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Worldwide Energy Consumption - Coursework Example

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Worldwide Energy Consumption

Depending on the kind of energy in question, it can be converted from one form to the other. The simplest example is the combustion of any fuel. The chemical energy stored within the fuel is converted into heat energy due to combustion. This heat energy can be further converted into mechanical energy such as with an internal combustion engine. Another prominent example is that of hydroelectric dams where the potential energy of the stored water is converted into mechanical energy through turbines which is further transformed into electrical energy using dynamos. Various methods can be applied to transform one form of energy into other forms of energy. The largest source of energy used by man is that delivered by fossil fuels. Fossil fuels represent the deposits of buried organisms that have decomposed over millions of years. The application of heat and pressure within the Earth’s crust has led to the fossilization of the remains of buried organisms. (Mann, Gahagan, & Gordon, 2009) One typical trait of all fossil fuels is that they are rich in carbon. An estimate by the Energy Information Administration put the consumption of fossil fuels as primary energy sources with petroleum at 36%, coal at 27.4% and natural gas at 23%. (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2011) ...
The simplicity with which fossil fuels can be used is also another factor that helps promote fossil fuels. However, the environmental impact of fossil fuels is forcing the world to look for alternatives. (U.S. Environmental

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Protection Agency, 2011) This change is being accelerated by the fact that fossil fuels are a non renewable source of energy that will eventually be exhausted. Alternative forms of energy have been in development for some time now. The primary benefit of alternative energy sources is the fact that they are renewable so there is little danger of them running out. At the forefront of the alternative energy sources development is solar energy. Solar energy is being exploited worldwide with the use of photovoltaic cells as well as through other heat entrapment methods. Photovoltaic cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity. However, this conversion demands photovoltaic cells constructed with high purity silicon which is expensive. Moreover, the photovoltaic cells developed to date are inefficient with conversion efficiencies hovering around 20%. This necessitates the use of solar cells on a large area to cover as much area as possible. Generally, the installation of solar photovoltaic cells is large in size. Therefore, solar cells can be used for static applications in large part as mobile applications cannot satisfy the requirement of a large surface area. Solar energy is also being used to heat water for homes and offices with somewhat greater success. The major challenge here is the presence of the sun. For example, the greatest need for heated water is in cold areas that receive little sun fall throughout an average year. The compulsion to store solar energy as electricity

Summary

Energy is defined as the ability of one physical system to do work on other physical systems. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; instead it can only be converted from one form to another. (White, 2009) …
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Worldwide Energy Consumption essay example
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