Energy Town

Glossary

A
Appliance
An electrical device found in the home, which does a particular job eg a washing machine
B
Biomass
Plant and animal material, which can be burnt as fuel
C
Carbon dioxide
A colourless gas that is produced when fossil fuels like coal are burnt. This gas makes it harder for the heat from the Sun to escape into space, which makes the Earth's atmosphere warmer. This can cause problems like making sea levels rise

 

Circuit
A closed loop that electricity runs through

D
Diesel
A liquid fuel made from oil that makes vehicles like cars work

 

Distribution
Sharing out or supplying, eg electricity distribution is when electricity is supplied to people

E
Energy
A source of power that makes things work

 

Extension cord
An electrical cable that allows an appliance to be plugged in when its own cable does not reach a wall socket

F
Fossil fuels
Fuels that were made thousands of years ago from dead plants and animals, eg oil

 

Furnace
A place where fuel is burned at a high temperature

Fuse
A device in a circuit containing a thin wire that will break if too much current flows

G
Gearbox
A set of gearwheels designed to change the speed at which machinery works

 

Generation
The making of something, such as electricity

Generator
A machine that makes electricity by moving a magnet inside coils of wire

Geothermal
Heat from the Earth

Global warming
A rise in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere due to the increase in certain gases in the atmosphere

Greenhouse gas
A gas such as carbon dioxide, which causes global warming when it is trapped in the Earth's atmosphere

H
Heat pump
A machine for taking heat from the ground and using it to warm buildings (also called a heat exchanger)

 

Hydroelectric energy
Electricity generated using the energy of moving water

Hydrogen
A very light colourless gas that can be used as a fuel

I
Insulation
Thermal insulation is material that does not allow heat to pass through it easily
K
kWh
An abbreviation of kilowatt hours - a measure of the amount of electricity used
M
Mains electricity
The electricity used in a home to work appliances that plug into wall sockets

 

Meter
A device for measuring something eg the amount of gas used in a home

Mill
A machine that grinds things up eg a mill in a coal-fired power station grinds coal into dust so it can be burnt faster

N
National Grid
A giant network of overhead lines and underground cables used to transport all of the electricity supplies around the country
O
Overhead power lines
Thick metal cables held up by pylons used to carry high-voltage electricity
P
Paraffin
A liquid fuel made from oil used mainly for heating

 

Power station
Buildings and machinery used to generate electricity

PV cells
Short for photovoltaic cells; devices that make electricity from light

Pylon
A tall metal tower that supports high-voltage power lines

R
Reactor
The part of a nuclear power station where reactions take place, which give off heat

 

Renewable
Something that is renewable can be renewed or made again

S
Shaft
A round spinning rod such as an axle, usually made of metal

 

Socket
An electrical socket is where an appliance is plugged into a mains circuit

Solar energy
Energy from the sun

Substation
A building in which high-voltage electricity is transformed to a lower voltage, so it can be safely used

Sustainability
Something that is sustainable can be kept going without causing long-term damage to the environment

T
Tidal barrage
A giant dam built across the mouth of a river where it joins the sea

 

Thermostat
An electrical switch that is controlled by heat

Transformer
A device that changes the voltage of electricity

Transmission
Transporting high-voltage electricity around the country to where it is needed

Turbine
A machine powered by spinning blades

U
Uranium
A rare metal used as fuel in nuclear power stations
V
Volt
The unit of voltage, a measure of electrical force

 

Voltage
A measure of electrical force

W
Wind farm
A group of wind turbines used to generate electricity