AP Environmental Science

active collection
the use of devices, such as solar panels, to collect, focus, transport, or store solar energy
anthracite
the cleanest burning coal; almost pure carbon
barrels
the unit used to describe the volume of fossil fuels
bituminous
the second purest form of coal
crude oil
the form petroleum takes when in the ground
energy
the capacity to do work
fission
a nuclear reaction in which the atomic nucleus, especially a heavy nucleus such as an isotope of uranium, splits into fragments, usually two fragments of comparable mass, releasing from 100 million to several hundred million electron volts of energy
fossil fuel
a hydrocarbon deposit, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas, derived from living matter of a previous geologic time and used for fuel
first law of thermodynamics
says that energy can be neither created nor destroyed; it can only be transferred and transformed
fly ash
a waste product produced by the burning of coal
half-life
the amount of time it takes for half of a radioactive sample to decay.

Hubbert Peak (aka Peak oil)
an influential theory that concerns the long-term rate of conventional oil, and other fossil fuels, extraction and depletion. It predicts that the future world oil production will soon reach a peak and then rapidly decline
hydroelectric power
power generated by using water
kinetic energy
the energy of motion
lignite
the least pure coal, and softest
nuclear fusion
the process of fusing two nuclei
overburden
the rocks and earth that are removed when mining for a commercially valuable mineral resource
passive solar energy collection
the use of building materials, building placement, and design to passively collect solar energy that can be used to keep a building warm or cool
petroleum
oil, a hydrocarbon that forms as sediments are buried and pressurized
photovoltaic (pv) cell
a semiconductor device that converts the energy of sunlight into electric energy
potential energy
energy at rest, or stored energy
proven reserve
an estimate of the amount of fossil fuel that can be obtained from the reserve
radiant energy
sunlight
scrubbers
devices containing alkaline substances that precipitate out much of the sulfur dioxide from industrial plants
second law of thermodynamics
says that the entropy (disorder)of the universe is increasing. one corollary of the second law of thermodynamics is the concept that, in most energy transformations, a significant fraction of energy is lost to the universe as heat
strip minig
involves the removal of the earth’s surface all the way down to the mineral seam
subbituminous
the third purest form of coal
underground minig
involves the sinking of shafts to reach underground deposits. in this type of mining, networks of tunnels are dug or blasted and humans enter these tunnels in order to manually retrieve the coal
wind farms
a group of modern windmils