C.1 Energy sources - core

Nature of science:

Use theories to explain natural phenomena-energy changes in the world around us result from potential and kinetic energy changes at the molecular level. Energy has both quantity and quality. 2.2


A useful energy source releases energy at a reasonable rate and produces minimal pollution.

The quality of energy is degraded as heat is transferred to the surroundings. Energy and materials go from a concentrated into a dispersed form. The quantity of the energy available for doing work decreases.

Renewable energy sources are naturally replenished. Non-renewable energy sources are finite.

Energy density = energy released from fuel/ volume of fuel consumed.

Specific energy = energy released from fuel/ mass of fuel consumed.

The efficiency of an energy transfer = useful output energy/total input energy x 100%.

Applications and skills:

Discussion of the use of different sources of renewable and non-renewable energy.

Determination of the energy density and specific energy of a fuel from the enthalpies of combustion, densities and the molar mass of fuel.

Discussion of how the choice of fuel is influenced by its energy density or specific energy. 

Determination of the efficiency of an energy transfer process from appropriate data.

Discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the different energy sources in C.2 through to C.8.