Fossil Fuels and Carbon Capture
Crude oil, natural gas and coal are all examples of non-renewable energy resources. This means that they will run out, as humans are using them faster than they can be created. When burned, these non-renewable energy sources release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. The mining and transport of them also releases carbon dioxide, which makes fossil fuels very bad for the environment. Despite this, they do have many advantages as well- we have been using fossil fuels for such a long time that the technology needed for them is very advanced, and more than that, reliable. Fossil fuels are also able to produces very large amounts of energy. In a fossil fuel power station, the fuel is combusted to produce thermal energy. This energy is used to evaporate water, which, as steam, moves the turbines. The turbines are connected to a generator, where the electrical energy is produced. Carbon capture is when the carbon dioxide produced in the combustion of fuels is captured and stored underground in old oil fields before it can escape into the atmosphere.
Nuclear power can be used to generate electricity. Uranium and plutonium atoms undergo nuclear fission causing them to produce vast amounts of thermal energy. This heat energy is used to boil water into steam, which then forces the turbines to rotate, like in a thermal power station. Again, the turbines are linked to a generator, allowing electricity to be produced. No carbon dioxide is produced in nuclear power, so it doesn't contribute to global warming. Furthermore, uranium and plutonium will not run out for thousands of years, so whilst nuclear power is not renewable, it can sustain human activity for a long time. However, the electricity produced can be very expensive due to the building and decommissioning of the power plant. The plant has a very slow start up time, so it is difficult to control how much energy is being generated. The plants can also cause visual pollution. The waste from a nuclear power plant is highly radioactive, meaning it has to be buried very deep underground to avoid causing any damage to people or the environment. There is a constant risk of an accident in which this radioactive waste may be released into the environment.
Biomass and Biofuels
Biofuels are a renewable energy source. As…