Environmental Science – Energy Use

Hey everybody this talk is about energy use. Everything requires energy, and energy exists in multiple forms (read last post).

There are two categories of energy: renewable and non-renewable.

Renewable energy are replenished by the Earth, and we will not run out of this energy. Examples include biomass. Perpetual energy is a form of renewable energy that does not need time to be replenished. Solar and wind are examples of this.

  • Biomass, Hydro-power, Wind, Solar, Geothermal

Non-renewable resources are resources that are not replenished fast or at all. Examples include natural gas, coal, nuclear, and petroleum.

  • Gasoline, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal

Energy consumption is the use of energy. The main users of energy are industry, transportation, and residential. Industries use energy to run manufacturing, farming, packaging, construction, etc. Transportation uses energy. Remember this is not just cars, but also things like simply walking. Walking uses energy in our body. Residencies also use energy for heating, electricity, cooling, water, etc.

All uses of energy have a negative effect. Heat is always produced from energy, this is the second law of thermodynamics: entropy. Using fossil fuels, nuclear energy, coal, etc all contribute to pollution of the air and water.

The challenge is to be able to use energy without environmental impact. High throughput economies waste a lot of energy, while low throughput do not waste energy, making them sustainable. Most MDC’s are high while LDC’s are low. We can all be low throughput if we switch to renewable sources.

Net energy is an important calculation when thinking about energy.

Net energy = Output – Input

Output is the amount of energy we gained, while input is how much energy we used to obtain the output. For example we use energy to run a nuclear power plant, which produces energy. If the output is higher than the input then there is a positive net energy.

Increasing the energy efficiency and net energy makes us more efficient and more low throughput. Co-generation produces two forms of energy in one plant, which increases efficiency.

Throughout time we have changed what we used for energy. In older periods we used wood from the vast forests, but we deforested so much that we ran out of wood. That is when we switched to coal which is what helped spark the industrial revolution.

Next talk we will dive deeper into types of nonrenewable resources, and the talk after that will be renewable resources. Till then, keep on staying curious and looking out for our planet! Thank you 😀

-Written By: Neil D. 3/23/2019

Credit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_law

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_economics

Living in the Environment –

G. TYLER MILLER, JR.
SCOTT E. SPOOLMAN

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