CHM 110 - Chemistry and Issues in the Envrionment

Charles E. Ophardt, Professor of Chemistry, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60126,, Copyright 2004

Topic # 6 Energy Resources - Special Assignment


OR What is your personal contribution to the production of carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas?


1. Calculate/estimate the fossil fuel energy resources that you or your household uses on a yearly basis.
2. Calculate the carbon dioxide that you contribute to the atmosphere as a result of using fossil fuels.
3. Appreciate the fairly large amounts of resources needed to support your life-style.


In this exercise, you will be introduced to various energy resources which are used to support the lifestyles that we are accustomed in the United States. You will calculate the amount of energy resources that you personally use, which then result in the production of carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas.

 Use the following forms to track your use of fossil fuels. At the end of the exercise there will be a place to post the results of your fossil fuel use to an appropriate place on the CHM 110 Discussion Board. This will be worth an additional 6 points for this topic only.

Write out answers to questions in a WORD PROCESSOR
and then copy and paste into


Source: Energy Information Administration, Annual Review 2002.

99.3 quads in BTU's per year consumed in the U.S. in 2002

One BTU is defined as the heat energy needed to change 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit.
One Quad = Quadrillion is 1 x 1015.

This large amount of energy represents 35 % of the energy used in the world by 5 % of the population.

What is the major fossil fuel that supplies the majority of the energy in the U. S.?


Gallons of Gasoline Used:

Keep a record of all the gallons of gasoline purchased for your car for one or two weeks and prorate for one month.


If one barrel of oil contains 42 gallons, how many barrels of oil do you burn in gasoline per year?
BARRELS OF OIL as gasoline /YEAR ________

42 gallons = 1 barrel of oil

15.7 Million barrels of oil consumed per DAY - 1984
20.8 Million barrels  - 2008  (Imports 12.5;  Domestic production 8.3)

As you can see from the bar chart almost half of a barrel of oil is used to make gasoline, which is consumed mainly in private automobiles.


Electricity is measured in terms of kilowatt-hours. Take a look at an ordinary light bulb and you will notice that the number of watts is indicated. For example, the bulb may read 100 watts or 75 watts. The wattage marked on the bulb indicates the amount of electricity that the bulb will use in one hour. For example a 100 watt light bulb will use 100 watts in 1 hour and 1000 watts in 10 hours. A kilowatt-hour is equal to 1000 watts. If you burn 10 light bulbs of 100 watts each for one hour, you have used 1000 watts in one hour or one kilowatt-hour.
If you look carefully at various appliance motors or the instruction manuals, you may find the wattage listed.

INVENTORY 2: (optional)


On a typical evening go around your house OR dorm room and floor and make a list of all the lights turned on along with the wattage for the bulbs. A four foot fluorescent tube (usually two per fixture) is 40 watts. Also list the amount of time each light is turned on in quarter fractions of an hour. Multiply the watts times the time in hours, and finally add them altogether. Convert the watts per hour to kilowatt-hours.

Week Night Lights: _________________kilowatt-hours


Use your monthly electric bills to tabulate monthly and ultimately yearly use of electricity. Find as many bills as possible. There will be differences in the amounts in summer to run air conditioning, winter to run the furnace, and spring/fall when neither is used very much. If you live in an apartment or dorm, try to obtain this information from family, friends, or relatives that live in a house or you may access data from a typical suburban house Utility Usage.



Source: Energy Information Administration, Annual Review 2002.

2.5 trillions KW-HRS. consumed in U.S. - 1985
Electricity use in USA - 4.062 Trillion Kilowatt Hours per year in 2007

Which is the major fossil fuel used to generate electricity?


Water heating and space heating require approximately 39% of the energy needs in a house.

Fossil Fuels Used for space and water heating

What is the major energy source for space heating?  About 55% use natural gas, 25 % use electricity, 8% use fuel oil.

Which source do you have in your house?
What source of energy is used to heat water in your house? natural gas or electric?
What source of energy is used for the clothes dryer? natural gas or electric?

