Energy Resources Alternative Sources. Chapter 15

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1 Energy Resources Alternative Sources Chapter 15

2 World energy production by source, 2006

3 World energy consumption, historic and projected to 2030 a 50% increase from

4 Nuclear Power - Fission Fission splitting apart the atom releases energy Currently commercially feasible Uranium-235 fuels most fission reactors A controlled chain reaction occurs with continuous and moderate release of energy The energy release heats water within the core of a reactor This heat is transferred through heat exchangers to outer loops where steam generation is possible for generating power or propulsion

5 U-235 nuclear fission and chain reaction neutron capture by U-235 causes fission into 2 smaller nuclei + neutrons which in turn cause fission in other U-235 nuclei

6 Conventional nuclear fission reactor

7 Geology of Uranium 95% of uranium found in sedimentary (or metasedimentary) rocks Generally found in sandstones Uranium is weathered from other rocks and deposited by migrating ground water Minor amounts of uranium are present in many crustal rocks Granitic rocks and carbonates may be rich in uranium Uranium oxide (U 3 O 8 ): yellowcake

8

9 Extending the Nuclear Fuel Supply Uranium-235 is not the only fuel useful for fissionreactors Uranium-238 can absorb a neutron and converts to plutonium-239 and is fissionable U-238 makes up 99.3% of natural uranium, most abundant isotope And over 90% of reactorgrade enriched uranium Plutonium can be extracted by reprocessing spent fuel Could reduce demand for new enriched uranium

10 Breeder reactor can maximize the production of other radioactive fuels - Expensive and complex - None in US Congress cut funding for the Clinch River breeder reactor - France Superphenix, now decommissioned, surplus neutrons are used to produce more fissionable material

11 Concerns Related Nuclear Reactor Safety Nuclear reactor safety is a serious undertaking Controlled release of very minor amounts of radiation occur Major concerns are with accidents and sabotage Loss of coolant in the core could produce a core meltdown This event could allow the fuel and core materials to melt into an unmanageable mass and then migrate out of the containment structure Could result in a catastrophic release of radiation into the environment Reactors must be located away from active faults

12 Three Mile Island Reactors partial meltdown March 1979

13 Chernobyl 26 April 1986, reactor four suffered a catastrophic power increase, leading to explosions in its core. This dispersed large quantities of radioactive fuel and core materials into the atmosphere and ignited the combustible graphite moderator. The burning graphite moderator increased the emission of radioactive particles, carried by the smoke, as the reactor had not been encased by any kind of hard containment vessel. The accident occurred during an experiment scheduled to test a potential safety emergency core cooling feature, which took place during the normal shutdown procedure.

14 Chernobyl power plant in 2003 with the sarcophagus containment structure New Safe Containment to be completed by 2013

15 The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant March 11

16 Concerns Related to Fuel Handling Miners are exposed to higher levels of radioactivity than the general population Tailings piles are exposed to weather and the uranium is mobilized into the environment Easy to convert into nuclear weapons material Uranium (enriched) is serious security problem

17 Radioactive Wastes Energy produced by nuclear fission produces radioactive wastes Difficult to treat No long-term, permanent storage or disposal sites in operation Nuclear power plants are decommissioned once operations cease Expensive to decommission these plants Abundant radioactive contaminated material associated with these plants that must be permanently stored somewhere and safely

18 Ages of reactors world wide March 2009

19 Risk Assessment and Risk Projection No energy source is risk-free with acceptable risk 8% of U.S. energy is supplied by nuclear power in 2002 Nuclear-plant cancellation is not without its costs Nuclear plants have lower fueling and operating costs than coal-fired plants Reliance on nuclear power varies widely Different people weigh the pros and cons of nuclear fission power in different ways

20 Figure 15.9 U.S. nuclear power plants

21 Percentage of electricity generated by nuclear fission varies greatly by country

22 Nuclear Power - Fusion Nuclear fusion is the opposite of nuclear fission Sun is a gigantic fusion reactor Fusion is a cleaner form nuclear power than fission Fusion involves combining smaller nuclei to form larger ones Can produces abundant energy Hydrogen is plentiful and is the raw material required Fusion difficult to achieve given current technology Theoretical not yet economically attained

