Title: Explore the Technology Behind Different Power Sources
Grade level: High School - Grades 10-12
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Descriptive
Awards: First Place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (2006)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Description: Energy resources described (pros & cons) in this study are coal, oil, natural gas, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, hydrogen, nuclear, solar, water and wind.
Primary energy sources are substances or processes with concentrations of energy at a high enough potential to be feasibly encouraged to convert to lower energy forms under human control for human benefit. Except for nuclear fuels, tidal energy and geothermal energy, all terrestrial energy sources are from current solar insolation or from fossil remains of plant and animal life that relied directly and indirectly upon sunlight, respectively. And ultimately, solar energy itself is the result of the Sun's nuclear fusion. Geothermal power from hot, hardened rock above the magma of the earth's core is the result of the decay of radioactive materials present beneath the earth's crust; which was the byproduct of a previous supernova event.
Fossil fuels, in terms of energy, involve the burning of coal or hydrocarbon fuels, which are the remains of the decomposition of plants and animals. There are three main types of fossil fuels: coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Another fossil fuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is principally derived from the production of natural gas. Heat from burning fossil fuel is used either directly for space heating and process heating, or converted to mechanical energy for vehicles, industrial processes, or electrical power generation.
Nuclear power stations use nuclear fission to generate energy by the reaction of uranium-235 inside a nuclear reactor. The reactor uses uranium rods, the atoms of which are split in the process of fission, releasing a large amount of energy. The process continues as a chain reaction with other nuclei. The heat released, heats water to create steam, which spins a turbine generator, producing electricity.
Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat—which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2006, about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning. Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable source, providing 3% (15% of global electricity generaiton), followed by solar hot water/heating, which contributed 1.3%. Modern technologies, such as geothermal energy, wind power, solar power, and ocean energy together provided some 0.8% of final energy consumption.
For More Information: Primary Energy Sources: Pros & Cons
Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)