Flashcards in Exam 2 flashcards Deck (129):
Conversion efficiency of potential energy to work
Amount of usable energy from a resource - energy used to make it available
Most abundant fossil fuel
Burning Coal is a...
Leading electricity source
Oil and natural gas migrate up until hit impermeable rock
Proved oil reserves:
Known and economically recoverable
Most widely used commercial energy source
Total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product, or person
Carbon capture and storage
- Capture CO2 from power plants or industrial processes
- Compress, transport in pipelines
- Inject, sequester in geologic reservoirs
What are some problems with carbon capture and storage?
leaks, carbon footprint, incentivizes coal
What are nonrenewable resources?
Resources that have a fixed quantity in earth’s crust and cannot be regenerated on a human time scale.
How does nonrenewable resource use vary by level of national development?
- Vast majority from non-renewable sources
- Renewable energy contribution growing
- Slightly more than half from non-renewable sources
- More reliant on renewable fuels from biomass (wood, dung)
How are fossil fuels formed?
300 million years ago
- Tropical climate, huge primary production
- Slow anaerobic decay of dead plants
- Heat, pressure, time
Processes take 100-500 million years
How is coal mined?
- 60% of U.S. coal mining
- Usually found 1-100 ft. thick seams
- explosives remove rock & soil from mountain summits, coal exposed & removed, soil & rock replaced
- Deep below surface
- Tunnel to seams, workers extract coal & bring to surface
- Notoriously dangerous (Gas leaks, explosions, cave-ins may trap, suffocate, crush workers, illness)
- 40% of US extraction
Describe the benefits and impacts of coal
- most abundant fossil fuel
- Leading electricity source
- Releases large quantities of CO2
- Release of pollutants to the atmosphere
Describe the benefits and impacts of oil
- Transportation easy (Pipeline, trucks, trains, ships)
- Many consumer products (cosmetics, plastics, fabrics, rubbers, etc)
- Most widely used commercial energy source (esp. transportation)
- Habitat loss/disruption
- Reduce recreation and tourism
- Impact human populations dependent on marine life for income or food
- Generates air pollutants
Describe the benefits and impacts of natural gas
- Easy transport
- Burns relatively cleanly
- Substituting natural gas for coal reduces CO2emissions 30-50%
- Natural gas vs. gasoline reduces engine emissions 90%
- May leak or explode, especially when older or poorly maintained
- Challenging to transport overseas (Expensive and energy intensive)
Describe the benefits and impacts of synfuels
- Huge petroleum resource
- Economic gains
- Extensive strip mining
- Large water requirements (2X to 4X)
- Large energy inputs, GHG emissions
- First Nations peoples
Describe some industrial, individual and policy solutions to reduce carbon footprint.
- Driving alternatives
- fuel efficient vehicles
- Driving style, tire inflation
Individual: Home Energy
- Transportation infrastructure and planning
- Tax credits, subsidies
Percentage of energy input retained when converting fuel to electricity
Net energy yield
(EnergyOut-EnergyIn) / EnergyOut
The process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.
A type of surface mining in which a trench a dug to extract the minerals, then a new trench is dug parallel to the old one; the overburden from the new trench is put into the old trench, creating a hill of loose rock known as spoil bank.
Nucleus of a particle split into smaller parts
Can be regenerated on a human time scale
Produced from environmentally friendly sources
All of the following are arguments against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, except:
a.) oil extraction in Prudhoe Bay has been declining
b.) using domestic oil is only a short-term fix to energy problems in the United States
c.) documented declines in wolf and bear populations in nearby areas where drilling has occurred
d.) it will be financially impractical to restore lands developed for oil extraction
e.) there is no nearby infrastructure to facilitate oil drilling
e.) there is no nearby infrastructure to facilitate oil drilling
What is the meaning of the term “Peak Oil"?
the point in time with the highest rate of petroleum extraction
What place in the world has the most deposits of natural gas?
This synthetic fuel helped light and heat American homes until the 20th Century.
