Environmental Science Study Set 5

Environmental Science

Quiz 13 :

Energy

Quiz 13 :

Energy

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What are the major advantages and disadvantage of using hydropower to produce electricity Summarize the benefits and drawbacks of using wind to genetate electricity (Core Case Study). What are the major advantages and disadvantages of using (a) solid biomass, to provide heat and electricity and (b) liquid biofuels to power vehicles Summarize the arguments for and against using ethanol to power vehicles. What is geothermal energy , and what are the major advantages and disadvantages of using it What are the major advantages and disadvantages of using hydrogen as a fuel
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Kinetic energy of the flowing water is used to produce the electricity. This type of systems is called hydro power systems. The net energy of these systems is quite high. The cost of producing energy is low and also untapped energy is quite high. These systems are eco-friendly and the carbon dioxide emission is also very low. The main disadvantage is that land disruption is very large. The decay in biomass causes rapid emission of methane gas. Aquatic ecosystem and life style is also affected.
Wind energy is also very promising due to high net energy yield. The scope of wind energy is very wide. It has very low cost involved. There is no effect on the environment and these systems can be expanded easily. The disadvantages are that energy output is intermittent and requires back up. Noise pollution is caused by the large turbines and blades. Due to improper design may cause the death of some birds and bats.
Solid biomass can be used to get energy by burning directly. These are widely available and low cost involved with these plants. These also have no effect on the environment. But this system can lead to deforestation. Improper burning can cause air pollution and major problem is related to land erosion. It causes the soil erosion, water pollution and which in turns affects the wildlife.
Liquid bio-fuels are also having very low carbon dioxide emissions. This can be used to reduce the greenhouse gases. Net energy yield is also very high. Some of liquid bio-fuels causes low net energy yield and corn ethanol causes air pollution.
Ethanol is a renewable form of energy and produced from sugar cane. It does not affect the environment. It has lower heat of combustion and also large land mass required to produce it. Therefore, it causes land disruption. Wastage of ethanol causes pollution. Heat stored in rocks, soil and underground fluids can be used to explore the energy and this is called as geothermal energy. It is also a renewable energy resource. It has low cost involved at favorable sites.
Net energy yield is also very high and there is little effect on the environment. But these systems are less efficient and large cost is involved. There are very less favorable sites and thus cannot be a promising source of energy. Hydrogen can be used to produce the energy and also it is a abundant chemical on the earth. It can be produced from water and also there is very less carbon dioxide emission. Efficiency of such system is also very high. Net energy yield is very low. High cost and storage problems make it difficult to use.

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Explain why each of the following widely believed statements is not accurate: (a) coal can he a clean fuel: (b) natural gas is a low-carbon fuel: (c) nuclear power is a low-carbon energy resource.
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a) Coal is one of the most abundant fossil fuel on earth. The process of exploration of coal is much polluted. It is presented in the form of rocks and it is exploited without pollution control devices and thus many dangerous gases such as mercury and sulfur get mixed with air and water. This makes the air much more polluted. Coal on burning also gives some of the radioactive materials and carbon dioxide. For now China is one of the countries which has much more carbon dioxide gases from burning of coal. Therefore, coal is very dirty fuel and a major polluter.
b) The process by which natural gas is exploited is very harmful for the groundwater. Natural gas is present along with the toxic materials inside the earth in the rocks. High pressure is used to free the gas from the rocks. When high pressure is applied then the high pressure causes the toxic materials also to come out in the form of slurry which mixes with the ground water and makes it toxic. Natural gas that is methane is a major green house gas along with carbon dioxide. Studies show that methane is deposited over the oil reserve. When it is burned then it produces much of carbon dioxide gas which is dangerous and this states that natural gas is not low in its carbon content.
c) Nuclear power reduces the carbon emission. It is one of the methods to produce the energy which is not affecting the carbon dioxide levels in the environment. Nuclear power plant is far more dangerous because of its radioactivity and dangerous radiation emission. A study shows that used fuel rods of nuclear reactor can kill a 39 inches away standing person in less than 3 minutes. Therefore, nuclear waste is a very big question mark around it. Many disasters happened due to nuclear power plants and these affect the environment on a larger area. Therefore, it is not a safe source for energy production.

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Should buyers of energy-efficient motor vehicles receive large rebates funded by fees levied on gas guzzlers Explain.
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Renewable energy resources are the future because of their characteristics. Energy efficiency is one of the major issues today. The most of the resources on which the countries are relaying have very low net rate of energy. Therefore, energy efficiency is very important.
It is good to promote the use of the efficient energy and therefore it is good to provide the fund from the fees levied on high efficient vehicles. This will encourage the use of the highly fuel efficient vehicles and along with this there must be taxes on the use of oil and coal.

