GCSE Design and Technology AQA (8552) Unit 2: Energy Generation

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  • Created on: 13-02-19 10:36

Fossil Fuels

  • Fossil fuels are formed from the fossilised remains of plants and animals over millions of years
  • Coal, oil and gas are extracted through mining and drilling
  • Fossil fuels are considered a finite resource as they take a few million years to form, and humans are using them significantly faster than the environment can replace.
  • They are relied upon for power generation because they are effective and they are a cheap source of energy
  • Extraction of fossil fuels can disrupt the environment, especially open cast mining.

Energy Generation

  • Fossil fuels can be burned to superheat water under pressure, which in turn, drives turbines
  • Chemical energy from fuel is turned into heat, in the form of superheated steam
  • The steam drives turbines, converting heat to kinetic energy
  • Kinetic energy drives the shaft which spins an electricity generator, converting kinetic energy to electricity
  • The electrical energy is transferred to the National Grid by pylons, where it is used.


  • Fracking involves drilling into layers of shale rock deep in the earth to release pockets of gas
  • Water, sand and chemicals are injected into a well in order to force gas up
  • The water pressure creates fissures in the rock which open up areas with gas
  • Sand stops the fissures from closing up, and allow the gas to flow into the well pipe
  • Chemicals can contaminate nearby water tables used for drinking


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