A Discussion on the Use of the Use of Coal and Fossil Fuels as the Source of Energy During the Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution coal and other fossil fuels were used as a source of energy. They were burned and the gas given off was harmful to the atmosphere. Unknowingly factories burned fossil fuel causing what we call the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately, factories continue to burn these fuels.

Also causes acid rain. Acid rain is caused by oxides of sulfur, carbon, and nitrogen from burning fossil fuels combine with moisture in the air. In 1981 alone, 264 million tons of waste was produced in the United States, 5.5 million tons of it was considered hazardous. Five years later the United States generated 1,770,000 cubic feet of solid and liquid radioactive waste.

Has been known to cause ecological imbalances. DDT was used as an insecticide up until 1972. It almost wiped out the Bald Eagle population. It caused the birds to lay eggs so thin shelled eggs the eggs were unhatchable. Laws banned the use of DDT and also required the reduction of lead in gas. DDT is still used in developing countries on the malaria-carrying mosquito. Oil spills also have harmful effects, luckily chemicals can neutralize the oil before massive damage occurs. In 1983 the Dow Chemical Companys factory, a major producer of chemicals, showed contamination from dioxin. Dow undertook a 3 million dollar study of the material. The company announced that Dioxin is less health and life threatening.

High-temperatures are used to reduce the toxicity of waste. These processes use plasma technology to make the waste more environmentally friendly. Plasma treatment reach temperatures up to 1,6500 F. In the United States incineration is a primary way to get rid of liquid waste. This process eliminates waste in two stages. One is partially burning the waste with insufficient air and then they burn it again with excess air at high temperatures to destroy gases released by the first stage. Liquid must be stored for a short time before disposal. This waste is stored in steel drums before it is disposed of. After toxicity has been removed, the waste is stored. Ocean dumping and landfills are no longer used in the United States. However, the United States has high levels of nuclear waste containing plutonium or uranium. This waste is stored near the plant that produced it until the waste can be removed. Vitrification is a new method of nuclear waste disposal. This process takes nuclear waste and embeds it into a glasslike substance that is stable for thousands of years. They take these erosion-resistant blocks and put them underground in salt mines or rock formations. This method of disposal is widely used in France because of their extensive use of nuclear power.

In the United States, permit requirements and performance standards are needed for thermal destruction. These requirements and standards are determined by the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency. 99.99% of the principal organic hazardous constituents is required to be removed by the incinerator. 99% of hydrogen chloride in exhaust gases is also required. Radioactive wastes are regulated by the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Every state is responsible for its own waste in the state. disposal has improved but is still not safe for the environment and will always be a threat.