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In 2008. the average fuel economy of new cars, light trucks, and SUVs in the United States was 11.4 kilometers per liter (kpl). or 26.6 miles per gallon (mpg), and the average motor vehicle in the United States was driven 19.300 kilometers (12.000 miles). There were about 250 million motor vehicles in the United States in 2008. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2.3 kilograms ol CO ₂ are released when 1 liter of gasoline is burned (19.4 pounds of CO ₂ are released when 1 gallon is burned). Use these data to calculate the gasoline consumption and carbon footprints of individual motor vehicles with different fuel efficiencies and for all of the motor vehicles in the United States by answering the following questions: If the average fuel efficiency of the U.S. fleet increased from 8.5 kpl (20 mpg) to 19.6 kpl (46 mpg), by what percentage would this reduce the CO ₂ emissions from the entire fleet per year You can think of this as the percentage reduction in the carbon footprint of the U.S. motor vehicle fleet.
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Congratulations! You are in charge of the world. List the five most important features of your energy policy and explain why each of them is important and how they relate to each other.
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In 2008. the average fuel economy of new cars, light trucks, and SUVs in the United States was 11.4 kilometers per liter (kpl). or 26.6 miles per gallon (mpg), and the average motor vehicle in the United States was driven 19.300 kilometers (12.000 miles). There were about 250 million motor vehicles in the United States in 2008. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2.3 kilograms ol CO ₂ are released when 1 liter of gasoline is burned (19.4 pounds of CO ₂ are released when 1 gallon is burned). Use these data to calculate the gasoline consumption and carbon footprints of individual motor vehicles with different fuel efficiencies and for all of the motor vehicles in the United States by answering the following questions: Recalculate the values in Question 1, assuming that a car has an average fuel efficiency of 19.6 kpl (46 mpg).
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Suppose that a wind power developer has proposed building a wind farm near where you live (Core Case Study). Would you be in favor of the project or opposed to it Write a letter to your local newspaper or a blog for a website explaining your position and your reasoning. Include the concept of net energy in your arguments. As part of your research, determine how the electricity you use now is generated and where the power plant is located, and include this information in your arguments.
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In 2008. the average fuel economy of new cars, light trucks, and SUVs in the United States was 11.4 kilometers per liter (kpl). or 26.6 miles per gallon (mpg), and the average motor vehicle in the United States was driven 19.300 kilometers (12.000 miles). There were about 250 million motor vehicles in the United States in 2008. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2.3 kilograms ol CO ₂ are released when 1 liter of gasoline is burned (19.4 pounds of CO ₂ are released when 1 gallon is burned). Use these data to calculate the gasoline consumption and carbon footprints of individual motor vehicles with different fuel efficiencies and for all of the motor vehicles in the United States by answering the following questions: Determine the number of metric tons of CO ₂ emitted annually by (a) the car described in Question 1 with a low fuel efficiency, (b) a fleet of 250 million vehicles with this same fuel efficiency, (c) the car described in Question 2 with a high fuel efficiency, and (d) a fleet of 250 million vehicles with this same high fuel efficiency. These calculations provide a rough estimate of the carbon footprints for individual cars and for the entire U.S. fleet with low- and high-efficiency cars. (1 kilogram = 2.20 pounds; 1 metric ton = 1,000 kilograms = 2,200 pounds =1.1 tons; 1 ton = 2.000 pounds).
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What is the key concept for this section What is our main source of energy What are three forms of indirect solar energy What is commercial energy and what major types of it are used in the world and in the United States What are fossil fuels What is crude oil (petroleum) and how is it extracted from the earth and refined Define peak production. What is a petrochemical and why are such chemicals important How much oil does the United States produce, compared with what it uses What are the major advantages and disadvantages of using crude oil as an energy resource What is shale oil and how is it produced What is tar sand, or oil sand, and how is it extracted and converted to heavy oil What are the major advantages and disadvantages of using heavy oils produced from tar sand and shale oil as energy resources
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Explain why you agree or disagree with the following proposals made by various energy analysts: a. Government subsidies for all energy alternatives should be eliminated so that all energy choices can complete in a truly free-market system. b. All government tax breaks and other subsidies for conventional fossil fuels, synthetic natural gas and oil, and nuclear power (fission and fusion) should be phased out. They should be replaced with subsidies and tax breaks for improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy resources. c. Development of solar, wind, and hydrogen energy should be left to private enterprise and should receive little or no help from the federal government, but nuclear energy and fossil fuels should continue to receive large federal government subsidies and tax breaks.
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CORE CASE STUDY Explain why wind has great potential for generating electricity (Core Case Study). Summarize the story of the potential for wind power in the United States.
