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26 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Energy supply & Demand
1. Fossil fuels serve approximately 90% of the US energy needs

2. Not sustainable

3. We import approximately 50% of the oil and gas that we use, mostly from our own hemisphere.

4. We are addicted to cheap oil and gas

5. Energy quantity versus energy quality
Fossil Fuels
1. Energy from past life, burning sunshine.

2. Oil, gas, and coal

3. Solar energy stored in the form of organic material that has been transformed by biochemical and physical processes after burial.
1. Coal accounts for about 20% of the total energy consumption in the US today

2. Prior to the discovery of oil and gas (commercial quantities), coal was the primary energy resource other than wood.
Geology of coal
1. Coal forms from organic material, primarily plants, preserved in anoxic environments, such as swamps.

2. These form in freshwater or brackish water swamps found in estuaries, coastal lagoons, and low-lying coastal plains or deltas.

3. The slow moving water is deficient in oxygen, necessary for the decomposition process

4. As the sediment accumulates, heat and pressure bake out CO2 and h2O, increasing the net carbon content of the remaining materials.
Ranks of coal
1. Lignite
2. subbituminous
3. bituminous
4. anthracite
Sulfur content
1. Low-medium-high
Impact of coal mining
1. Most is mined by the open-pit and strip mining.

2. This works when the coal is near the surface, covered by relatively soft overburden, and the slopes are not too steep

3. This type of mining removes entire ecosystems, and ends up covering others (usually valleys) with the mine waste

4. Strip mining also results in pollution of the air and water (surface and groundwater).

5. Underground mining is more prevalent today in other countries

6. It is more expensive and requires a higher quality coal

7. Problems of underground mining includes
a. pollution of streams
b. subsidence (collapse as the mine tunnel collapses
c. fires
d. loss of life
Future use of coal
1. Coal is the greatest resource in the US, in terms of amount, with a greater amount and longer future than US oil and gas

2. Coal has many problems (primarily air pollution) that make oil and gas more attractive today, this will change as oil and gas prices increase
Environmental impact of converting to coal from oil and gas
1. More land strip mined and in need of restoration

2. Disposal of ash ( some can be hazardous, with elements such as mercury)

3. Handling of coal involves disposal of mining waste, shipping, burning, and disposal of ash (potential for pollution in all cases).

4. Carbon dioxide emissions increasing global warming
Oil and Gas
1. Oil (crude oil) and gas are hydrocarbons

2. Natural gas is primarily methane (CH4)

3. Formed from the decomposition of plant and animal remains, primarily from marine settings
Geology of oil and gas deposits
1. Next to water, oil is the second most abundant liquid on the earth

2. Oil and gas are derived from organic materials that have migrated into reservoirs primarily because of density into traps

3. There needs to be a source rock

4. There needs to be the depth of burial, or a source of heat
(but not great heat).

5. There needs to be a reservoir rock and a structure to concentrate the oil and gas

6. There needs to be a cap that traps the oil and gas in the reservoir
Petroleum production
1. Exploration involves the study of surface structures, subsurface exploration through gravity and seismic, and an understanding of depositional environments.

2. Production includes primary production (oil and gas produced by natural lift) to remove usually no more than 25% of the oil in place, and secondary production (using gas flow, water flushing, fracturing, etc.) that enhances the production to the 50-60% range.
Distribution & quantity of oil & gas
1. Commercial oil and gas are produced almost exclusively from sedimentary rocks deposited in the last 500 years (actually less than 250 million years).

2. Approximately 85% of the production comes from less than 5% of the Earth’s fields

3. Geographic distribution of the giant oil and gas fields are near plate junctions active in the last 60 to 70 million years
Coal-bed methane
1. In the coal fields of the western US, the coal contains a large amount of methane within the coal

2. Methane gas in the coals of Wyoming is sufficient enough to provide all of the gas needs of the US for 5 years

3. Coal-bed methane wells are shallow and less costly than oil wells
Environmental concerns of Coal-bed methane
1. Disposal of salty water

2. Mining of groundwater associated with the extraction

3. Migration of the methane away from well sites (explosion hazards).

4. Reduction of crop production if the salty water gets into the surface and groundwater systems

5. Pollution of stream water and loss of spring glows

6. Erosion and runoff of land affected by roads, well sites, processing and transportation of the methane
Methane hydrate
1. Burning gas produces fewer air pollutants than other fossil fuels. This will probably mean that natural gas (methane) will be the bridge between fossil fuels and more environmentally acceptable sources of energy.

