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Electricity - Generating Electricity
A disadvantage of wind turbines is that they create noise pollution.

Electricity - Generating Electricity

Electricity is one of the main topics studied at in GCSE Physics. In this quiz we look at some of the methods used when generating electricity, including fossil fuels, nuclear fuel renewable sources of energy.

Generating electricity can be done by burning fuels, using nuclear reactors or capturing energy from the environment. When fuels are burnt, they release greenhouse gases and other gases that cause acid rain. Some of the fuels we use, for example wood and biodiesel, are sustainable whilst others, called non-renewable fuels, will be used up at some point in the future (although for coal, oil and gas we could wait for tens of millions of years for them to re-form!).

1.
What is a disadvantage of burning fossil fuels?
Absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
Do not create enough heat energy
Release harmful gases into the atmosphere
Create too much heat energy
Burning fossil fuels releases a variety of gases into the Earth's atmosphere including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and sulphur and nitrogen oxides. Carbon monoxide is toxic, carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect whilst sulphur and nitrogen oxides contribute to acid rain
2.
What is a disadvantage of using nuclear energy?
Does not produce enough energy
Produces radioactive waste
Releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
Does not emit harmful radiation
Whilst nuclear energy does not release harmful gases into the atmosphere, it does create harmful radioactive waste which can take decades or even centuries for the radiation emitted to reduce to safe levels
3.
What materials are used as fuels in nuclear power stations?
Uranium and plutonium
Carbon and argon
Xenon and hydrogen
Helium and oxygen
The heat from these fuels comes from natural radioactive decay of their atoms
4.
Which of the following is/are associated with the term 'renewable energy'?
Wind
Solar panels
Hydroelectric power
All of the above
Solar panels use the Sun's heat to supply hot water while solar cells generate electricity from the Sun's light. Many students get the two mixed up. Solar cells are also known as photovoltaic panels
5.
What is heated to produce steam in power stations?
Coal
Gas
Water
Sand
Whilst coal and gas may be used to create heat within the power plant, water is heated to produce steam which forces a turbine to rotate
6.
What types of materials are fossil fuels?
Coal
Oil
Gas
All of the above
They were formed from dead organisms millions of years in the past
7.
What is a disadvantage of wind turbines?
Are not energy efficient
Create noise pollution
Can pick people up if they stand too close to them
Are unstable and regularly fall over
One of the other objections is that they are usually sited in areas of natural beauty and create visual pollution too
8.
What is an advantage of solar panels and solar cells?
Produces more energy than the sun
Produces very little energy
Free energy once installed
All of the above
We do not pay for sunlight, so the energy it provides is free!
9.
What is a disadvantage of solar panels and solar cells?
Poor energy conversion on a cloudy day
Have to pay a monthly charge
Produces free energy
All of the above
Both work much better on cloudless days
10.
What is geothermal energy?
Steam and hot water created in some volcanic areas are used to drive turbines
Heat energy that produced in underground nuclear power stations
Tidal energy produced by the motion of the sea
Energy produced by the radiation emitted by the sun
Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years for hot water but it was only in the early years of the 20th century that it was used to generate electricity
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Generating electricity

Author:  Martin Moore

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