Sample Essay On Energy Topics
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Laws of thermodynamics:Energy is the ability to do work. In the universe, the energy exists in many forms like heat, light, etc. According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created or destroyed. The amount of energy is conserved, and energy can only be converted into different forms. First law of thermodynamics is also termed as conservation of energy principle. (Kanoğlu, M., Çengel, A., & Dincer, I., 2012).
According to the second law of thermodynamics there exists thermodynamic variable called entropy, and entropy of an isolated system increases or remains constant with time. Entropy is the unavailable amount of energy to do work.
Explain how these scientific laws apply to energy use, energy conversions, and the need for energy efficiency. If we keep a glass of hot water in room temperature, the hot water loses heat. According to the first law of thermodynamics heat energy lost by the hot water is equal to the amount of heat gained by the surrounding atmosphere. If we place a piece of rock at certain height, it possesses some potential energy, and as the rock fall the potential energy decreases with equal increase in kinetic energy. Here in case of falling rock the potential energy is converted into equal amount of kinetic energy. So, the first law of thermodynamics is concerned with the quantity of energy, and conversion of energy from one form to another form.
Second law states that energy has quality as well as quantity. No engine can convert the entire heat supplied to it into an equal amount of work because; some of the energy is always dissipated. Efficiency is the net work done by an engine during a cycle, divided by heat supplied to it. With the help of second law of thermodynamics we can understand the performance of an energy system in terms of quality of or its energy efficiency.
Pros and cons of the following energy types:◦ Fossil fuel: Oil, natural gas, and coal: Pros: Fossil fuels are also known as hydrocarbon fuels. Oil, natural gas, and coal helps to meet the major energy demand in today`s world.
Fossil fuels are easy to extract, and easily combustible.
Cons: Greenhouse gases released from burning of fossil fuels cause severe air pollution. Due to rising demand, the fossil fuels reserves are depleting at a faster rate.◦ Nuclear energy: Pros: Small amount of nuclear fuel produces large amount of energy. Nuclear energy is environment friendly because, it does not emit harmful gases.
Cons: Initial investment cost to set up nuclear power station is very high. Nuclear reactors produce high volume of radioactive waste in the process of energy generation. The radioactive wastes are extremely hazardous, and emit radiations for several years. So, unplanned disposal of nuclear waste can cause serious impact on the entire environment.◦Solar energy: Pros: Although the installation cost for solar cells are expensive but, it is cost effective for electricity supply for the remote locations.
Cons: Solar panels are able to produce energy only in daylight hours, and bad weather can affect the efficiency of solar cells.◦ Wind power: Pros: Wind power is a renewable source of energy. Operational cost of wind power is low and it is a source of green energy.
Cons: Un-uniform wind speed can affect the availability of wind power. Rotating wind turbines produce noise during power generation.
◦ Water (hydro) power: Pros: Hydro power is an environment friendly and stable source of power. There is no waste disposal issue as in the case of nuclear and fossil fuel fired power plants.
Cons: Construction cost hydroelectric power station is very high. During drought the hydroelectric power plants are not able to produce electricity due to scarcity of water. ◦ Bioconversion (bio fuel): Pros: Bio fuels are extracted from the agricultural crops, wheat straw, paper pulp, animal waste, etc. Plant based bio fuels can be produced almost anywhere and it is a renewable source of energy. Bio fuels can reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and produces less greenhouse gases than gasoline.
Cons: Production of plant based bio fuels require agricultural land, which may reduce the area of agricultural land for food production. (Cunningham, M., n.d.).
2 provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005:
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 emphasizes the use of alternative fuels, and infrastructure development. Section 203 of the act states that renewable energy will contribute the federal electricity consumption 3% from fiscal years 2007 to 2009, 5% in fiscal years 2010 to 2012, and 7.5% in 2013 and thereafter. (Energy Policy Act of 2005., 2005).
Under section 1501, gasoline sold by the refiners, blenders and exporters must contain an increasing amount of renewable fuels such as ethanol.
Describe each provision, and provide your opinion about how each provision helps the United States meet energy use goals.
Under section 203 of Energy Policy Act of 2005, the term renewable energy means the electric energy generated from the wind, solar, biomass, hydro power etc. The approach to use increasing amount of renewable energy to contribute to the federal electricity consumption will boost the production of electricity derived from different renewable sources and also help the United States to use alternate energy.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) under the EP Act is the first renewable fuel mandate in the United States. With the intention to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the environment, the RFS program estimated to cut petroleum use. Gasoline was mandated to contain 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel annually by 2012, to 36 billion gallons by 2022. (Energy Policy Act of 2005, n.d.). The ethanol industry can easily meet the criteria of RFS to be blended with gasoline as a renewable content. Ethanol can be blended with gasoline to produce E₈₅, which contains 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. As a result of the act, ethanol production has increased rapidly, and many E₈₅ pumps were installed in the country. (Ethanol., n.d.). In my opinion, both the section203 and 1501 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, helps the United States meet the energy use goals.
Cunningham, M. (n.d.). 10 Disadvantages of Biofuels. Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/biofuels/10-disadvantages-of-biofuels.htm#page=0.
Energy Policy Act of 2005. (2005, August 8). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/10/f3/epact_2005.pdf.
Ethanol. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://seco.cpa.state.tx.us/energy-sources/biomass/ethanol.php.
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R. 6). (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://seco.cpa.state.tx.us/energy-sources/biomass/epact2005.php.
Kanoğlu, M., Çengel, A., & Dincer, I. (2012). The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. In Efficiency Evaluation of Energy Systems, (pp. 9-26).
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