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Chapter 14

ENVS 137 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Energy Conversion Efficiency, Kern River Oil Field, Renewable Energy

Environmental Science
Course Code
ENVS 137

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Case Study
“How much oil is actually available is determined by the technologies that are available
to extract it and the cost of applying these to the relative price of the resource”
Originally used whale oil → prices increased, whale population declines → late 1800s oil
refining from crude oil developed (kerosene) - drove up demand - drove up price →
constant drilling → by 1955 energy and economic costs exceeded benefits of production
→ wells shut down, pollutants dumped → new technologies to expand life of oil fields,
water treatment, but now air pollution → 1980s oil prices collapsed, stiff air quality
regulations → developed natural gas - byproduct of oil production (burns cleaner than
oil) → level of production of oil field can’t be sustained
^Kern River Oil Field
14.1: Energy Production
Energy Sources
Classify energy by its source
Primary energy - energy contained in natural resources(e.g. coal, oil, sunlight, uranium)
^can be changed into other forms of energy through process of energy conversion
→ Secondary energy - primary forms of energy (oil) → converted to secondary
(electricity, kinetic energy of car)
End use - the final application of energy (ex. Running an appliance, driving a car)
2nd law of thermodynamics - no energy conversion is 100% efficient (lost as heat)
Energy conversion efficiency - the percentage of primary source energy that is
captured in a secondary form of energy (ex. Coal burned for electricity - 70% lost as heat
→ therefore efficiency of the conversion from chemical to electrical energy = only 30%)
Energy end-use efficiency - the product of the efficiencies of all the energy conversions
from the primary source to the end use (ex. 100 units of coal → 1.2 units light energy =
1.2% end-use efficiency)
Reserves (of primary energy source) - the total amount that can be exploited
Production - the amount of energy source extracted from reserves during a particular
time (ex. Oil production expressed in barrels/metric tons per year)
Consumption - the amount of a primary energy source that is actually used during a
particular time
Production and consumption rates vary in different regions (e.g. US consumes more oil
than produces → imports from regions like Middle East)
Nonrenewable energy - derived from sources that exist in limited quantities or from
sources that are replenished at rates well below rate of consumption (e.g. fossil fuels
(coal, petroleum, natural gas), nuclear energy (uranium, exists in limited amounts))
Renewable energy - derived from sources that are not depleted when they are used
(e.g. sunlight, wind), or that can be replenished in a short period of time (e.g. fuelwood)
Current global energy needs - 79% fossil fuels, 5% nuclear, 6% hydro, 10%
biomass/fuelwood, less than 1% other forms renewable energy (wind, solar)
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