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This article is about the physical quantity. For other uses, see Energy (disambiguation).

Lightning is the electric breakdown of air by strong electric fields, producing a plasma, which causes an energy transfer from the electric field to heat, mechanical energy (the random motion of air molecules caused by the heat), and light.
Lightning is the electric breakdown of air by strong electric fields, producing a plasma, which causes an energy transfer from the electric field to heat, mechanical energy (the random motion of air molecules caused by the heat), and light.
Lightning is the electric breakdown of air by strong electric fields, producing a plasma, which causes an energy transfer from the electric field to heat, mechanical energy (the random motion of air molecules caused by the heat), and light.

In physics and other sciences, energy (from the Greek ενεργός, energos, "active, working")[1] is a scalar physical quantity that is a property of objects and systems which is conserved by nature. Several different forms, such as kinetic, potential, thermal, electromagnetic, chemical, nuclear, and mass have been defined to explain all known natural phenomena.

Energy is converted from one form to another, but it is never created or destroyed. This principle, the conservation of energy, was first postulated in the early 19th century, and applies to any isolated system. According to Noether's theorem, the conservation of energy is a consequence of the fact that the laws of physics do not change over time.[2]

Although the total energy of a system does not change with time, its value may depend on the frame of reference. For example, a passenger in a moving airplane has zero kinetic energy relative to the airplane, but nonzero kinetic energy relative to the earth.


Fossil fuels

For the most part, today's energy sources are composed of fossil fuels, water power, and nuclear energy. To a lesser extent, wood, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and chemical resources are used. Much research is being invested in the improvement of cleaner and more environment-friendly power sources. These new types of energy may be seen more and more in years to come.
Fossil fuels are non-reusable energy sources. They include petroleum, coal, and natural gas.

external image petroleum.gif is the most commonly used energy source, supplying about 40% of the planet's energy. Petroleum is used to produce fuels, such as gasoline (petrol), diesel, and numerous fuels for heating. This rich energy source is found in crude oil. This substance is pumped from deep beneath the earth. The next step in this process is the processing of the oil in large refineries. Here, many of the polluting factors of crude oil are removed, and gasoline and other fuels are made. Back to the top
external image coal.gif is the next largest energy source used today. It is used mostly to create the steam in boilers, so as to generate electricity or drive large machinery. In many countries coal is still used as a source of heat. Even though coal is used widely across the globe, it does have a sizeable drawback, pollution. When burned, coal releases sulfur and numerous other contaminants into the atmosphere. The chemicals in the air can eventually make acid rain. Even with the installation of filtration devices in factories, the problem still exists.
external image naturalgas.gif makes up about 21% of the total energy used world wide. Used in households and commercial buildings for cooking and heating, natural gas is extracted from the earth (like petroleum). Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, as it is refined naturally during its formation within the earth. Because of this fact, the need for large refineries are not necessary.
external image miners.gif. Bituminous sands are sands that have been covered with oil producing substances. Rocks that can be processed to make crude oil, known as oil shale, may also be a substitution for other types of energy even if it may be more costly