Identify the false statement about shale gas:
a.) shale gas is more difficult to extract than gas in sandstone deposits.
b.) shale gas drilling generates large amounts of wastewater
c.) Pennsylvania has issued a moratorium on new shale gas drilling
d.) The Marcellus Shale formation is found under parts of 6 states
e.) shale gas is extracted using hydraulic fracturing
Pennsylvania has issued a moratorium on new shale gas drilling
Which of these statements about coal is false?
a.) Coal powered the steam engine during the Industrial Revolution
b.) The U.S. contains about 20% of the world's coal supplies.
c.) Subsurface mining accounts for about 40% of the coal mined in the U.S.
d.) Coal is primarily found in the Southern Hemisphere.
e.) Coal combustion is a precursor to acid rain
Coal is primarily found in the Southern Hemisphere.
Fuels from living things or their wastes
What are advantages of Biomass?
Moderate net energy yield
Small land footprint
Nontoxic end products
What are disadvantages of Biomass?
Competition w/food production & prices
Energy from sunlight used for either heating or electricity generation
How does availability vary when it comes to solar energy?
Availability varies with...
- time of day
- cloud cover
Why aren't biofuels a reasonable substitute for fossil fuels?
Producing biofuels requires fossil fuels
What are the geographic patterns and temporal trends associated with nuclear energy?
- primarily in MDC's
- ~100 US
- ~60 France
- ~50 Japan
- Fukushima meltdown led to declines
- Future construction likely to increase
What are the geographic patterns and temporal trends associated with hydroelectric energy?
- 16% of world wide electricity production
- 150 countries
- Underdeveloped potential
Temporal trends: *************
What are the geographic patterns and temporal trends associated with biomass energy?
- Global production (46% US, 24% Brazil, 15% EU, 15% rest of world)
Temporal trends: **********
What are the geographic patterns and temporal trends associated with solar energy?
Geographic patterns: ***********
Temporal trends: ***********
What are the geographic patterns and temporal trends associated with wind energy?
- Rural areas
- Mountain passes
- Fastest growing energy source
What are the geographic patterns and temporal trends associated with geothermal energy?
Nuclear Energy pros and cons:
- No air pollution
- Low carbon emissions
- Small fuel and waste volumes
- Small land footprint
- Waste disposal costs
- Decommissioning costs
- Nuclear weapons
- Waste heat
- Accidents: low probability, high impact
What is the difference between passive and active solar heating?
Passive solar heating does not use pumps or fans and active solar heating does.
Why can’t renewable energy overtake fossil fuels in the near future?
Uranium casing melts
- Cooling system leaks, failure
- Heat buildup
Resources (energy) that are replaced by natural processes and can be used forever, provided they are not overexploited in the short term.
A wafer or a thin film of a solid-state material (silicon / gallium arsenide) that is treated with certain metals so that it generates electricity when it absorbs solar energy.
concentrated solar power
Concentrated solar power systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small area
1. Produces most electricity of renewables
2. Clean technology
3. Low power costs
4. Multiple uses
5. Economic development
6. Proven technology
7. Expansion potential
1. Ecosystem loss
2. River erosion
3. Soil fertility loss
4. Social dislocation
5. Navigation barrier
6. Methane emissions
7. Hydrologic dependence
8. Catastrophic failure
Solar energy pros:
1. Reduces fossil fuels use
2. Fully renewable, green
Solar energy cons:
1. Consistent only where very sunny year round
2. Requires nighttime backup power source
Wind Energy Pros:
1. High net energy yield
2. Widely available
3. Low cost
4. Renewable and green
5. Small land footprint
Wind Energy cons:
1. Output varies w/wind strength
2. Bird & bat mortality
3. Aesthetically unpleasant?
Geothermal energy pros:
1. Renewable, green, vast resources
2. Cheapest renewable energy source
3. Slight declines in fossil fuel use
4. Growth in renewables
Geothermal energy cons:
What are some challenges for nonrenewable resources?
3. Availability: where, when
4. Power grid additions
6. Environmental impacts
What are some examples listed in the book of renewable resources?
Freshwater in lakes and rivers
trees in forests
Passive Solar heating
A system that uses the sun's energy without requiring mechanical devices (pumps or fans) to distribute the collected heat.
Active Solar Heating
A system in which a series of collection devices mounted on a roof or in a field is used to absorb solar energy. Pumps or fans distribute the collected heat.
