Ch. 11 Fossil Fuel Lecture Notes - Solon City Schools

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Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Chapter 11

Fossil Fuels


Lecture Outline:


I.

Energy Sources and Consumption

A.

Just a few hundred years ago, almost all energy used by people was derived
from local energy sources (agriculture, wind and water)

i.

People relied on their own physical energy and the
energy of animals
to do work

ii.

These energy sources were limited by
energy density
, the amount of
energy contained within an energy source

B.

Today, 60% of the commercial energy consumed worldwide is used by high
developed countries (HDCs)

i.

People in HDCs rely o
n energy consuming machines to do work

ii.

The larger energy input is one reason the agriculture productivity of
HDCs is greater than that of developing countries

iii.

Additional energy demands may be met by increased
energy efficiency

C.

An increase in economic devel
opment is usually accompanied by a rise in per
capita energy consumption

D.

In the U.S., industry (production of materials) accounts for 42% of energy
consumption, 33% is used to make buildings and/or homes comfortable, and
25% is used primarily in transporta
tion

E.

Energy for China

i.

In 2004, China became the world’s second largest importer of oil

1.

China currently dominates international concerns over global
climate warming

2.

In 2009, China will likely pass the U.S. as the top CO
2

emitter

II.

Fossil Fuels

A.

Energy is obtai
ned from a variety of sources, including
fossil fuels
(coal, oil,
and natural gas), nuclear reactors, biomass, solar and other alternative energy
sources (water, wind, etc.)

i.

Fossil fuels supply most of the energy required in North America

ii.

They are
nonrenew
able resources
; formation does not keep pace with
current use

B.

How fossil fuels are formed

i.

Coal

was formed from the remains of ancient plants that lived millions
of years ago

ii.

Oil

was formed from the remains of ancient microscopic aquatic
organisms

iii.

Natural
gas

is composed primarily of
methane

and was created in
much the same way as oil, except at higher temperatures

III.

Coal

A.

In the 18
th

century, coal replaced wood as the dominant fuel in the Western
world

i.

Coal powered the steam engine and supplied the energy for

the
Industrial Revolution

ii.

Today it is used to produce electricity and steel

iii.

Coal consumption has surged in recent years in China and India

B.

Lignite, subbituminous coal, bituminous coal, and anthracite are the four most
common grades of coal

i.

Lignite

is a so
ft, moist coal that produces little heat and is often used to
power electric power plants

ii.

Subbituminous

coal has a relatively low heat value and sulfur content,
and is also used in coal
-
fired electrical power plants

iii.

Bituminous

(soft) coal produces substant
ially more heat that the lignite
or subbituminous, but also contains a higher sulfur content; it is used
extensively in electric power plants

iv.

Anthracite

(hard) coal is the highest grade of coal and produces the
fewest pollutants per unit of heat released (
due to low sulfur content);
it has the highest heat
-
producing capacity of any grade of coal

C.

Coal reserves

i.

Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel in the world, and is found
primarily in the Northern Hemisphere

ii.

World coal reserves could last more than 200 yea
rs at the present rate
of consumption

D.

Coal mining

i.

Surface mining

extracts the mineral and energy resources near Earth’s
surface by first removing soil, subsoil, and overlying rock strata

1.

It is used to obtain 60% of the coal mined in the U.S

2.

It is often ch
eaper, safer, and generally allows more complete
removal of coal from the ground

3.

It does, however, have the potential to cause more serious
environmental problems

ii.

Subsurface mining

extracts the mineral and energy resources from
deep underground deposits

E.

Sa
fety problems associated with coal

i.

During the 20
th

century, more than 90,000 American coal miners died
in mining accidents

ii.

Miners have increased risk of cancer and
black lung disease

F.

Environmental impacts of the mining process

i.

Prior to 1977 (SMCRA


the Su
rface Mining Control and Reclamation
Act), abandoned surface coal mines were usually left as large open pits
or trenches and streams were polluted with sediment and
acid mine
drainage

ii.

The SMCRA requires coal companies to restore areas that have been
surfac
e mined, requires permits and inspections of active coal mine
operations, and prohibits coal mining in sensitive areas

iii.

Mountaintop removal is one of the most land
-
destructive types of
surface mining; it uses a
dragline

to remove the mountain top to reach
t
he coal below

G.

Environmental impacts of burning coal

i.

The Earth’s CO
2

equilibrium has been disrupted by the enormous
amounts of CO
2

produced through fossil fuel consumption this past
century

ii.

This, in turn, has lead to a rise in global temperature and various

environmental issues associated with higher temperatures

1.

Melting of polar ice caps

2.

Rising sea levels

3.

Future flooding of coastal areas, increasing coastal erosion and
associated violent storms

iii.

Coal burning generally contributes more air pollutants (includi
ng CO
2
)
than does burning either oil or natural gas (i.e., mercury, sulfur oxides,
nitrogen oxides, and
acid deposition
)

H.

