Energy: Key Terms and Definitions

Energy is a concept that represents the amount of physical work that can be done by a certain system. For instance, a tank of gasoline has a certain amount of energy that can be released by burning it to achieve useful results, like moving a car a long distance. The concept of energy is very useful when talking about subjects as broadly different as climate change, electrical power plants, car collisions, explosives, and food diets. Energy exists in two forms, kinetic and potential.

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Energy Storage

Energy storage is the saving some form of energy for later use. Energy is critical to every accomplishment of humans. This energy can take many forms. Some examples include potential, kinetic, chemical, and nuclear energy.

Energy storage is critical to the stable function of a power grid. Inevitably, power stations have to be serviced or have failures. Even failures that are a fraction of a second can be disastrous for certain applications, such as monitoring systems for heavy machinery, computers, and other sensitive electronics. Stability of power is a key factor in the design of an effective power grid. Stability requires that there be backup systems in place in case of a baseline power failure. Energy storage is required for most backup systems to be effective.

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Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectric power generation is the act of using moving water to generate power. Historically this was done using paddle wheels in streams to turn grinding stones for making grain flour. Today, most hydroelectric dams are of a larger scale. A hydro dam location is chosen because it has a large amount of flowing water that can exit the dam at a much lower height than it was taken at. As in a waterfall, the waters falling through the dam generators speed up and drive turbines, generating power.

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Coal Power

Generating Electricity Coal is used to generate electricity by burning it. The heat is then used to run a heat engine, which utilizes water steam to turn electric turbines. Coal was the fuel that started the industrial revolution, and it’s use continues to grow today. Coal-fired electricity production accounts for more electricity than any other […]

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