FRQ Summer HW Research Questions

FRQ 2000.1 Homework Research—(Energy Consumption & Sulfur Emissions)

A large, coal-fired electric power plant produces 15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each day.  Assume that an input of 15,000 BTU’s of heat is required to produce an output of 2 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

1.        Showing all steps in your calculations, determine the number of:

·       BTU’s of heat needed to generate the electricity produced by the power plant each day.

·       Pounds of coal consumed by the power plant each day, assuming that two pounds of coal yields 6,000 BTU’s of heat.

·       Pounds of sulfur released by the power plant each day, assuming that the coal contains 2% sulfur by weight.

2.        The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for power plants such as this one is that no more than 1.2 pounds of sulfur be emitted per million BTU’s of heat generated.  Using the results in part (1), determine whether the power plant meets the EPA standard.

3.     Describe three ways a fuel-burning electric power plant can reduce its sulfur emissions.

4.     Why are sulfur emissions from coal-fired power plants considered an environmental problem?  What are two negative effects that can occur on an ecosystem that has between associated with these emissions?

FRQ 2001.1 Homework Research (Energy Consumption)

For the following problems, show all steps of your calculations.  Include units!  Use the information listed below to answer all questions:

·       The house has 3,000 square feet of living space.

·       70,000 BTUs of heat per square foot are required to heat the house for winter.

·       Natural gas is available at a cost of $4.00 per thousand cubic feet.

·       One cubic foot of natural gas supplies 2,000 BTUs of heat energy.

·       The furnace in the house is 85% efficient.


1)    How much natural gas (in cubic feet) does a house need for heat for one winter?

2)    What is the cost of heating the house for one winter?

3)    What are three actions that the residents of the house could take to conserve heat energy and lower the cost of heating the house?

4)    The residents decide to supplement the heating of the house by using a wood-burning stove.  What are two environmental impacts—one positive and one negative—of using a wood-burning stove.


FRQ2004.1 Homework Research (Biomagnification)

·       What are two human activities that release mercury into the environment?  How is mercury transported from that source to an aquatic system.

·       What are three ways that can be done to reduce the amount of mercury released by the two activities that you listed?

·       Why is there a greater health risk associated with eating large predatory fish than from eating small non-predatory fish.

·       What are two toxic metals, other than mercury, that have a negative impact on human health and explain how they are introduced into the environment?  What effects can these toxic metals have when exposed to humans?


FRQ 2005.4 Homework Research  (Drilling in ANWR)


The Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) on Alaska’s North Slope is frequently in the news because petroleum geologists estimate that there are billions of barrels of economically recoverable oil beneath the surface of its frozen tundra.  According to a 1998 United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimate, ANWR could contain up to 10 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil.  Oil company officials advocate opening the refuge to oil exploration and the subsequent development of its petroleum resources.  Environmentalists argue that oil exploration and development will damage this fragile ecosystem and urge Congress to protect ANWR by designating it as a wilderness area.


1)    The United States consumes approximately  22 million barrels of oil per day.  According to the USGS estimate, for how many days would the technically recoverable oil resource in ANWR supply the total United States demand for oil?

2)    Describe 3 characteristics of arctic tundra that make it fragile and explain how these make the tundra susceptible to damage from anthropogenic impacts.

3)    What are 3 activities that are associated with the development of ANWR petroleum resources and how would each of these activities environmentally impact ANWR?

4)    What are 2 major end uses of the 22 billion barrels of oil that the US consumes each day?  For each of these, what is a conservation measure that would reduce US consumption?


FRQ 2007.1 Homework Research (Sewage Treatment)


·       Name one component of sewage that is targeted for removal by primary treatment and one component targeted for removal by secondary treatment.  For each of these, explain how the pollutant is removed in the treatment process.

·       Two methods of disposing solid waste from sewage treatment plants are transporting it to a landfill or spreading it onto agricultural lands.  What is an environmental problem associated with each of these?

·       During the final step in sewage treatment, disinfection, what are two pollutants targeted during this step?  What is a commonly used method of disinfection?

·       Name a US federal law that requires monitoring the quality of the treated sewage that is discharged into rivers.

FRQ 2007.3 Homework Research (Ozone)

1)    What is the class of chemical compounds that is primarily responsible for the thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer?  Describe 3 major uses for which these chemicals were made.  How does this class of chemical compounds destroy stratospheric ozone molecules?  (Show the chemical equations for this!)

2)    What is the major environmental problem of the depletion of stratospheric ozone and describe 3 effects on ecosystems and/or human health that can result.

3)    Ozone formed at the ground level is a harmful pollutant.  What are 3 effects that ground-level ozone can have on ecosystems and/or human health.

FRQ 2008.3 Homework Research (Fire Suppression)

1)    What are 3 characteristics of forests that develop when fires are suppressed?  Explain why fire suppression increases the risks of intense & extensive forest fires.

2)    Healthy Forests Initiative (HRI) was legislation that was passed in 2003.  The effects of this are expected to extend beyond fire reduction.  Aside from fire reduction, describe one positive and one negative effect likely to result from the implementation of the provisions of the HFI.

3)    Identify 3 ecosystem services forests provide humans with.  How does clear-cutting affect each service you identified?

4)    What is a specific type of plant community or biome (other than a forest) that is naturally maintained by fire?  How does the fire maintain the community or biome?












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