Energy

  • Define energy density and energy efficiency and explain their importance.
  • Discuss how policy decisions shape energy resource and technology development.
  • Describe global energy use.
  • Define fossil fuel, and distinguish among coal, oil, and natural gas.
  • Describe the processes that formed coal, oil, and natural gas.
  • Relate fossil fuels to the carbon cycle
  • Distinguish between surface mining and subsurface mining.
  • Summarize the environmental problems associated with using coal.
  • Define resource recovery and fluidized-bed combustion.
  • Explain why many new coal plants will be designed to capture carbon dioxide.
  • Define structural trap and give two examples.
  • Explain what is meant by Peak Oil and why it might concern us.
  • Discuss the environmental problems of using oil and natural gas.
  • Summarize the continuing controversy surrounding oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Define synfuel and distinguish among tar sands, oil shales, gas hydrates, liquid coal, and coal gas.
  • Briefly consider the environmental implications of using synfuels.
  • Distinguish between nuclear energy and chemical energy.
  • Define radioactive decay.
  • Describe the nuclear fuel cycle, including the process of enrichment.
  • Define nuclear reactor and describe a typical nuclear power reactor.
  • Contrast conventional nuclear fission, breeder nuclear fission, and mixed oxide fuel fission and describe spent fuel.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of electric power produced by nuclear energy.
  • Describe the relationship between nuclear power and greenhouse gas reduction.
  • Describe the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima.
  • Discuss the link between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.
  • Distinguish between low-level and high-level radioactive wastes.
  • Explain the pros and cons of on-site storage and deep geologic disposal.
  • Briefly describe how future nuclear power reactors will differ from current plants.
  • Distinguish between active and passive solar heating and describe how each is used.
  • Contrast the advantages and disadvantages of solar thermal electric generation and photovoltaic solar cells in converting solar energy into electricity.
  • Define biomass, explain why it is an example of indirect solar energy, and outline how it is used as a source of energy.
  • Describe the locations that can make optimum use of wind energy and of hydropower, and compare the potential of wind energy and hydropower.
  • Describe geothermal energy and tidal energy, the two forms of renewable energy that are not direct or indirect results of solar energy.
  • Distinguish between energy conservation and energy efficiency.
  • Explain the role hydrogen could play as a future fuel source.
  • Describe how a fuel cell works.
  • Describe several possible choices to power on-road vehicles.
  • Provide several examples of energy-efficient technologies.

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