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Energy resources: An introduction to energy resources
Energy resources are essential for any society, be it one dependent on subsistence...
Energy resources are essential for any society, be it one dependent on subsistence farming or an industrialised country. There are many different sources of energy, some well-known such as coal or petroleum, others less so, such as tides or the heat inside the Earth. Is nuclear power a salvation or a nightmare? This unit provides background information to each resource, so that you can assess them for yourself.
By the end of this free course you should be able to:
- understand the difference between energy and power, and their units and prefixes;
- state the relative contributions of different natural energy sources to the global energy budget;
- describe the contribution of photosynthesis to the carbon cycle, and distinguish the terrestrial and marine parts of the cycle;
- discuss the issues involved in concentrating, storing and transporting energy;
- recognise which energy resources have a low energy density, and which have a high energy density;
- distinguish between renewable and non-renewable energy resources.
- Current section: An introduction to energy resources
- Learning Outcomes
- 1 Energy use
- 2 Energy, work, power and efficiency
- 3 Sources of energy from the natural environment
- 4 Fossil fuels
- 5 Nuclear energy
- 6 Concentrating, storing and transporting energy
- 7 Renewable and non-renewable energy supplies
- 8 Summary
- 9 Glossary
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Energy resources: An introduction to energy resources
An introduction to energy resources
Understanding energy resources involves considering all types of energy source from various scientific and technological standpoints, with a focus on the uses, limitations and consequences of using energy that is available to humanity. This unit sets the scene by considering how much energy human society uses and the basic concepts of energy, work, power and efficiency, then briefly investigates the different types of energy available, their sources and renewability.
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Earth's physical resources: origin, use and environmental impact (S278) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Environmental Science courses or view the range of currently available OU Environmental Science courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 16th March 2012
Last updated on: Tuesday, 10th December 2013
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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