INVENTORY 4: Natural Gas or Fuel Oil for Space Heating:

Use your natural gas (or fuel oil) bills to find the cubic feet of natural gas used for an entire year. Actually there is no longer any reference on the bill to cubic feet of gas, but the number they do provide is Therms of gas. These two terms and numbers are nearly equivalent. The number of Therms given must be multiplied by 100, since it actually represents 100s of cubic feet of natural gas. One barrel oil = 7700 cubic feet natural gas equivalent. If you live in an apartment or dorm, try to obtain this information from family, friends, or relatives that live in a house or you may access data from a typical suburban house Utility Usage.


Natural Gas Consumption USA 604 billion cubic meters 2007

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Chemical Calculations:
How much does each person contribute to the production of excess carbon dioxide by driving an automobile and using 1 gallon of gasoline to drive 20 miles?

Please Note: No actual calculations are required from you, just follow along and appreciate that this is how chemical calculations are completed.

An automobile burns gasoline in the combustion reaction. Although gasoline is a complex mixture of organic compounds, this problem will focus on one of them, octane - a hydrocarbon, (C8H18). Other information needed to solve the problem includes: 1 gallon = 4 quarts; 1 quart = 960 ml; density of octane = 0.69 g/ml

a. How many quarts in a gallon? (ans. 4 qt)

b. How many milliliters in a gallon? (ans. 3840 ml)

c. How many grams in a gallon? (ans. 2650 g)

d. The balanced combustion reaction for octane is:

2 C8H18 + 25 O2 ===> 16 CO2 + 18 H2O

All combustion reactions of any fossil fuel produce carbon dioxide and water as by products.

e. What is the mole ratio of octane to carbon dioxide by reading balanced equation?
2 moles octane = 16 moles CO2

f. What is the molecular weight of octane? of carbon dioxide?
1 mole octane = 114 g; 1 mole CO2 = 44 g

g. Calculate the mass of carbon dioxide produced.

Mass of carbon dioxide produced from 1 gallon of gasoline as shown below is:
8.18 kg/gal or 18 lbs of carbon dioxide produced for each gallon of gasoline used!!

 2650 g X  1 mole octane X  16 moles CO 2 X  44 g CO 2 =

 8,182 g/gal
8.18 kg/gal
   114 g octane  2 moles octane  1 mole CO2  

INVENTORY 5: Personal Carbon Dioxide Emissions per year

To find the totals simply multiply the yearly totals from the Inventories by the factors listed below.
 Energy Use  Yearly Use  CO2 factor

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

 8.18 kg carbon dioxide per gal. gasoline
 Electricity: Coal Fired Electrical Power Plant:  

1 kg CO2
per 1 kilowatt hour
 Natural Gas:     0.062 kg carbon dioxide per 1 cubic feet natural gas  

Total Carbon Dioxide per year in kg
2.2 lbs. = 1 kg...
in pounds
2000 lbs = 1 ton...
in tons

Compare your contribution of carbon dioxide to the total U.S. for 2002.

Write out answers to questions in a WORD PROCESSOR
and then copy and paste into

Post your information on the Discussion Forum. Use the info given to ultimately type your data into the message box. We want to find how who is the energy miser and who uses the most energy.

After completing this energy assessment, hopefully you will have an appreciation for the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced from the combustion of fossil fuels as you begin the Issue # 3 Discussion. As part of that discussion, the issue will be how to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels.


 Use the Low Impact Environmental Calculator to find a variety of household items and their impact on the environment.  Watch the score change and the bar graphs change as you enter your data.  If you do not know some of them, just use the default settings. Include the results when you post the other results to the discussion board.
Extra Credit: 2 points  Personal Environmental Impact Calculator

 Use the EPA guide for automobiles to calculate your GHG Emissions (Greenhouse Gas):
To use the form, pick the year, make, model, and engine in your car.
Include these when you post the other results to the discussion board.

For example a 2000 Buick Regal produces 8.2 tons* of GHG per year.
* Based on 45% highway miles, 55% city miles, 15000 annual miles and a fuel cost of
$1.46 per gallon. You may customize these values to reflect the cost of fuel in your area
and your own driving patterns.

Extra Credit: 1 point for a car.  GHG Emissions Calculator