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HO8102 ENERGY UTILIZATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Energy is fundamental to the quality of our lives. Nowadays, we are totally dependent on an abundant and uninterrupted supply of energy for living and working. It is a key ingredient in all sectors of modern economies. Energy provides us with heat and electricity daily. It powers our industry, transport and modern way of life. In future direction, energy supply must be sustainable and diverse. And energy should be used more efficiently. This is reason enough to promote alternative environmentally friendly energy sources. The consequences of energy dependence are likely to be an unpredictable energy supply and probably higher energy prices. As human population has increased, the use of fossil fuels and its potential population has also increased. Energy becomes an indispensable factor in the survival of people and nations and the progress of a country. The major uses of energy includes: food production, and agriculture, transportation, residential and commercial lighting, cooling and heating systems, mining, smelting and industrial processes and in the generation of electricity. Increased efficiency in the use of energy, conservation and the expanded use of alternative source are essential to attain the goal of sustainable development.
IMPORTANCE OF ENERGY
Agriculture Energy is used extensively in agriculture in the recent times w/c can be inferred from increased in farm machineries, increased use of electricity and the increased use of energy to produce herbicides, insecticides & fertilizers. The impacts of energy dependence now on energy can also be felt on the prices of commodities. Shortage of energy supplies runs the risk of food shortages in many countries of the world. This would make us anticipate using less chemical fertilizers and pesticides that consume a lot of energy to produce; to rely more on natural or organic fertilizers; to practice more scientific forms of crop rotation. Transportation is about 25% of the energy such as gasoline & diesel in the world is used for transportation. For this reason, the demand for petroleum has increased even faster. Home appliances. The increasing use of energy in the home is largely due to the increasing use of labor-saving appliances like washing machines, electric polishers, vacuum cleaners, rice cookers and the like. The more appliances you have and the
more frequent you use them, the more energy you consume. Much worse is the careless and unwise use of these appliances such as not switching them off when not in use. Industry. The production of all metals, synthetic chemicals and other materials and the fabrication of finished products are some of the industrial processes that consume large amounts of energy. Generation of electricity. Energy is also being used to produce electricity w/c is actually a secondary energy source. It needs a primary energy source to turn the generator. Coal and oil are usually the major fuel used in generating electricity. The use of fuels or other energy sources to produce electricity has some distinct environmental impacts. These include alternation or destruction of land resulting from mining of fuels or the building of dams for hydroelectric power. Pollution and accumulation of hazardous waste products resulting from the utilization of fuel and thermal pollution from waste heat.
§ About 90% of the world’s energy consumed in industrialized countries is produced by oil, natural gas and coal. § These materials were buried in sediments and after millions of years were converted into fossil fuels. § They are essentially nonrenewable and the resource itself is finite.
ENERGY SOURCES Fossil fuels are stored solar energy collected by the plants through photosynthesis. It was created from incomplete biological decomposition of dead organic matter when they were buried and escaped oxidation. They produce hydrocarbons and eventually fossils as sedimentary rocks. Fossil Fuels: Coal is a solid fossil fuel formed in several stages as buried remains of plants that lived 300-400 million years ago were subjected to intense heat and pressure over many millions of years. Coal contains small amounts of sulfur, released into the atmosphere as SO2 when coal is burned. Natural gas is a gas consisting primarily of methane. It is found associated with other fossil fuels, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is created by methanogenic organisms in marshes, bogs, and landfills. It is an important fuel source, a major feedstock for fertilizers, and a potent greenhouse gas.
Petroleum or Crude oil (oil as it comes out of the ground) is a thick liquid consisting of hundreds of combustible hydrocarbons along with small amounts of sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen impurities/ This fossil fuel was produced by the decomposition of dead organic matter from plants (primarily plankton) and animals that were buried under lake and ocean sediments 2-140 million years ago. ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF ENERGY Geothermal energy is power extracted from heat stored in the earth. This energy originates from the original formation of the planet, from radioactive decay of minerals, and from solar energy absorbed at the surface. It has been used for bathing since Paleolithic times and for space heating since ancient Roman times, but is now better known for generating electricity. Worldwide, geothermal plants have the capacity to generate about 10 giga watts of electricity as of 2007, and in practice supply 0.3% of global electricity demand. An additional 28 giga watts of direct heating capacity is installed for district heating, space heating, spas, industrial processes, desalination and agricultural applications.
Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, but has historically been limited to areas near tectonic plate boundaries. Recent technological advances have dramatically expanded the range and size of viable resources, especially for applications such as home heating, opening a potential for widespread exploitation. Geothermal wells release greenhouse gases trapped deep within the earth, but these emissions are much lower per energy unit than those of fossil fuels. As a result, geothermal power has the potential to help mitigate global warming if widely deployed in place of fossil fuels. Solar energy is a radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used. Tidal power, sometimes also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into electricity or other useful forms of power. Tidal energy works from the power of changing tides. Tidal changes in sea level can be used to generate electricity, by building a dam across a coastal bay or estuary with large differences between low and high tides. Tide is the daily rise and fall of ocean levels relative to coastlines, as a result of the gravitational force of the moon and sun as well as the revolution of the earth.
Biogas typically refers to a gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas originates from biogenic material and is a type of biofuel. One type of biogas is produced by anaerobic digestion or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as biomass, manure, sewage, municipal waste,green waste and energy crops. This type of biogas comprises primarily methane and carbon dioxide. The other principal type of biogas is wood gaswhich is created by gasification of wood or other biomass. This type of biogas is comprised primarily of nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide, with trace amounts of methane.
ENERGY CRISES AND CONSERVATION Energy crisis is any great bottleneck (or price rise) in the supply of energy resources to an economy. In popular literature though, it often refers to one of the energy sources used at a certain time and place. Market failure is possible when monopoly manipulation of markets occurs. A crisis can develop due to industrial actions like union organized strikes and government embargoes. The cause may be over-consumption, aging infrastructure, choke point disruption or bottlenecks at oil refineries and port facilities that restrict fuel supply. An emergency may emerge during unusually cold winters due to increased consumption of energy. Pipeline failures and other accidents may cause minor interruptions to energy supplies. A crisis could possibly emerge after infrastructure damage from severe weather. Attacks by terrorists or militia on important infrastructure are a possible problem for energy consumers, with a successful strike on a Middle East facility potentially causing global shortages. Political events, for example, when governments change due to regime change, monarchy collapse, military occupation, and coup may disrupt oil and gas production and create shortages. Energy Conservation is achieved through efficient energy use, in which case energy use is decreased while achieving a similar outcome, or by reduced consumption of energy services. Energy conservation may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national security, personal security, and human comfort Individuals and organizations that are direct consumers of energy may want to conserve energy in order to reduce energy costs and promote economic security. Industrial and commercial users may want to increase efficiency and thus maximize profit. Electrical energy conservation is an important element of energy policy. Energy conservation reduces the energy consumption and energy demand per capita and thus offsets some of the growth in energy supply needed to keep up with population growth. This reduces the rise in energy costs, and can reduce the need for new
power plants, and energy imports. The reduced energy demand can provide more flexibility in choosing the most preferred methods of energy production. By reducing emissions, energy conservation is an important part of lessening climate change. Energy conservation facilitates the replacement of nonrenewable resourceswith renewable energy. Energy conservation is often the most economical solution to energy shortages, and is a more environmentally benign alternative to increased energy production.
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