Friday, July 6, 2012

Fossil Fuels

Okay, I've let this slide, but I want to spend a few posts talking about energy. I noted a few days back that the bulk of electricity generation involves the heating of water to make steam, which then drives turbines. In most countries water is heated by the burning of fossil fuels (in the US this accounts for about 70% of electricity generation) such as coal. About 300 million years ago, dense forests got slowly buried underground. The process of time and pressure transformed this plant matter into what we know today as coal, so this is essentially stored and concentrated solar energy, from the ancient photosynthesis of those plants. Today we dig up this coal (here's an excellent Marion 182m Shovel used in coal mining by Redjack Ryan),

transport it, usually by train (coal car by Monteur),

and then burn the coal in a plant such as the Kingsnorth Power Station (here from Legoland Windsor).

BTW, the real Kingsnorth plant has been the site of several high profile protests by environmental activists. It seems that tiny little ABS activists have also been to Windsor:

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