Which of the following is not a problem associated with hydropower?
a) reservoir-induced seismicity
b) habitat destruction
c) flooding potential
d) limited economic development
e) disruption of fish spawning
limited economic development
Among the following choices, which is NOT a potential adverse environmental impact of generating geothermal energy?
a) emission of gases such as hydrogen sulfide
b) water depletion
c) induced seismicity
d) increased carbon dioxide emissions
e) land subsidence
A unique characeristic of solar energy as a source of global power is:
dispersion across the Earth's entire surface rather than being concentrated in highly localized areas
Fission of U-235:
must be controlled to be used for the production of electricity
Which of the following is an example of “demand-side management” by electric utility companies to help consumers save energy?
a) reducing rates charged to consumers
b) building new power plants
c) purchasing power from new sources
d) giving away energy-efficient light bulbs to consumers
e) all of these choices are correct
giving away energy-efficient light bulbs to consumers
The potential locations for wind farms include:
a) Mountain passes
c) Coastal areas
e) All of these choices
All of these choices
water availability is insufficient to meet needs within a region
Freshwater volume consumed and polluted for the production of goods and services for consumers
A period of abnormally dry weather resulting in a serious hydrological imbalance
The effects of flooding are more destructive today than in the past because:
too many buildings are constructed in floodplains.
Cities are encouraging individuals to conserve water by:
providing economic incentives for installing water saving household fixtures.
All of the following assertions about Mono Lake, CA are correct, except:
a.) evaporation is the only natural outflow
b.) it is fed by rivers and streams originating in the Sierra Nevada mountains
c.) the number of nesting and migratory birds is expected to increase in the future
d.) water diversion to Los Angeles has increased lake salinity
e.) a management agreement was reached that has returned the lake to its original volume
e.) a management agreement was reached that has returned the lake to its original volume
Due to population pressures...
reduced flows in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers pose a major challenge for Iraq.
Most freshwater on earth is present in the form of:
frozen polar and glacial ice
When the Mississippi River flooded in 2011:
some rural areas were intentionally flooded to protect urban areas.
Water volume embodied in a commodity or service
Remove excess salts & minerals from saline water
Identify a sustainable level, and chart a path to reach it
Describe some natural influences on floods.
2. Topography: slope
3. Soil: type, water content
Describe some human influences on floods.
2. Agriculture: Increased erosion, loss of native vegetation
3. Forestry: Increased erosion, loss of native vegetation, monoculture
4. Flood "control": Levees, dams, channels
Describe impacts of the California drought
California drought: 2012 -2016
- 80% of CA water used by agriculture
- $44.7 billion –value of California’s agricultural industry
3. Reservoir capacity
- barely any water in the reservoirs
6. Ecosystem loss
Physical Scarcity: occurs when there is not enough water to meet both human demands and those of ecosystems to function effectively.
What is the difference between blue, green, & grey water?
Blue Water: the freshwater: surface and groundwater. It is stored in lakes, streams groundwater, glaciers and snow.
Green Water: the soil moisture from precipitation, used by plants via transpiration. It is part of the evapotranspiration flux in the hydrologic cycle.
Grey Water: water that has already been used for a relatively nonpolluting purpose (showers, dishwashers, laundry) Not potable but can be reused for toilets, watering plants or washing cars.
Contrast the leading approaches to increase water supply.
- Divert water from “water rich” areas to “water poor”
- Controversial and expensive
- Often leads to over-extraction
2. Virtual Water
- When a nation exports a good, so is the “virtual” water used to produce it
- Countries can import virtual water to make up for scarcity
3. Dams - Impound water
- Water supply
- Flood control
- Vacuum distillation (Boil water, collect steam, Energy intensive, Low investment costs)
- Reverse Osmosis (Force water through filter, Low energy requirements, Overhead costs: fuel, filters)
Characterize the leading approaches to decrease demand.
1. Agricultural Conservation
- Micro-irrigation (Pipe networks slowly water root zone, AKA drip or trickle irrigation)
- Crop switching
2. City conservation
- Higher prices, Infrastructure repair, Aquifer storage, Smart meters
3. Household Conservation
- Micro-flush toilets
- Efficient sprinklers
- Rainwater harvesting
- Rain gardens
- Gray water -can be used to flush toilets, wash car, water lawn
- Government economic incentives
4. Industrial Conservation
- Policy and laws provide incentive
- Economics must change
- Water recycling –less “once through”
- Use gray water in non-critical systems
High stream flow that overtops stream banks
The gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land.