23 Solar Energy Abundant solar energy reaches the earths surface Be dissipated in various ways Solar energy is free, clean, and a renewable resource Limitations are latitude and climate Solar Heating Passive solar heating: no mechanical assistance Active solar heating: mechanical circulation of solar-heated water Solar Electricity Photovoltaic cells Map Watts/m2

24 Passive Solar Heating

25 Active Solar Heating

26 Figure A photovoltaic cell for the generation of electricity

27 Figure 15.15Using solar heat to create steam, power generators

28 Schemes for storing solar energy: use solar energy to break up water molecule into H 2 and O 2 to later be burned to release energy

29 Other possibilities for using solar energy: use solar energy to pump water to higher elevation, then release to generate hydroelectric power

30 Geothermal Power The earth contains a great deal of heat, most of it left over from its early history, some generated by decay of radioactive elements in the earth Interior of the earth is very hot Abundant source of heat and hot water Magma rising into the crust bring abundant heat up into the crust as geothermal energy Heat escaping from the magma heats water and the water convectively circulates

31 Geothermal energy

32 Figure Geothermal power plants worldwide

33 Geothermal Power Applications of Geothermal Energy Circulating geothermal water (not steam yet) through buildings to heat them Use the hot geothermal water to raise the temperature of other water to reduce cost of heating that water Geothermal water can be used to run electric generators by direct contact with turbines, or by converting a secondary fluid to vapor for driving turbines (binary geothermal power plant). Environmental Considerations Some locations have sulfur gases in the geothermal fluids Other chemical (caustic) elements may be present that can clog geothermal circulation systems

34 Figure The Geysers geothermal power complex

35 Alternative Geothermal Sources Many areas away from plate boundaries have high geothermal gradients These areas contain hot-dry-rock type geothermal resources Deep drilling into such rocks may produce appreciable amounts of geothermal energy

36 Hydropower Falling or flowing water has long been used to produce energy for humans Hydroelectric power produces less than 5% of U.S. energy requirement Typically, a stream is dammed and the discharge is regulated to produce electricity Hydropower is clean and non-polluting Hydropower is renewable as long as streams have water flowing in them Damming streams, though, changes their ecosystem, often in a negative way

37 Water use for hydropower generation

38 Hydropower is currently the dominant single renewable energy resource in the US, though combined, biofuels now surpass it.

39 Limitations on Hydropower Development Reservoirs tend to: Silt up Increase surface area exposed to evaporation Destroy habitats Encourage earthquakes Expensive to build Reservoirs are stationary power sources

40 Glen Canyon Dam, Az -

41 Tidal Power and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Limited energy production possible Not enough difference in high-tide versus low-tide displacement of water (only about 1 meter difference) Most economic potential requires about 5 meters difference

42 Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) is another clean, renewable technology. It exploits the temperature difference between warm surface water and the cold water at depth

43 Wind Energy The winds are ultimately powered by the sun, and thus wind energy can be viewed as a variant of solar energy Clean and renewable energy resource Many technological improvements have increased the energy production from windmills Areas of best wind generation potential tend to be far from population centers that would benefit from them Wind Farms are large scale operations producing about 1 megawatt per windmill Abundant small scale windmills involve small wind turbines lifting water on a ranch or farm

44 igure Wind resource potential in the United States

45 Figure Wind power capacity in MW

46 Biomass Biomass refers to the total mass of all the organisms living on earth Biomass energy uses discarded waste material that is burned as a fuel to produce energy Biomass fuels include wood, paper, crop waste, and other combustible waste Alcohol, as a fuel, is produced from grains, such as corn or sugar cane, beets Can be generated from organic waste Mixed with gasoline to form gasohol Became popular after OPEC oil embargo Qualifies as a renewable resource

47 Ethanol production primarily US and Brazil

48

49 Electricity Source to Output in quadrillion BTU notice losses

50 Residential Energy Consumption

51 Fossil vs Non Fossil fuels in energy consumption 2006

52

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