Objectives:

  • To identify the main energy resources available for use on Earth, to include: fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, biofuel, wind, hydro-electricity, geothermal, the tides, the Sun and water waves.
  • To understand that a renewable energy resource is one that is being (or can be) replenished as it is used.
  • To appreciate that the uses of energy resources include: transport, electricity generation and heating.
  • You should also be able to:
    • consider the environmental issues that may arise from the use of different energy resources
    • show that science has the ability to identify environmental issues arising from the use of energy resources but not always the power to deal with the issues because of political, social, ethical or economic considerations.

When we talk about energy resources that are available for use on Earth, typically we are referring to the methods in which we can generate electricity (although this is not always the case). One of the key factors in electricity generation is to make a coil of wire move/ turn/ rotate, for this to be achieved. So if we can make something move, or harness the kinetic energy from moving things, then we can use that to generate electricity.

One way to make things move is to heat up water, this cause it to boil, which results in steam. This steam can then rise and turn a turbine – this will all be covered in a later topic (but it is useful to remember that, burning things releases energy).

Based on this, anything that has a large store of chemical potential energy will be able to heat up a lot of water and make a lot of electricity. There are different methods that we humans use to do this, they are:

  • Thermal power stations
  • Using bio-fuels
  • Using nuclear fuels
  • Wind turbines
  • Hydro-electric power stations
  • Geothermal power stations
  • Harnessing the power from the tides
  • Harnessing water waves energy
  • Using solar energy

Some of these are what we called renewable energy resources and some are non-renewable, the meaning of which will become clear.

You need to be able to understand each of the following, so a separate page for each has been created:

  • To describe the main energy sources available
  • To distinguish between energy resources that are renewable and energy resources that are non-renewable
  • To compare ways that different energy resources are used, the uses to include transport, electricity generation and heating
  • To understand why some energy resources are more reliable than others
  • To describe the environmental impact arising from the use of different energy resources
  • To explain patterns and trends in the use of energy resources.
  • To consider the environmental issues that may arise from the use of different energy resources
  • To show that science has the ability to identify environmental issues arising from the use of energy resources but not always the power to deal with the issues because of political, social, ethical or economic considerations.