REM 100 Study Guide - Final Guide: Renewable Resource, Cogeneration, Waste Heat

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REM 100 Review
Resources:
Renewable resource:
A resource that is replaced by natural processes – e.g. timber, fish
When exploited a renewable resource tends to recover towards its carrying
capacity
If the rate of harvest = the rate of recovery the resource will be stable at a
lower level of abundance
The rate of harvest is then a sustainable yield
However, if the rate of harvest exceeds the rate of renewal the resource will
become depleted – sometimes termed ‘mining’
Non-renewable or exhaustible resource
A resource that is not replaced by natural processes on a humanly relevant
time scale – e.g. minerals, fossil fuels
Of course, matter is not destroyed, but it is dissipated by mining and use
Material resources are usually extracted from regions of relatively high
concentration, but even with re-cycling, some material cannot be recovered
and eventually the material becomes more dispersed In the environment
In the case of fuels, energy cannot be recycled; it is dissipated as low
grade heat that is eventually lost into space
Throughput resources:
A throughput resource is one that is effectively in a constant supply e.g.
energy from the sun, water, wind
A throughput resource cannot be depleted, nor can it be enhanced
Assimilative capacity:
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The amount of a residue that the environment can absorb by converting
into a harmless or ecologically useful substance
Assimilative capacity is akin to a renewable resource; if the rate of
discharge of residue is sufficiently low, no environmental harm occurs.
If the rate of discharge is too high the concentration of the residue will
exceed the assimilative capacity and environmental harm will occur
Recycling
While matter can be recycled, energy cannot be
However, waste heat from one process can be used in another process
that used heat at a lower temperature – e.g. co-generation
Recycling can recover raw material, but further energy is expended
However, the energy required in recycling is often less that the energy
required to make the substance from raw material
e.g. Aluminium, glass, steel
What types of resources are these?
Oxygen – renewable/throughput
Copper – non renewable
Rain -throughput
Steam from a geyser - throughput
Moose - renewable
Hydroelectricity - throughput
Natural gas – renewable & non-renewable
Key questions
Why do we create environmental problems?
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- Population growth
- Consumerism
- not thinking before we do
What can we do to abate or prevent them?
-Admit and problem solve/ get a few good ideas
-Apply those ideas and study results
-Precautionary method
What is sustainable development and how do we achieve it?
-It is being able to sustain or reuse everything so we can keep the
population and everything super-efficient instead of just expanding
-Educate the people after us
What are the extra problems we face when we try to tackle environmental
problems that are global in scale?
-Convincing other country’s to follow one plan as everyone has a
different opinion
-Unforeseen consequences to radical solutions
The great Transformation
The transformation of the biosphere from its natural state by human action
During the great transformation the elements of the biosphere have been
altered by human activities, often substantially
However, the natural state of the environment is a difficult concept because
the environment has undergone considerable change since the end of the
last ice-age
This becomes an enduring question in environmental debate
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