CHEMISTRY BLOG: The Energy and fuel debate


The media has captured beautiful and insightful photographs of the sun and its emission. The fuel and energy debate is very topical with huge price increases forecast for energy costs for homes in the UK. The cost of petrol and diesel is also ever-increasing with little complaint, in fact, in the UK more and more homes now have more than one car per family and little is heard about drivers complaining that they struggle to run cars in such circumstances.

The sun is where it is thought that all energy arises. Think about as many energy change diagrams that arise in your daily life as you can. How many link directly or indirectly with energy from the sun? I have just installed solar panels on my home roof. I had to make sure the panels were south-facing. Why? What could I do to the panels to ensure maximum absorption of the sun’s rays? How long is it estimated that my solar panels will have paid for themselves before I can generate Capital from my Solar panels?

A converter in my loft changes the captured sun rays or energy from the various chemical reactions going on within the sun and transforms them into electrical energy (“electricity”). My electricity is free during the day, and excess is changed or transformed into the grid electricity, and I receive payment for this extra production of electricity by my energy supplier. So the energy change diagram is:

Chemical/Solar→Kinetic →↘electrical→↘potential ↘→electrical↘  or     Solar→ ↘electrical→↘

        Heat                Heat           Heat         Heat       Heat           Heat                Heat              Heat

What happens to all the heat energy produced?

I want you to try and think of as many energy sources that you use every day from that arises by batteries to food or windpower etc. Where does energy come from in all the forms you use (we need food or potential energy changing to chemical energy to kinetic to walk, blink, blood to flow for example).

Also look at all the problems with the huge increase in the cost of energy provided to our homes. Think of all the forms of energy, so what source of energy can a farmer in the middle of Wales or Scotland or anywhere else in the world use? Why does every home in the UK not have solar panels? Why do people object to wind-turbines? Who indoctrinates and manipulates the media and influences views about various energy types and productions? What are your thoughts about the UK commissioning several new Nuclear Energy plants?

Read up and research as much about energy that you can use. Think about how to conserve energy and think about how effective and efficient you are in terms of how you use energy, what forms of energy you need and where does all the energy comes from. Position yourself in the energy and fuel debate.

  Post your thoughts in the comments below!    

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