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I was wondering if the laws of thermodynamics say that energy can't be created or destroyed then why do we have an energy crisis? Also why can't we develop new technologies to recycle our energy? Could you please give me insight into this?
Our energy crisis is the result of using only a couple of natural resources (oil, gas, coal) that also cause environmental problems. In other words we use oil faster than nature can produce it. Once we learn to better utilize other resources like solar and wind then we will be in a better position. Thinking of earth as a thermodynamic system we have energy input via sunlight and energy loss via radiation (heat loss). If we assume these are equal (which they are not) then yes the earth's energy remains constant. However since we only know how to use oil and coal then we have an energy crisis, not the earth. Yes we can develop new technologies to use other energy resources. Additionally, the second law of thermodynamics states an increase in entropy in nearly all processes, thus more and more energy is converted to a useless form which cannot perform any work.
chaiti b 1L wrote:Related to this, when the energy is converted to useless forms, such a heat/ friction/ chemical energy and eventually into the random motion of particles in the air, where does it go from there?
I'll just answer it in regards to heat. I'm sure you know that come of it stays within the earth and its atmosphere. The energy which does not remain on earth, clearly, goes to space. However, space itself doesn't conduct heat (or else the sun's warmth would never arrive, ouch!) so it escapes the earth in the form of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. forms of light) which will eventually come into contact with and be absorbed by different masses in space.
Hope this helps!
Renee Crippen 2I
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