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In 2008. the average fuel economy of new cars, light trucks, and SUVs in the United States was 11.4 kilometers per liter (kpl). or 26.6 miles per gallon (mpg), and the average motor vehicle in the United States was driven 19.300 kilometers (12.000 miles). There were about 250 million motor vehicles in the United States in 2008. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2.3 kilograms ol CO ₂ are released when 1 liter of gasoline is burned (19.4 pounds of CO ₂ are released when 1 gallon is burned). Use these data to calculate the gasoline consumption and carbon footprints of individual motor vehicles with different fuel efficiencies and for all of the motor vehicles in the United States by answering the following questions: Suppose a car has an average fuel efficiency of 8.5 kpl (20 mpg) and is driven 19.300 kilometers (12.000 miles) a year, (a) How many liters (and gallons) of gasoline does this vehicle consume in a year (b) If gasoline costs 80 cents per liter ($3.00 per gallon), how much will the owner spend on fuel in a year (c) How many liters(and gallons) of gasoline would be consumed by a U.S. fleet of 250 million such vehicles in a year (1 liter = 0.265 gallons and 1 kilometer = 0.621 miles)
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What is the key concept for this section What is energy efficiency What percentage of the energy used in the United States is unnecessarily wasted List four widely used energy-wasting technologies. What are the major benefits of reducing energy waste List three reasons why this source of energy has been neglected. Describe three ways to save energy and money in (a) industry, (b) transportation, (c) new buildings, and (d) existing buildings. How could a smarter electrical grid help us to save energy and money Explain why the true cost of gasoline is much higher than what consumers pay at the pump. What is a fee-bate Distinguish among hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell motor vehicles. Summarize the story of the Rocky Mountain Institute headquarters building. What are three reasons for high levels of energy waste in the world
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Define natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG). What are two sources of unconventional natural gas What are the major advantages and disadvantages of using natural gas as an energy resource What are two problems that are affecting the reputation of natural gas as a cleaner fossil fuel Describe each problem. What is coal and how is it formed What are the major advantages and disadvantages presented by using coal as an energy resource Describe the problems presented by coal ash. Explain why there is no such thing as clean coal.
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What is the key concept for this section Distinguish between passive solar heating and active solar heating systems and summarize the major advantages and disadvantages of such systems. What are three ways to cool houses naturally List the major advantages and disadvantages of using solar thermal systems to generate high-temperature heat and electricity. What is a solar cell (photovoltaic or PV cell) and what are the major advantages and disadvantages of using such devices to produce electricity
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Some people in China point out that the United States and European nations fueled their economic growth since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution by burning coal, with little effort to control the resulting air pollution, and then sought cleaner energy sources later when they became more affluent. China says it is being asked to clean up before it becomes affluent enough to do so. Do you think this is a fair expectation Explain. Because China's outdoor air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have implications for the entire world, what role, if any, should the more-developed nations play in helping China to reduce its dependence on coal and to rely on more environmentally sustainable energy sources
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Should governments give a high priority to considering net energy yields when deciding what energy resources to support What are other factors that should be considered Which factor or factors should get the most weight in decision-making Explain your thinking.
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What is the key concept for this section How does a nuclear fission reactor work and what are its major safety features Describe the nuclear fuel cycle and summarize the advantages and disadvantages of relying on it. Explain how spent fuel rods are stored and what risks this presents. Why is dealing with high-level radioactive wastes a difficult problem and what has been done about it What can we do with worn-out nuclear power plants How has the United States dealt with the nuclear waste problem To what extent can nuclear power lessen our dependence on imported oil What would the nuclear industry have to do in order to play an effective role in slowing projected atmospheric warming Summarize the stories of the world's three worst nuclear power plant accidents. Summarize the arguments of experts who disagree over the future of nuclear power. What factors have hindered the development of nuclear power What is nuclear fusion and what is its potential as an energy resource
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What is the key concept for this section What is net energy yield and why is it important for evaluating energy resources What is a net energy ratio and how is it used Explain why the nuclear fuel cycle has a low net energy yield and thus must be subsidized to compete in the open marketplace.
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To continue using oil at the current rate, some analysts warn that we must discover and add to global oil reserves the equivalent of two new Saudi Arabian supplies every 10 years. Do you think this is possible If not what effects might the failure to find such supplies have on your life and on the lives of any children and grandchildren that you might have
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