any material, excluding fossil fuels, that was or is a living organism and can potentially be used as fuel.
British Thermal Unit (BTU)
a unit of energy; 1055 Joules is equal to 1 BTU.
The maximum power that a machine such as an electrical generator or a system such as a transmission line can safely produce or handle.
Capacity Factor
The amount of energy a facility generates in one year divided by the total amount it could generate if it ran at full capacity. A capacity factor of one implies that the system ran at full capacity the entire year; a typical wind farm will operate at 0.25 capacity factor, or 25%.
Diffuse Radiation
Scattered radiation from the sun that comes from all portions of the sky.
Forest Residues
unused wood in the forest including logging residues, cull trees, dead trees, and annual mortality.
Geopressured Geothermal
type of geothermal resource occurring in deep basins in which fluid is under pressure.
Geothermal Energy
heat transferred from the earth's interior to underground rocks or water located relatively close to the earth's surface.
Geographic Information System.
Hot Dry Rock (HDR)
heat energy residing in impermeable crystalline rock. Fracturing creates permeability to allow the circulation of water to remove the heat.
Amount of solar energy reaching a surface per unit of time.
A standard international unit of energy; 1055 Joules is equal to 1 BTU.
Kilowatt (kW)
One thousand Watts; the power requirement of ten 100 W light bulbs.
Kilowatt-hour (kWh)
A unit of energy equal to one kW applied for one hour; running a one kW hair dryer for one hour would dissipate one kWh of electrical energy as heat.
Kinetic Energy
Energy possessed by virtue of an object's motion.
Megawatt (MW)
One million Watts; a modern coal plant will have a capacity of about 1,000 MW.
Megajoule (MJ)
One million Joules.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
urban refuse collected for landfilling and including paper, organic matter, metals, plastic, etc., but not certain agricultural or industrial wastes.
Ocean Thermal Gradient
Differences in the temperature of layers of the ocean potentially useful for running a heat engine.
Passive Systems
Systems using the sun's energy without mechanical systems.
the biochemical process that utilizes radiant energy from sunlight to synthesize carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of chlorophyll.
Photovoltaic Conversion
Use of semi-conductors or other devices that convert solar radiation (phototons) directly to electricity.
Quad (Q)
Unit of energy equivalent to 1015 BTU.
Salinity Gradient
a change in salinity between bodies of water or layers within a body of water.
Solar Ponds
Ponds of stratified water that collect and retain heat.
Tidal Range
the vertical distance between the high and low tide.
Watt (W)
A standard unit of power defined as one Joule of energy transferred or dissipated in one second.