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Sci 275 Mitigation Strategies And Solutions

1766 words - 7 pages

You flick on the light switch and there you have light. Many humans take it for granted and assume that electricity will always be available when ever we need it, as long as we pay for it. Ever wonder where that electricity comes from? Sure the light switch but what's the bigger picture?You turn on the light switch and you have light, at the other end of that is a long grid mapped out to the source of the electricity that is generated to your home. Our main source of electricity in the United States comes from Fossil Fuels. According to the United States Department of Energy Fossil Fuels which consists of coal, oil and natural gas currently provide more than 85% of all the energy consumed in the United States, nearly two-thirds of our electricity, and virtually all of our transportation fuels.It is likely that the nation's reliance on fossil fuels to power an expanding economy will actually increase over the next two decades even with aggressive development and deployment of new renewable and nuclear technologies as our population grows.So what are fossil fuels? There are three major forms of fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. All three were formed many hundreds of millions of years ago before the time of the dinosaurs which is where the name fossil fuels comes from. The age they formed in was called the Carboniferous Period and was part of the Paleozoic Era. "Carboniferous" gets its name from carbon which is the basic element in coal and other fossil fuels.The carboniferous period occurred from about 360 to 286 million years ago. At that time, the land was covered with swamps filled with huge trees, ferns and other large leafy plants. The water and seas were filled with algae. Some deposits of coal can be found during the time of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago however the majority of deposits of fossil fuels are from the Carboniferous Period.As the trees and plants died, they sank to the bottom of the swamps of oceans. They formed layers of a spongy material called peat. Over many hundreds of years, the peat was covered by sand and clay and other minerals, which turned into a type of rock called sedimentary.More and more rock piled on top of more rock, and it weighed more and more. It began to press down on the peat. The peat was squeezed and squeezed until the water came out of it and it eventually, over millions of years; it turned into coal, oil or petroleum, and natural gas.Coal is a very common fossil fuel used to heat our homes and provide energy. Coal is a hard, black colored rock-like substance. It is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and varying amounts of sulphur. There are three main types of coal - anthracite, bituminous and lignite. Anthracite coal is the hardest and has more carbon, which gives it a higher energy content. Lignite is the softest and is low in carbon but high in hydrogen and oxygen content.Ê Bituminous is in between.Coal is found in many of the lower 48 states of U.S. and throughout the...

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