Energy and conservation What are our main energy sources?

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Energy and conservation

What are our main energy sources?

  • Industrialised countries need large amounts of energy
  • Most of this energy comes form fossil fuels which are burnt in power stations, factories, homes and vehicles
  • These fossil fuels formed millions of years ago, and are non-renewable
  • Once the fossil fuels have been used up there will be no more to replace them

Oil is useful for other things too

  • Oil is a mixture of different compounds
  • We can separate these substances by a process called fractional distillation
  • These fractions include fuels like petrol, diesel and aviation fuel
  • Parts of oil are also used to make plastics, medicines, paints, dyes and even wax candles

Problems with burning fossil fuels

  • Huge amounts of carbon dioxide are given off into the atmosphere
  • Carbon dioxide causes global warming or the greenhouse effect
  • coal-burning power stations also give off sulphur dioxide gas which leads to acid rain

What is the greenhouse effect?

  • Carbon dioxide gas acts like the glass in a greenhouse
  • Infrared radiation from the Sun is usually reflected back into space
  • Greenhouse gases stop this, and heat is reflected back to the Earth again

What are the problems with global warming?

    • Extremes of weather will occur hurricanes and storms
    • The increase in temperature will speed up the melting of the polar ice caps
    • Global warming will therefore lead to floods
  • So all this burning of fossil fuels leading to an Earth that is suffering form many environmental problems

Other problems from the pollution from burning fossil fuels:

  • Lead poisoning has been shown to affect the development and progress of children living near motorways
  • Dust and gases in the air can lead to smog above large industrialised cities
  • A hole is developing in the ozone layer which therefore will not filter out harmful ultra-violet rays from the Sun

We need to conserve our fossil fuels

  • The electricity we produce from burning fossil fuels could also be made using renewable energy resources
  • It makes sense to save the oil we have left for making fuel for transport and for making plastics
  • We could try to save wasting energy from fossil fuels during domestic use in our homes and from waste transport consumption of fuel

Alternative energy sources

  • Wind energy
  • Hydroelectric energy
  • Solar energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Nuclear energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Biomass energy

Problems with nuclear fuels

  • Nuclear power stations can produce large amounts of energy from small amounts of nuclear fuel. (Radioactive materials naturally release heat)
  • Nuclear radiation is extremely dangerous
  • High safety standards are needed
  • Waste materials stay radioactive for thousands of years
  • There have been some disastrous accidents at nuclear power stations which have affected all living things in the area

Write an article for a newspaper or a magazine, outlining the need for energy conservation

  • Plan:
  • Fossils fuels: uses
  • Fossil fuels : why we need to conserve them
  • Fossil fuels: problems of pollution
  • Alternative energy sources (advantages & disadvantages)
  • Problems with nuclear fuels
  • This powerpoint was kindly donated to
  • is home to over a thousand powerpoints submitted by teachers. This is a completely free site and requires no registration. Please visit and I hope it will help in your teaching.

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