Hi there, I'm Polly and I'll be explaining how geology helps us to find the energy we use to power our homes and fuel our cars. It’s electrifying!
Did you know that coal, oil and gas are all fossil fuels? They are used to heat our homes, provide power for industry and fuel our cars. Fossil fuels are made from trees, plants and tiny sea creatures which were buried millions of years ago. They were squashed and heated so much that they changed into the fossil fuels we find today. These fuels are then burned and used to produce steam which drives generators to make electricity.
This map shows places around the world where different types of fossil fuels can be found:
Oil and gas are normally found trapped in pockets called fields deep underground. Geologists know how to use the clues found on geological maps to find those oil and gas fields. Read a bit more about how they know.
Now that countries around the world are trying to find ways to reduce their carbon emissions (including those released from the burning of fossil fuels) – geological maps can help again! In the same way that oil and gas can be trapped underground, carbon dioxide can also be trapped. If we can store the carbon dioxide we produce, we can help reduce the effects of global warming.
Increasingly, we are looking to alternative forms of energy as we try to reduce the impact we have on our environment. One option is to harness the energy that is contained within the earth in the form of heat. This can be used to directly heat homes and businesses by pumping water down beneath a house and bringing it back once it has been heated up. It can also be used indirectly to generate electricity – Geothermal Energy Plants currently produce 0.3% of the world’s electricity.
In some places, the hot water comes straight out of the ground by itself – these geothermal springs are used for bathing all over the world. The Romans used geothermal springs to bathe in and to heat buildings!
Do you know where your electricity comes from? Find out and let us know using our online form!