Earth 28

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Hydrocarbons and Energy

The expression hydrocarbon is equal to the expression “fossil fuel resources.” Hydrocarbons include natural gas, crude oil, and coal. Most hydrocarbons found on Earth naturally occur in crude oil, where decomposed organic matter provides an abundance of carbon and hydrogen which, when bonded, can catenate to form seemingly limitless chains. In practice, crude oil is sent through a catalytic cracking process – where chemical oil refineries break-apart “big molecules” found in crude oil to make smaller molecules needed for fuel, such as gasoline. Natural gas and coal are used as fuel to generate heat. That heat boils water. Steam from boiled water turns the turbine of large electric generators – generating electric power for the utility grid.

Lesson 1 (or “Day 1”) Material
Lesson 2 (or “Day 2”) Material
Lesson 3 (or “Day 3”) Material
Lesson 4 (or “Day 4”) Material

Fossil Fuels 101 (2:42)

Will Fossil Fuels Run Out? – Earth Lab (5:22)

Natural Gas 101 (3:39)

Additional Videos – Hydrocarbon Energy

4:10 Unlocked: Episode 1 Rigs – Inside Key Energy Service

7:56 Fossil Fuels

5:02 Fracking explained: opportunity or danger

Compare Contrast and Debate

Background: Hydrocarbon discoveries and technical advances for the mining and extraction of hydrocarbons continues to increase the estimated global reserves.

  • Position A: there is no urgency or need to accelerate the use of alternative energy sources (renewable sources).
  • Position B: the imperative to make better use of alternative energy sources is obvious and must be accelerated.

Resources Documents and Links

  • resource

Special Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:

  • Science & Engineering Practice: Construct explanations and design solutions.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Systems and System Models.

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