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Nonrenewables Cheat Sheet by


Fossil Fuel
Fuel that comes from the remnants of prehis­toric organisms.
Commercial Energy Sources
Sources that are bought and sold.
Subsis­tence Energy Sources
Sources gathered by indivi­duals for their own use.
Conser­vation of Energy
Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.
Energy return on energy invested. (Energy obtained from the fuel/E­nergy invested to get it)
Using a fuel to generate electr­icity and produce heat.
A solid fuel formed from the remains of 280-360 million yr old plant materials
Lignite, Sub-bi­tum­inous, bitumi­nous, and anthra­cite.
The four types of coal ranked from lesser to greater age, exposure to pressure, and energy content.
A mixture of hydroc­arbons, water, and sulfur that occur in underg­round deposits.
Oil Refinery
Uses heat to separate crude oil into gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, and diesel fuel.
Natural Gas
Exists as a part of petroleum in the ground, and in gaseous deposits separate from petroleum.
Oil Sands
A slow-m­oving, viscous deposit of bitumen mixed with sand, water, and clay.
Bitumen (tar/p­itch)
A degraded kind of petroleum that forms when petroleum migrates close to the surface where bacteria metabolize some of the light hydroc­arbons and others evaporate.
Hubbert Curve
A graph that shows the point at which world oil production would reach a maximum and the point at which we would run out of oil.
A nuclear reaction in which a neutron hits a larger atomic nucleus, which them splits into 2+ parts.
Uranium 235 (U-235)
The isotope of uranium that undergoes nuclear fission.
Fuel Rods
The cylind­rical tubes that house the nuclear fuel used in nuclear power plants.
Control Rods
Cylind­rical devices that can be inserted between fuel rods to absorb excess neutrons, thus slowin­g/s­topping the fission reaction.
Radioa­ctive Waste
Nuclear fuel that can no longer produce enough heat to be used in a power plant, but still emits radioa­cti­vity.
High-Level Radioa­ctive Waste
The form of nuclear waste used in fuel rods.
Low-Level Radioa­ctive Waste
The protective clothing, tools, rags, and other things used in routine plant mainte­nance.
Nuclear Fusion
The reaction that occurs when lighter nuclei are forced together to produce heavier nuclei and release heat. This powers the Sun and other stars.

The History of Energy Use in the United States

Global Energy Use

Energy Transf­orm­ations

Energy Use

Pro/Con Coal

Pro/Con Petroleum

Pro/Con Natural Gas

Pro/Con Nuclear


Hubbert Curve

Coal Formation

Coal Plant Electr­icity Generation

Electr­icity Generating Plants

Petroleum and Natural Gas Formation

Hydraulic Fracking


Nuclear Reactor



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