethink that.
  • The processes of Fracking for natural gas has temporarily extended the time line for running out of fossil fuels.
    • Fracking uses poisonous chemicals mixed with water and sand that are injected into wells at high pressure. The sand holds the rocks apart allowing the gas to escape up the drilled pipe. The process of fracking has been found to be highly polluting for local __________________.
    • It is thought that America has 80 years of recoverable natural gas left.
    • The world could have 125 years left of gas.


Synfuels or Synthetic Fuels

A liquid fuel made from coal, natural gas, oil shale or biomass. It also can be made from plastics or rubber waste.


Nuclear Fusion

The wishful thinking energy source

  • 2 isotopes of light elements are forced together at high temperatures till they ______ to form a heavier nucleus.
  • It takes ______ million degrees C to fuse H into He. Forgetaboutit.
  • Too ________. Cars running on nuclear fusion keep on blowing up. A very annoying trait.


Nuclear Power-

  • Provides 15% of world's electricity and 19% of the US electricity
    • India and ________ create the most nuclear power
    • 80% of _________'s energy comes from nuclear power
  • Nuclear fission produces energy when the atomic nuclei are split. It is the worst idea ever!
  • Nuclear power first developed in the 1950's after WWII, and the invention of the atomic bomb.
    Scientists thought this would be a safe and renewable energy source, but it was proven dangerous to work around, and even minor accidents could have long lasting, and long ranging affects.

How does nuclear energy work?

The thing that makes something radioactive is the fact that it is an unstable isotope- it releases ___________ particles. All isotopes long to be stable. Most plants use 97% U-23__ and 3% U-23__.

  • When radioactive isotopes like U-238 come in contact with neutrons, they break up into more stable isotopes releasing massive amounts of energy such as heat and light. This is called nuclear __________. It also releases more neutrons in the process creating a chain reaction.
  • The way this reaction is controlled is by the use of neutron __________ materials like water or graphite. When the operators want to _______ down the reaction, they put neutron absorbing material between the fuel rods. This material is removed if the reaction is to speed up.
  • The way the energy is harnessed is through the use of _________. The nuclear rods sit in a pool of water causing the ________ to become super heated. This heat is then transferred to another water pool that boils which then spins a _________ that spins a __________ that creates electricity.

Designs and Demand

Nuclear reactors have fuel rods of uranium and some kind of _________ rod (boron) to absorb neutrons and ________ the chain reaction in the core. The neutron moderator reduces the velocity of neutrons and reduces the chain reaction. Moderators are made of water or graphite. A oolant removes heat and forces steam through a turbine to generate electricity.

Types of reactors include- Boiling water reactors (heat from core boils water into steam which is piped to the spinning turbines) and pressurized water reactors (heated water heats a second water system that creates steam to spin turbines).


  • "Too cheap to meter!" Electricity from nuclear power plants was thought to be so inexpensive that we wouldn't even be charged for its use.
  • Nuclear power was supposed to be a cheap and ________ solution for the projected natural oil and gas deposits being depleted.
  • No air pollution emitted- no NOx or SOx and low water pollution- if things work right


After the Three Mile Island partial meltdown in Pennsylvania in 1979 and Chernobyl disaster in Russia in 1986 all new nuclear power plant construction projects in the US have been on ______.

  • The greatest danger is a _________ system failure. Safety and malfunction issues often result from human error.
  • Radioactive particles can alter animal DNA by mutating it in undesirable ways. Exposure to high levels of radiation creates bizarre types of __________. Extreme radiation exposure can kill you in a few short days!
  • The half-life of uranium- 238 (the amount of time it takes for one ________ of uranium to decay) is 4.5 billion years! It would take _______ half lives for uranium to decay to a safe level. U-235 takes 700 million years for each half life. Where do we store the spent waste??

Radioactive Waste Management

  • A lot of the future projections for the use of nuclear power were made under the assumption that future advancements in technology would figure out a way to get rid of the __________.
  • Technology did not catch up with the expectations of the scientists for disposing of the hazardous wastes.
  • Another major problem is that because the reactor can not be allowed to melt down, all the systems had to be ____________, making an extremely complex and delicate system that causes more accidents than it prevents.
  • Nuclear power plants need to be located next to an abundant source of _______ for the power plant. This harms the natural environment of the waterway, and poses great risk if the power plant were to leak nuclear waste. The Hudson river has _________ pollution from Indian Point.

Waste disposal aka just put it where no one will find it.

Waste is generated when the isotopes are first _________, and again when the isotopes are ________, and later when the spent isotopes are discarded. All the equipment that comes in contact with the isotopes also becomes __________.

Countries that use nuclear power have no adequate plan to get rid of the waste.

  • America store the waste on the nuclear reactor site for many years in dry ________ or _______ baths.
    • Then the plans WAS move the nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This long term storage facility is between two active _________ lines, above a major aquifer! The Obama administration nixed that idea!!!! Whew.
  • Other countries, like Russia took the NIMBY approach, and decided to transport the waste to unprotected cites with a low population. They even dumped a bunch of nuclear waste on the bottom of the _________ Ocean!