Energy Today and Tomorrow

A Year 11 module from the Salters’ Key Stage Four double award science course. This module deals with the generation, transmission and supply of electric power.

Understanding of the inductive effect is developed through demonstrations and practical work progressing to the design of dynamos and generators.

The flows of energy and matter through each stage of a power station are considered. Trends in energy use are considered and chemical equations can be used to calculate reacting masses.

The process of nuclear fission is considered as a source of energy to generate electricity. Advantages and disadvantages are considered.

Decisions between ac and dc are related to the ability to transform ac voltages and lower power loss for high voltage transmission. The efficiency of transformers is considered.
Wider environmental issues related to electricity generation are considered. A variety of alternative energy sources are compared.

Section 1: Producing electricity
The inductive effect is developed by demonstrations and practical work beginning with movement of a magnet in a coil and progressing to the design of dynamos and generators.

Section 2: How a power station works
Students consider the stages which take place in a power station furnace, boiler, turbine and generator, including the flow of energy and matter through each stage.

Section 3: Energy and the environment
Problems of air pollution from fossil fuels are examined. Trends in energy use are considered and chemical equations can be used to calculate reacting masses.

Section 4: The nuclear option
The process of nuclear fission is explained and considered as a source of energy from a chain reaction to generate electricity. Some advantages and disadvantages are considered.

Section 5: Electricity distribution
The location of power stations is discussed, revealing the need to transmit power. Decisions between ac and dc are related to the ability to transform ac voltages and lower power loss for high voltage transmission. The transformer equation is applied to step-up and step-down transformers, and the efficiency of transformers is considered.

Section 6: Energy for Tomorrow?
Environmental issues related to electricity generation are studied, and alternative energy sources are compared. The section ends by using calculations based on U values of insulating materials to calculate energy savings for more efficiently insulated buildings.

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