|Posted by Grace Seo on August 22, 2015 at 2:25 AM|
Coal is burned in many power plants to produce electricity. Fuels made from oil- such as gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel- power our cars, trucks, and airplanes.
One of the main advantage of fossil fuels is that they are abundant-found in many places and in large amounts.
A special advantage of natural gas is that it burns very cleanly. When natural gas burns, it produces mostly carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Oil’s main advantage is that it burns efficiently. Also, the refining process that produces gasoline and diesel fuel produces other petroleum products used in crayons, bubble gum, eyeglasses, even artificial heart valves.
Many experts think that the world’s oil wells will be empty in a few decades. But, even before then, the oil supply will be too small to meet global demands.
Also, fossil fuels produce pollutants. Car, factories, and many power plants release harmful chemicals into the air. Since fossil fuels are burned, air pollution will continue to be a problem.
Another problem is called the greenhouse effect. Gases released from burning fossil fuels trap more heat in Earth’s atmosphere, this heating up of Earth’s atmosphere is called global worming.
Water is widely used to produce electricity. Water from the lake is released through the bottom of the dam. It passes through big machine called dam.
Dams prevent flooding by storing the water from heavy rain and snowmelt, and gradually releasing it later.
But dams block the route for fish that swim up and down rivers.
To capture the Sun’s energy, scientists have developed solar cells, called photovoltaic cells. These cells convert sunlight into electricity. Since the Sun sends abundant free energy streaming toward Earth 24 hours a day, people in many parts of world, not just the sunniest places, have mounted solar cells and solar panels on the roofs of their houses or businesses to lower their energy costs.
There are two problems with solar cells. One is that they are very expensive to manufacture. The second problem is that not all areas of the world get abundant sunlight.
Nuclear power plants unlock the energy inside atoms to generate electricity. An atomic bomb explodes by creating a very rapid chain reaction.
Uranium releases an incredible amount of energy. One kilogram of uranium can produce more energy than 3 million kilograms of coal.
It can have a steam explosion if the core gets too hot. This would spew out a lot of dangerous radiation.
Many people are concerned about the environmental effects of dams and would like to see many dams torn down. The use of solar energy will probably continue to grow. Energy experts also say that more nuclear power plants will have to be built to meet growing energy needs.
Wind turbines generate electricity when their blades turn in the wind. The turbines require no fuel and don’t create pollution, but they are huge and can kill local birds.
We need energy, and fossil fuels that supply most of our energy will not last forever. Finding renewable alternatives is key to the world’s energy future.