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  • Subject area(s): Engineering
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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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Erin Allbritton



Professor Van Breukelen

Chapter 12-Review Questions

1. What is active solar energy? Passive solar energy? Active solar energy is described as a system that collects and helps to absorb the sun’s energy by using pumps or fans to distribute collected beat. Passive solar energy is an energy system by putting the sun’s energy to use without requiring mechanical devices to distribute the collected heat.

2. What are the advantages of producing electricity by solar thermal energy? By photovoltaic (PV) solar cells? The advantage of producing electricity by using solar thermal energy shows solar thermal energy systems have been inherently more efficient than other solar technologies.  The energy system concentrates with the sun\'s energy.  The solar thermal energy concentrates on the sun’s energy and solar thermal plants do not produce air pollution or contribute to acid rain or global warming. But with improved engineering, manufacturing, and construction methods, the solar thermal energy system becomes cost-competitive with fossil fuels. The photovoltaic (PV) cells generate electricity without pollution and has minimal maintenance. The PV cells are used on any scale from small, can provide portable modules to large, and can be measured in multi-megawatt power plants. But one of the benefits of using PV devices for utility companies shows the cells can be purchased as small modular units. The PV cells then become operational; but only for a short period.  5000 MW of electricity worldwide (it is equivalent to 5 nuclear power plants) account for about 15% of global electricity and they generate electricity with no pollution and minimal maintenance. Utility companies purchase PV elements to increase its generating capacity in small increments, rather than committing a billion dollars or more and a decade or more of construction of a massive conventional power plant.  

3. What is biomass? Biomass are plant materials such as wood, crop wastes, and animal waste being used as fuel.

4. What are advantages and disadvantages of using wind to produce electricity? Of using hydropower to produce electricity? Advantages and disadvantages of using wind to produce electricity: To produce electricity, wind energy gets cost-competitive with many forms of conventional energy. But harnessing wind energy will is the most profitable in rural areas and wind energy does not cause big environmental problems. But there have been reports of bird and bat kills causing a concern. Wind energy is produced with no emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, or nitrogen oxides. But every kilowatt-hour of electricity is being generated by wind power; but it is better than fossil fuels by preventing at least 1 to 2 lbs of a greenhouse gas called CO2 from entering the atmosphere. But the biggest problems for wind are the cost and the ability to have public resistance. But hydropower is energy-efficient more than the other energy sources by producing 90% of electricity by providing available hydropower energy; which is converted and generates into electricity. But a problem associated with hydropower consists of building a dam; which causes a change by having a natural flow of from rivers. In many regions, a reservoir cause results by having greater evaporations of water. Reservoirs have a larger surface area by contacting with the air more than the stream or river would. Reservoirs cause problems such as serious water loss and increased salinity; which causes the remaining water may occur. But if dams break, many people and property down-streams can end up being endangered. Because of dams and reservoirs by producing electricity with wind problems could occur, such as waterborne diseases like schistosomiasis could spread throughout a population. But dams could cost a great deal to build and can be inexpensive to operate. Dams have a limited life span and can usually last about 50 to 200 years. The lifespan for dams is quite long; because reservoir fills in with silt until it can’t hold enough water to allow the wind to generate electricity over time.

5. What are the pros and cons of using geothermal energy to produce electricity? Or using tidal power? Geothermal energy and tidal power have a lot of pros and cons by using geothermal energy and tidal energy to produce electricity.  For the pros of using geothermal energy, the electricity geothermal power stations generate are very inexpensive and reliable. The geothermal energy rises from the heat within the Earth’s core. The core causes friction from where continental plates slide over one another and it’s from the decay that is contained from the radioactive elements. If the geothermal energy is renewable. But the heat provides a main source for geothermal energy by allowing the geothermal energy to show how the planet is inexhaustible on a human time scale. Water is being used by transferring the heat to the surface. But the surface is not inexhaustible. But the geothermal energy is environmentally compared to many conventional fossil fuel-based energy technologies only by a fraction caused by air pollutants. A potential problem consists of having an environmental hazard is well associated with geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is contained with an emission of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. The hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas comes has a large amount of dissolved minerals and salts only located on streams or hot water. The hydrothermal reservoirs have contained hot water and possibly steam. Hydrothermal reservoirs are tapped by drilled wells and the hot fluids are brought to the surface and helps supply heat directly or to conduct electricity. But the good thing that is associated with geothermal energy shows the surrounding land can subside, or sink in the water from hot springs and the connecting underground reservoirs can be removed. Geothermal energy comes from a hot, dry rock and is one of the expensive ways to produce energy, but greatly expands the extent and use of geothermal resources. However, the water from high tides contain an enormous amount of potential energy. Geothermal energy helps heat and cool buildings. But the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) calculates and gives the estimates of the geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) and the pumps are the most efficient heating systems available.  But the geothermal energy is at least two to three times more efficient than other heating methods and by producing the lowest CO2 emissions. But the water contains a rather large amount of potential energy just like the high tides and have been compared to the low tides. Tidal power are captured with dams; whether it’s across from across the bay or a turbine. Tidal power works a lot like a wind turbine and converts into electricity. For tidal power, the total global production only contains a couple of MWe, and will not be expected to increase much in the future.

6. What is the difference between chemical energy and nuclear energy?  The chemical energy is different compared to nuclear energy because chemical energy is a part of energy in a substance being released by a chemical reaction and chemical energy is stored in electrons. Chemical energy is available from chemical bonds caused by two atoms.  Nuclear energy is energy being released by nuclear fission or a fusion. Nuclear energy has reactions being produced 100,000 times per atom from the amounts of energy provided. Nuclear is more powerful and will be found in the nucleus.

7. In generating electricity, how do the environmental effects of coal combustion and conventional nuclear fission compare? The environmental effects of coal and conventional nuclear fission compare to generating electricity because coal combustion releases a lot of toxic pollution and conventional nuclear fission can cause hazardous health effects.

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