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Last updated:

April 15, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

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Energy resources are essential for any society, be it one dependent on subsistence farming or an industrialised country.

There are many different sources of energy, some well-known such as coal or petroleum, others less so, such as tides or the heat inside the Earth. Is nuclear power a salvation or a nightmare? This free course, An introduction to energy resources, provides background information to each, so that you can assess them for yourself.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the difference between energy and power, and their units and prefixes
  • State the relative contributions of different natural energy sources to the global energy budget
  • Describe the contribution of photosynthesis to the carbon cycle, and distinguish the terrestrial and marine parts of the cycle
  • Discuss the issues involved in concentrating, storing and transporting energy
  • Recognise which energy resources have a low energy density, and which have a high energy density.

Course Curriculum

  • An introduction to energy resources 00:07:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:07:00
  • Energy use 00:15:00
    • Energy, work, power and efficiency 00:05:00
    • Some basic concepts 00:30:00
    • Present-day energy use 00:20:00
    • Global power demand 00:15:00
    • Sources of energy from the natural environment 00:10:00
    • Solar radiation 00:30:00
    • Tides 00:10:00
    • The Earth’s internal heat 00:10:00
    • Fossil fuels 00:05:00
    • Natural stores of carbon 00:10:00
    • The terrestrial carbon cycle 00:15:00
    • Photosynthesis, respiration and decay 00:20:00
    • The marine carbon cycle 00:30:00
    • Generating carbon — the legacy of volcanoes 00:10:00
    • The fossil fuel ‘bank’ 00:20:00
    • Nuclear energy 00:15:00
    • Concentrating, storing and transporting energy 00:02:00
    • Concentrating energy 00:10:00
    • Storing and transporting energy 00:30:00
    • Renewable and non-renewable energy supplies 00:20:00
    • Conclusion 00:25:00

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