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Fossil Fuels: Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas
Episode 10 of Everyday Engineering

Fossil Fuels: Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas
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Power Generation from Coal
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Focus on the dominant source of electricity in the U.S. today: coal. Begin by reviewing concepts from thermodynamics that explain how power plants work. Then follow the processes that turn a hopper full of coal into abundant electrical power, extracting the maximum amount of energy along the way.
Oil, Gas, and Nuclear Power
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Probe the tradeoffs of oil, natural gas, and nuclear fission for generating electrical power. For example, natural gas is plentiful and flexible, but it involves fracking and produces carbon dioxide emissions. By contrast, nuclear power produces essentially zero emissions but poses potentially catastrophic safety risks.
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