2. Methane hydrate is a white ice-like compound of molecules of methane gas surrounded by “cages” of frozen water

3. These deposits are formed by microbial digestion of organic matter in the sediments

4. They are found in sea floor sediments, as well as below the surface in permafrost areas (Siberia and north America, where they are called marsh gas)

5. They tend to be disseminated in the sediment, rather than concentrated, so it will be very hard to harvest.

6. The resource is potentially greater than twice all of the oil, gas, and coal in the world.

7. They are found in deeper waters, near the surface

8. They are not stable, and when heated release gas.

9. If we release more methane into the atmosphere (“accidentally”), then it will increase the greenhouse effect.

10. They may have been responsible for the rapid increase in global temperatures after the last ice age
Impact of production & development
1. Exploration for oil and gas can be environmentally neutral (using aerial photographs and gravimeter surveys) to extremely disastrous.

2. Bad practices include the Trans-Alaska pipeline, exploratory drilling in AnWR, seismic surveying in the swamps of Louisiana, and the like.

3. Development of oil fields includes drilling, connection of the wells to collection systems, pipelines, etc.

4. Wastewater disposal, accidental oil spills, leaking pipes, shipwrecks of tankers, and air pollution from refineries.
Impact of use of oil and gas
1. Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels

2. Increased greenhouse effect

3. Cancers from the fuel additives
Oil shales
1. Fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen, a solid or semi-solid hydrocarbon mineraloid substance formed from organic material.

2. When heated, a significant amount of hydrocarbons can be derived from them

3. Using current technology, the process is too expensive
tar sands
1. Sands that are impregnated with tar oil, asphalt, or other petroleum materials

2. These are too viscous to produce by typical oil and gas recovery methods

3. These deposits must be strip mined, and the materials heated, to produce synthetic crude oil (Canada produces 500,000 barrels per day from two large strip mines).
fossil fuels-future of oil
1. at present rates of production, oil and natural gas will last a few decades

2. once we reach peak production, less oil will be available and the price will rise

3. what will be the lifestyle of the post-petroleum era?

4. While we will never entirely run out of crude oil, we live on oil today, which will not be here tomorrow.
Oil Crisis
1. We are approaching the time in which ½ of all the known oil reserves will have been tapped. The US has already used up ½ of our own resources

2. Proven world reserves total approximately 1 trillion barrels, we may get an additional 3 trillion barrels from other sources.

3. World consumption today is about 27 billion barrels per year, and for every four barrels used, we only find one new barrel of resource

4. The predicted decline in production is based upon what may be ultimately recovered and what we hope to discover. The peak is predicted to be between 2020 and 2050.

5. Significant production of oil in the US will not extend beyond 2090, and the world production will be nearly exhausted by 2100.
Acid Rain and fossil fuels
1. Acid deposition and precipitation includes acid rain, acid snow, acid fog, acid dew, etc.

2. Acid rain gases include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, both of which are produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

3. They produce sulfuric and nitric acid

4. pH= log [H3O=]

5. acid is less than 7, and base is greater than 7

6. coal is a significant source, when burned

7. Eastern Europe and emissions controls
Environmental Effects of acid rain
1. Geology, climate patterns, types of vegetation, a decomposition of the soils influence acid rain’s impact in an area

2. Particularly sensitive areas are those whose soils and exposed bedrock do not have buffering properties (limestone and calcite)
Major environmental effects
1. Damage to vegetation, especially to forested areas, including reduced fertility of soils as they are stripped of nutrients.

2. Damage to aquatic ecosystems, including the loss of plants and animals (especially amphibians)

3. Damage to human structures, including plastics, cement, masonry, galvanized steel, and rock materials (pyrite in limestone story). Weakens metals, such as bridges and building structural features. The cost is billions of dollars per year
A solution (?) to the acid rain problem
1. Addition of buffer materials to affected ecosystems (give them tums approach)

2. Reduction in the production of acid forming materials through emission controls and reduction in the use of producing materials