LOWER SIXTH - KGP SCHEDULE, WEEKS 2-9 - ENERGY
MODULE 1 THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE
10.2 PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT -POPULATION AND RESOURCES
RENEWABLE ENERGY - HEP
NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY -OIL
   
OIL
The use of oil in power generation has declined dramatically since the oil shocks of the 1970s. Oil's share of total OECD electric generation declined from over 20% in 1974 to less than 9% in 1994. However, oil still plays an important role in the electricity supply of many countries. Oil-fired power plants are now used predominantly for meeting peak and intermediate loads. Oil also provides an important measure of flexibility in meeting electricity demand, as illustrated by its role in generating electricity during extreme weather conditions, low hydroelectric production, interruption of other fuel supplies, and in isolated or small electricity supply systems. Although oil in base load power generation will probably continue to decline in importance in most OECD countries, heavy fuel oil and distillates will continue to play an effective and flexible role in peak and intermediate load electricity supply.
How It Works
1) First the oil is extracted from the ground in the form of crude oil. Crude oil (called "petroleum") is easier to get out of the ground than coal, as it can flow along pipes. This also makes it cheaper to transport.
2) The oil is then pumped to the refineries, where it is refined into its useful fractions. The power plants mostly use heavy fuel oils in energy production.
3) The actual process, which takes place, in the power plant, is the same as in the case of all fossil fuels. This is as follows :-
BURN FUEL - HEAT WATER - STEAM - TURN TURBINES - TURN GENERATORS- GENERATE ELECTRICITY
Advantages
1. Very large amounts of electricity can be generated in one place using coal, fairly cheaply. 2. Transporting oil and gas to the power stations is easy. 3. A fossil-fuelled power station can be built almost anywhere, so long as you can get large quantities of fuel to it.
Disadvantages
1. Basically, the main drawback of fossil fuels is pollution. Burning any fossil fuel produces carbon dioxide, which contributes to the "greenhouse effect", warming the Earth, causing "global warming". 2. Exploration for oil wells and the setting up of drilling rigs can be very difficult, as oil is frequently situated in harsh environments, such as the sea. This is also very costly. Drilling/mining also destroys large areas of the landscape.
RENEWABLE ENERGY - HEP
NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY -OIL