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What is global warming?

What is global warming?

Global warming is the process of gradually increasing the temperature of planet Earth.

The main cause is the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases. These gases have a natural origin, but the most significant increase is due to human activity.

The increase in gas emissions increased considerably during the industrial revolution. Industries introduced steam engines that involved burning fossil fuels - especially coal, oil, and natural gas. The industrial revolution caused a sharp increase in CO 2 concentrations .

Important climate variations in history

Historically, various variations in Earth's climate have led to crossing different ice ages alternated…

Last review: May 5, 2020

Solar radiation

Solar radiation

Solar radiation is the radiant energy emitted in the interplanetary space of the Sun.

This radiation is generated from nuclear fusion reactions that occur in the solar nucleus. Nuclear radiation produces electromagnetic radiation at various frequencies or wavelengths. Electromagnetic radiation propagates in space at the speed of light.

Why is solar radiation important?

Solar energy is the main energy source and, therefore, the motor that drives our environment. The solar energy that we receive through solar radiation is directly or indirectly responsible for aspects as important to life as:

  • Photosynthesis in plants
  • maintaining a planet temperature…

    Last review: May 4, 2020

Photovoltaic effect

Photovoltaic effect

The photovoltaic effect is the photoelectric effect characterized by the production of an electric current between two pieces of different material that are in contact and exposed to light or, in general, to electromagnetic radiation.

The photovoltaic effect consists of converting sunlight into electrical energy by means of photovoltaic cells. 

Where is the photovoltaic effect used?

The photovoltaic effect is used in photovoltaic solar energy. Specifically in the photovoltaic cells of the solar panels.

Semiconductor materials (such as silicon) have the distinction of exhibiting different behavior towards electricity. The behavior of semiconductors depends…

Last review: May 3, 2020

Mini-hydraulic power plant

Mini-hydraulic power plant

A mini-hydroelectric power station is a plant that uses hydraulic energy to produce electricity. They are characterized by the fact of having a reduced installed power. Its small size implies the use of structures of much smaller size than a normal dam.

These mini-hydro plants are safer, thanks to the lower volume of water in the basin, and they also have a lower environmental impact and landscape.

There is no globally accepted limit for which a hydroelectric plant is defined as mini hydro. According to ESHA (European Association of Small Hydroelectric Power Plants), this limit is considered equal to 10 MW of installed power.

The mini hydro plant has some peculiarities…

Last review: May 2, 2020

What is a photon?

What is a photon?

A photon is the quantum of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation, emitted or absorbed by matter.

The photon is a type of elementary particle. According to the principles of quantum physics, it is the quantum of the electromagnetic field. It is the carrier particle of all forms of electromagnetic radiation, including:

  • Gamma rays.
  • X-rays.
  • Ultraviolet light.
  • Visible light.
  • Infrared light.
  • Microwaves.
  • Radio waves.

Photons have zero mass at rest. They always move at the speed of light in a vacuum.

The photon has spin equal to 1, and is therefore a boson;…

Last review: May 1, 2020

First Law of Thermodynamics

First Law of Thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics states  that: " The total energy of an isolated system is neither created nor destroyed, it remains constant ." It is a principle that reflects the conservation of energy.

Energy is only transformed from one type to another. When one class of energy disappears, an equivalent amount of another class must be produced.

A body can have a certain speed. Having speed involves kinetic energy. If you lose speed you lose kinetic energy; which is transformed into another type of energy. The conversion can be to potential energy (if it acquires height), heat energy (if there is any type of friction that causes it to heat up),…

Last review: April 30, 2020

Gas natural

Gas natural

Natural gas is a fossil fuel; a fossil energy source. It is a primary energy. This means that it can be obtained directly without transformation.

Other primary energy sources are:

  • Solar energy.
  • Charcoal.
  • Oil.

Natural gas began to be used from the 1960s as a preferred fuel. However, in some sectors, such as transport, oil continues to predominate.

It is also used as a raw material for many chemicals.

The construction of gas pipelines and the gas trade has led to major armed conflicts between different countries of the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Impact with the environment

It is the cleanest fossil energy…

Last review: April 27, 2020

Coal

Coal

Coal is a fossil fuel, a sedimentary rock of organic origin. Its thermodynamic properties allow obtaining a large amount of heat energy during its combustion process. The energy obtained is called fossil energy. It comes in black or dark brown.

It is a limited natural resource. Generation is a process of several million years, while the consumption of this energy resource is very fast. For this reason, it is considered a non-renewable energy source.

Its high calorific value is due to the fact that it is mainly made of carbon.

Coals can be classified by the percentage of carbon they contain, which is related to the percentage of moisture and impurities. According to this…

Last review: April 24, 2020

Heat

Heat

In physics, particularly thermodynamics, heat is defined as:

The contribution of energy transformed as a result of a chemical or nuclear reaction and transferred between two systems, or between two parts of the same system.

This energy is not attributable to a job or a conversion between two different types of energy.

Heat is, therefore, a form of transferred energy and not a form of contained energy, as internal energy.

Heat and work are forms of energy that cannot be associated with the state of the system, that is, with its equilibrium configuration. In particular, both forms of energy are recognized the moment they transit, flow.

The work identifies…

Last review: April 21, 2020

Panel solar

Panel solar

A solar panel is a device for harnessing solar energy. It can also be called a solar module.

There are solar panels for photovoltaic energy and for thermal energy. In this way, we distinguish:

  • Solar collectors. Used in thermal solar energy installations. They raise the temperature of a fluid thanks to solar radiation.
  • Photovoltaic panels. Used in photovoltaic solar energy installations. It is a set of photovoltaic cells. Its function is to generate an electric current.
    Solar collectors

    Last review: April 20, 2020

    Thermal energy

    Thermal energy

    Thermal energy is energy released in the form of heat.

    It can also be called heat energy.

    Technically, thermal energy is defined as the part of the internal energy of a balanced thermodynamic system that is proportional to its absolute temperature and is increased or decreased by energy transfer. Therefore, it can be considered a thermodynamic property.

    What is the origin of thermal energy?

    The heat energy can be obtained in several ways:

    • It can be obtained directly from nature. This would be the case of geothermal energy or solar thermal energy.
    • Energy generated from chemical energy,
    • It can be obtained through an exothermic reaction,…

      Last review: April 19, 2020