Side Effects of Electricity Generation

We all enjoy the benefit of the energy cariied by the electricity that enters our home. Do you know that there are some side effects of your electric consumption? Your electric company probably burns fossil fuel to create your electricity. This discharges various substances into the air, including Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Particulate Matter, Carbon Dioxide, and Volatile Organic Compounds. In addition, because of inefficiency in the power plant, your consumption generates waste heat that is usually dissipated by the evaporation of water.

This worksheet helps you estimate what your personal share of each of these effects is. Enter the amount of electricity that you consume and the type of fuel that your utility burns, and your share of these side effects will be displayed.

use of kilowatt-hours of electricity, if your power plant generates power from emits approximately the following mix of pollutants each year.

SO2 Sulphur Dioxide - Associated with visible pollution (haze) and Acid Rain. For a good discussion of the effects of acid rain, follow this link.
NOx Oxides of Nitrogen - Created when Nitrogen is burned as part of the combustion process. Associated with Acid Rain.
PM10 Particulate matter smaller then 10 microns - associated with lung ailments.
CO2 CO2, Carbon Dioxide, is a normal atmospheric component. However, increased levels are likely to cause future climate changes.
VOCs Volatile Organic Compounds - having a variety of toxic effects.
Cooling Water Consumption:
GallonsBecause power plants are typically only about 36 percent efficient, they throw off an enormous amount of waste heat. This is typically dissipated by evaporating water, making power plants rather large water consumers.

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