Geography: Energy Issues

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Fundamental division between different types of energy = renewable (Flow) resources and non-renewable (Stock) resources.

Fossil Fuels

  • Coal - created when trees and vegetation died and were covered in sediments and thus preserved, so it formed as seams of rock in between layers of sandstone and shale.
  • Oil - Formed from the remains of microscopic sea creatures that died and fell to the bottom of the sea floor. Covered by layers of sediment, compressing them and heat and pressure then turned this into oil. This percolated upwards until it hit a layer of impermeable rock, forming an oil reservoir.
  • Natural Gas - Usually lighter than so lies on top of oil.

Cause problems due to hydrocarbons. They are compounds that contain hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms. When the fuel is used, the carbon combines with oxygen and produces heat plus carbon dioxide. They also contain impurities, but natural gas has fewer than coal and oil, but these impurities can lead to the formation of acid rain.

UK's energy mix

Used to be largely self-reliant for energy, but with gradual depletion of oil and gas reserves have led to an increase in imports.

Energy mix = the


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