Some Answers to the Question ‘What Is Energy?’


Some Answers to the Question ‘What Is Energy?’

In physics, energy is the power to do work within an environment. Work done in this world is the outcome of the interaction between a single object with another, or among many objects. The word energy comes from Greek words that mean “motion,” and “force.” Force is something that tends to move in one direction or another. Work, on the other hand, is defined as the result of work being done by an object or by someone or something acting upon it.

In our daily lives, we constantly convert various forms of energy. We use fuel, which is a form of energy, to move from point A to point B. We also convert air into oxygen, which is another form of energy, and uses water to create vapor for combustion. When food is converted into energy, it is also converted into one form or another. And, as already mentioned, the results of these actions are all the results of energy being converted from one form to another. All forms of energy are ultimately converted into one form of energy called total energy.

Now let’s examine the question more closely. Why is it that some things are considered “renewable” while other things aren’t? To answer that question, we have to take the time to examine what exactly renewable means. The dictionary definition is “having the capacity to return to or maintain a form; restoration.” What this means is that energy can be restored; that is, it can be replenished.

For example, the energy in kinetic or moving energy, such as light, or in sound, heat, etc., is considered to be renewable because it has no end or beginning. This kind of energy never runs out since it is always being renewed. In contrast, potential energy, which is what makes up a particular chemical substance or atomic nucleus or particle, is nonrenewable. It is not possible to build things, plants, animals, etc., from the same amount of potential energy.

Another way to look at it is that kinetic energy only becomes available when it is converted into electrical energy. This is why, for example, the electric motor on an automobile must convert kinetic energy into electrical energy before it can perform properly. If it didn’t, it would work irrationally, with the battery eventually wearing out. Therefore, electric motors are designed to constantly run down until they are eventually destroyed.

There are two major problems with nonrenewable sources of energy. The first is pollution. Any nonrenewable energy sources pollute the air. They create artificial gravity that, among other things, causes more damage to the ozone layer than any other result. The second is that some forms of nonrenewable energy sources cannot be converted into energy useful to humans. For instance, burning fossil fuels in a car will produce a great deal of carbon dioxide, which is one cause of the problem called global warming.