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Portal:Energy

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The Energy Portal
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Welcome to Wikipedia's Energy portal, your gateway to energy. This portal is aimed at giving you access to all energy related topics in all of its forms.

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Introduction

The Sun is the source of energy for most of life on Earth. As a star, the Sun is heated to high temperatures by the conversion of nuclear binding energy due to the fusion of hydrogen in its core. This energy is ultimately transferred (released) into space mainly in the form of radiant (light) energy.

In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The SI unit of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of 1 metre against a force of 1 newton.

Common forms of energy include the kinetic energy of a moving object, the potential energy stored by an object's position in a force field (gravitational, electric or magnetic), the elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, the chemical energy released when a fuel burns, the radiant energy carried by light, and the thermal energy due to an object's temperature.

Mass and energy are closely related. Due to mass–energy equivalence, any object that has mass when stationary (called rest mass) also has an equivalent amount of energy whose form is called rest energy, and any additional energy (of any form) acquired by the object above that rest energy will increase the object's total mass just as it increases its total energy. For example, after heating an object, its increase in energy could be measured as a small increase in mass, with a sensitive enough scale.

Living organisms require available energy to stay alive, such as the energy humans get from food. Human civilization requires energy to function, which it gets from energy resources such as fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, or renewable energy. The processes of Earth's climate and ecosystem are driven by the radiant energy Earth receives from the sun and the geothermal energy contained within the earth.


Selected article

Oilshale.jpg
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which technology can extract liquid hydrocarbons. The name oil shale represents a double misnomer, as geologists would not necessarily classify the rock as a shale, and its kerogen differs from crude oil. Kerogen requires more processing to use than crude oil, which increases its cost as a crude-oil substitute both financially and in terms of its environmental impact.

Deposits of oil shale occur around the world, including major deposits in the United States of America. Estimates of global deposits range from 2.8 trillion to 3.3 trillion barrels (450×109 to 520×109 m3) of recoverable oil.

The chemical process of pyrolysis can convert the kerogen in oil shale into synthetic crude oil. Heating oil shale to a sufficiently high temperature will drive off a vapor which processing can distill (retort) to yield a petroleum-like shale oil—a form of unconventional oil—and combustible oil-shale gas (the term shale gas can also refer to gas occurring naturally in shales). Industry can also burn oil shale directly as a low-grade fuel for power generation and heating purposes and can use it as a raw material in chemical and construction-materials processing.

Oil shale has gained attention as an energy resource as the price of conventional sources of petroleum has risen and as a way for some areas to secure independence from external suppliers of energy. At the same time, oil-shale mining and processing involve a number of environmental issues, such as land use, waste disposal, water use, waste-water management, greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution. Estonia and China have well-established oil shale industries, and Brazil, Germany, Israel and Russia also utilize oil shale. Read more...


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Photo credit: From an image by Grétar Ívarsson
Geothermal power, the harnessing of geothermal heat to generate electricity, is used in over 20 countries.


Did you know?

  • Adriatic LNG is the world's first offshore gravity-based structure LNG regasification terminal?
  • Scotland has 85% of the United Kingdom's hydro-electric energy resource?

Selected biography

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Michael Faraday (17911867), an English chemist and physicist, is credited with the discovery of electromagnetic induction, which formed the basis for exploiting electricity as a practical form of energy. His discovery paved the way for the development of generators, induction motors, transformers, and most other electrical machines.

In 1831, Faraday began his great series of experiments in which he discovered electromagnetic induction. He established that a changing magnetic field produces an electric field, a relation mathematically modelled by Faraday's law. Faraday later used the principle to construct the electric dynamo, the ancestor of modern power generators. He went on to investigate the fundamental nature of electricity, concluding in 1839 that, contrary to opinions at the time, only a single "electricity" exists, and the changing values of quantity and intensity (voltage and charge) would produce different groups of phenomena.

Some historians refer to Faraday as the best experimentalist in the history of science. Despite this his mathematical ability did not extend so far as trigonometry or any but the simplest algebra. He nevertheless possessed the ability to present his ideas in clear and simple language. During his lifetime, Faraday rejected a knighthood and twice refused to become President of the Royal Society. Read more...


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