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Lecture 17

11:375:101 Lecture 17: Non-Renewable_Energy

Environmental Sciences
Course Code
Craig Phelps

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Non-Renewable Energy
Chapter 15: Nonrenewable Energy
15-1: What Type of Energy Resources Do We Use
90% of the commercial energy used in the world comes from nonrenewable
Oil, natural gas, and coal
Energy resources vary greatly in their net energy
Amount of energy available from a resource minus the amount of energy
needed to make it available
Where Does the Energy We Use Come From?
Energy that heats the Earth comes from the Sun
Commercial energy is sold in the marketplace
Oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy
Solar, hydropower, biomass, geothermal, and wind
Net Energy Is the Only Energy That Really Counts
Net energy yield
Total amount of useful energy available from a resource minus the
energy needed to make the energy available to consumers
Energy return on investment
Energy obtained per unit energy used to obtain it
15-2: What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Oil?
Conventional crude oil is abundant and has a medium net energy yield, but using
it causes air and water pollution and releases greenhouse gases to the atmosphere
Unconventional heavy oil from oil shale rock and tar sands exists in potentially
large supplies but has a low net energy yield and a higher environmental impact
than conventional oil
We Depend Heavily on Oil
Crude oil (petroleum)
Crude oil cannot be used as it comes out of the ground
Must be refined
Petrochemicals - byproducts
Are We Running Out of Conventional Oil?
Availability determined by:
Rate at which we remove the oil
Cost of making oil available

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Market price
Proven oil reserves - available deposits
Unconventional heavy oil
Higher environment cost; production cost
Three major options:
Live with much higher oil prices
Extend oil supplies
Use other energy sources
Use of Conventional Oil Has Environmental Costs
Land disruption, greenhouse gas emission, air pollution, water pollution,
and loss of biodiversity
Burning oil accounts for 43% of global CO2 emissions
Ample supply for several decades
Net energy yield is medium but decreasing
Low land disruption
Efficient distribution system
Water pollution from oil spills and leaks
Environmental costs not included in market price
Releases CO2 and other air pollutants when burned
Vulnerable to international supply interruptions
Heavy Oil From Oil Shale Rock
Oil shales contain kerogen
Oil precursor
After distillation - shale oil
72% of the world’s reserve is in arid areas of western United States
Locked up in rock
Lack of water needed for extraction and processing
Low net energy yield
Heavy Oil from Tar Sands
Tar sand contains bitumen
Thick, sticky, tar-like heavy oil
Extensive deposits in Canada and Venezuela
Oil sands have more oil than in Saudi Arabia
Serious environmental impact
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