Caused by a lack of investment in water infrastructure or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand of water in areas where the population cannot afford to use an adequate source of water.
Most incoming solar radiation absorbed by land/water and converted to heat; some re-radiated upward
Greenhouse gases (GHGs)
Act like greenhouse walls by trapping heat & causing warming in the atmosphere.
absorb & re-emit the incoming solar radiation absorbed by land/water
- Some emitted to space
- The rest is emitted to troposphere, warming it
Global warming potential
Ability of a Greenhouse gas to absorb heat
Measured relative to CO2
Over specific time period (e.g., 100 yrs)
increased avg. global temp. due to anthropogenic greenhouse effect
Global climate change
varied effects of global warming
Reduce emissions ASAP to moderate or postpone global climate change
- Irreversible effects: 40% cut by 2020, 80% by 2050
Efforts to prepare for or adjust to environmental changes & social consequences of climate change
- Some degree of warming is unavoidable
Reservoir that accumulates more carbon than it releases
What evidence is there that climate change has already occurred?
1. Ice is up to 1,600 feet thick in some places
2. Fastest thinning glacier in East Antarctica
3. Floating ice shelf: 90 x 22 miles
4. 15 of 16 warmest years on record since 2000
5. 2016: warmest year on record
6. Sea level rise
7. Increased acidity in ocean
8. Accelerating hydrologic cycle
9. Precipitation increases in some areas, decreases in others
Describe the key processes behind the greenhouse effect.
Most of the incoming solar radiation is absorbed by land/water & then converted to heat;
- some re-radiated upward to space
- some emitted to troposphere, warming it
- GHGs act like greenhouse walls: trapping heat & causing warming
What are the 3 mitigation options
Cut carbon emissions
What are some examples of climate change adaptation?
Cap and trade
Cap on allowable emissions in an industry (tons)
Distribute/auction emissions allowances
Credits traded among polluters or banked
Cap slowly declines over time
Market-based, variable carbon price
Established by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- Assess scientific, technical, and socio-economic research on climate change
Pollution tax for CO2 emissions
Standards for environmentally sustainable construction
(Windows, insulation, materials, design, Renewable energy use, Energy efficiency, Space optimization)
Explore past climate events & project future warming events
What are the leading conclusions from climate models?
1. Future warming on Earth is inevitable
2. High confidence (Temp. projections, Global & continental scales)
3. Many current trends projected to continue (Sea level rise, Atmospheric water, Precipitation intensity)
4. Large uncertainties for the future (Carbon cycle, permafrost methane, regional scales)
What are the main projected impacts/consequences from Climate change?
Global climate change
Agriculture (Decreased soil moisture)
Decrease in human health (malnutrition)
What would be the primary effect of setting the cap too high in a cap and trade scheme?
Lower incentives for emissions reductions
What are some disasters that can result from global warming?
Describe cutting carbon emissions.
Cap and trade
Carbon Tax - Pollution tax for CO2 emissions
Describe Energy conservation.
Amount of available energy in a source that’s transformed into useful work - becoming more efficient
The goal is to use less energy to accomplish same tasks
Active manipulation of the earth’s climate
carbon capture and storage
What are some example of places that do Cap and Trade?
EU, Quebec, California, South Korea
The use of a heat engine or power station to generate electricity and useful heat at the same time.
Compress and transport captured CO2 in pipelines and inject into geologic formations
Capture CO2 from power plants or industrial processes
Reflect solar radiation in the upper atmosphere into space
Which of the following is not a greenhouse gas?
a. tropospheric ozone
e. water vapor
How is global warming expected to affect agriculture?
Inundation of agricultural lands due to sea level rise
The atmospheric cooling that occurs where and when aerosol pollution is the greatest, is an example of:
Organisms that take CO2 out of the water and sequester it in the form of calcium carbonate are:
being threatened by the increasing acidity of the oceans from carbonic acid.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected a global temperature increase by the year 2100 of:
1.8º to 4.0ºC
Earth's average temperature is based on daily measurements taken from all of the following, except:
a. orbiting satellites
b. weather balloons
c. sea-surface buoys
d. transoceanic ships
Amount of energy used from a resource - energy used to make it available =
net energy used
The cheapest renewable energy source.