Making coal a cleaner fuel

i.

It is possible to reduce sulfur emissions associated with the
combustion of coal by installing
scrubbers

to
clean the power plant’s
exhaust

1.

Modern scrubbers remove 98% of the sulfur and 99% of the
particulate matter in smokestacks

2.

Desulfurization systems are very expensive

ii.

Selling the sulfurs or metals removed from polluted emissions as a
marketable product is c
alled
resource recovery


iii.

The
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990

required the nation’s 111
dirtiest coal
-
burning power plants to cut sulfur dioxide emissions

1.

This cut emissions by 3.8 million metric tons nationwide

2.

The second phase of this amendment called fo
r 200 additional
power plants to make SO
2

cuts by 2000

a.

This reduced the total annual emission by 10 million
metric tons nationwide

b.

A nationwide cap on SO
2

emissions was imposed after
2000

iv.

Clean coal technologies are new methods being developed for burning
coal that will not contaminate the atmosphere with sulfur oxides and
will significantly reduce nitrogen oxide contamination

1.

Fluidized
-
bed combustion

and
coal gasification and
liquefaction

are two new clean coal technologies

2.

These new technologies have litt
le impact on reducing CO
2

emissions

IV.

Oil and Natural Gas

A.

Beginning in the 1940s, oil and natural gas became increasingly important as
energy sources due to easier transport and cleaner burning

i.

In 2005, oil and natural gas supplied 63% of the energy used in
the
U.S.

ii.

In 2004, oil and natural gas supplied 60.6% of the world’s energy

B.

Petroleum (crude oil)

is separated into gases, gasoline, heating oil, diesel oil,
and asphalt during the refining process

C.

Oil is used to produce
petrochemicals

used in fertilizers,
plastics, paints,
pesticides, medicines, and synthetic fibers

D.

Natural gas is separated into propane, butane, and ethane; it costs four times
more to transport through pipelines than crude oil

i.

Liquefied petroleum gas

(propane and butane) is used as fuel for

heating and cooking

ii.

Natural gas is used to produce both electricity and steam in a process
called
cogeneration

iii.

Natural gas as a fuel for trucks, buses, and automobiles offers
significant environmental advantages over gasoline or diesel

E.

Exploration for oil

and natural gas

i.

Oil and natural gas deposits are usually discovered indirectly by the
detection of
structural traps
; geological analysis to find structural
traps is extremely expensive

ii.

Many important oil and natural gas deposits are found in association
w
ith
salt domes

F.

Reserves of oil and natural gas

i.

Distribution is uneven; a large share of total oil deposits are clustered
relatively close together (Persian Gulf region, Venezuela, Mexico,
Alaska, etc.)

ii.

Almost half of the world’s proved recoverable reserves

of natural gas
are located in Russia and Iran

iii.

Many countries engage in offshore drilling for oil despite problems
such as storms at sea and the potential for major oil spills

G.

How long will oil and natural gas supplies last?

i.

Some experts think that global
oil production has already reached
Peak
Oil

(aka Hubberts Peak), others believe it will be reached around 2035

ii.

About 80% of current production comes from oil fields discovered
before 1973, and most of these have started to decline in production

H.

Global oil
demand and supply

i.

The U.S. currently imports more than half of its oil; this dependence
has potential international security implications as well as economic
impacts

ii.

The imbalance between oil consumers and oil producers will probably
worsen in the future b
ecause the Persian Gulf region has much higher
proven reserves than other countries

I.

Environmental impacts of oil and natural gas

i.

Problems that result from burning fuels (combustion)

1.

Every gallon of gas burned in a car releases an estimated 9kg
of CO
2

into
the atmosphere; global warming results from
increased CO
2

in the atmosphere

2.

Increased acid deposition, photochemical smog, and increased
particulate matter result from combustion

ii.

Problems such as serious spills along transportation routes are
involved in o
btaining fuels

V.

Synfuels and Other Potential Fossil Fuel Resources

A.

Synfuels

are fuels that are similar or identical to the chemical composition of
oil or natural gas (i.e.,
tar sands, oil shales, gas hydrates, liquefied coal, and
coal gas
)

B.

Synfuels are more

expensive to produce than fossil fuels

C.

Environmental impacts of synfuels

i.

Synfuels have many of the same undesirable effects as fossil fuels

1.

Release of CO
2

and other pollutants into the atmosphere

2.

They require large amounts of water during production; limi
ted
usefulness in arid lands

ii.

Large areas of land would have to be surface mined to recover the fuel
in tar sands and oil shales

VI.

The U.S. Energy Strategy

A.

A comprehensive national energy policy should consider the following
elements

i.

Increase energy efficienc
y and conservation

ii.

Secure future fossil fuel energy supplies

iii.

Develop Alternative Energy Sources

iv.

Meet the first three objectives without further damage to the
environment

B.

How politics influences the national energy policy

i.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 focus
es largely on supporting energy
research for fossil fuels

ii.

Subsidies continue