Science of Energy

Where does energy come from? How do we use it? What are the many different forms of energy?

Download information about each type of energy at the links below.

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Fossil Fuel Technology: If we did not have petroleum products, how would our day be different? It’s not a coincidence that civilization – science, education, and the arts – has advanced as energy usage has increased. Harnessing energy and putting it to work frees people from the time-consuming labor of making food, clothing, and shelter. Learn about the many different kinds of fossil fuels that power our daily lives.

Biomass:  Biomass is the oldest source of energy since wood was first burned to create heat. It remains the world’s widest used energy source today. Learn more about the origin and uses of this alternative energy source.

Coal: Coal is cheap, abundant and has a strong correlation between supply and demand. China, India and the US use the most coal. The US has more energy resources in coal reserves than the Middle East has in petroleum, but whether it is used to generate electricity or liquid fuels, coal produces large amounts of carbon dioxide.

Geothermal Energy: as the word implies is heat from deep in the earth. It is a clean, renewable energy source because it relies on a practically unlimited source of heat from the earth.

Hydroelectric Energy: Hydroelectric energy comes from the force of flowing water and has been used for centuries.It is the most widely used form of renewable energy in the United States and the world.

Natural Gas: Natural gas is a nonrenewable fossil fuel formed deep in the earth, much like oil and coal. It is mostly methane which is a natural compound that forms when plant and animal matter decays. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.

Nuclear Energy: The United States has 104 commercial nuclear reactors which currently produce about 20% of our national electricity. Inside a nuclear power plant, uranium atoms are split apart in a process called fission which releases heat energy. This heat energy is used to boil water in the core of the reactor to produce steam. The steam then powers the turbine which in turn generates electricity.

Oil: We use oil wells to locate and pump the oil out of the ground. Some wells can be 2 miles long. Much oil is found offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and there is potential for more oil on the east and west coasts.

Solar Energy: The sun is the ultimate source of all energy on earth. The sun’s warmth and light produce solar energy. More energy from sunlight strikes Earth in an hour than all the energy consumed on the planet in a year.

Wind Energy: Wind energy is a clean, renewable energy source used for electricity generation. It is the fastest growing energy source in the nation and the world.