Energy Resources Study Guide

Energy Resources Study Guide
Vocabulary Words
Fossil Fuels: energy rich substances formed over millions of years from the remains of once-living
Combustion: the process of burning a fuel to release energy
Petrochemicals: compounds that are made from oil
Biomass fuels: wood, plant wastes, manure, and other fuels made from living things
Gasohol: a mixture of alcohol and gasoline used as fuel
Geothermal energy: intense heat from Earth’s interior
Refinery: a factory where crude oil is separated into fuels and other products by heating
Reactor vessel: the section of a nuclear reactor where nuclear fission occurs
Nucleus: the central core of an atom that contains the protons and neutrons
Fuel rods: rods of uranium-235 that produce fission reactions
Walking to the library instead of driving a car is an example of energy conservation
Coal accounts for approximately 23% of the energy used in the US
The process of burning a fuel to release energy is called combustion
A layer of material that blocks the transfer of heat between the air inside and the air outside a building
is known as insulation
In a nuclear reactor, fission reactions are controlled by inserting control rods
Energy given off by the sun in the form of heat and light is called solar energy
A factory in which crude oil is separated into fuels and other products is a refinery
The splitting of an atom’s nucleus into two smaller nuclei is called nuclear fission
Electricity produced by flowing water is called hydroelectric power
A substance that provides a form of energy as the result of a chemical change is a fuel
Describe how a hydroelectric power plant produces electricity – a dam across a river blocks the flow of
water and creates an artificial lake called a reservoir. Water flows through tunnels at the bottom of the
dam. As the water moves through the tunnels, it turns turbines. The turbine’s shaft is connected to
magnets surrounded by coils of copper wire. As the shaft rotates, the magnets turn inside the wire coils,
producing an electric current
How does using fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs help conserve energy –
fluorescent light bulbs convert less energy to heat and more to light than incandescent bulbs do. As a
result, fluorescent bulbs require less electrical energy to produce the same amount of light as
incandescent bulbs
Give three reasons why it is important for the US to become less dependent on fossil fuels – fossil
fuels are nonrenewable; if we keep using them at our present rate, we will eventually run out. Burning
fossil fuels produces much more air pollution than using renewable energy sources such as solar energy,
wind, and flowing water. The US does not produce as much oil as we use; being dependent on imported
oil can cause serious problems during a political crisis. Fossil fuels are expensive to mine or refine
How are fossil fuels and biomass fuels alike? How are they different – both types of fuels provide
energy when burned. Both are derived from living things. Fossil fuels are formed from organisms that
died and were transformed into other substances by heat and pressure over millions of years. Biomass
fuels are obtained from organisms that were alive recently or are still living
Is nuclear fission a nonrenewable or renewable energy source? Would nuclear fusion be a
nonrenewable or renewable source? Explain your answers – nuclear fission is a nonrenewable energy
source because rods of uranium-235 are needed to produce the nuclear reactions, and Earth’s supply of
uranium is limited. Nuclear fusion would be considered a renewable source because the fuel is
contained in water, which is plentiful on Earth
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