The need for energy resources continues to grow at a rate that requires our attention. Prior to the 1970s, demand was predictable and sustained.
Since then, energy consumption has soared out of control as a result of population growth and the need for a better standard of life. Without a doubt, we have crossed the line into sustainable energy resource utilization. We are depleting resources faster than our earth can replenish them!
We are eroding our planet to the point that we will soon run out of energy if we continue to rely on non-renewable resources. As of 2017, the Earth’s ecology was unable to fulfill our natural resource demands.
As we continue to increase our consumption, this energy debt continues to grow considerably.
Non-renewable vs. Renewable Energy Sources
Due to rapidly dwindling energy supplies and rising demand for energy, people have begun to take steps to safeguard our planet’s natural resources and optimize energy efficiency.
This will ensure that the populace has access to dependable and sustainable energy.
At the moment, we have two sorts of energy resources available to us: non-renewable and renewable.
Let us examine their definitions and the distinctions between them.
What are Non-renewable Sources of Energy?
Nonrenewable energy resources are those that, once used, reproduce at such a slow pace that their value is regarded inconsequential owing to their rapid depletion.
Allow me to illustrate. Assume you have a 1000-liter water tank. Each day, the tank gathers two liters of water. However, your consumption is far higher. Assume 20 liters.
In this manner, you’re using 18 liters more than necessary, putting you in debt. However, because of the reserve’s abundance, you will not feel the need to preserve it until it is completed.
Similarly, we are depleting non-renewable energy supplies at a rate that is absurdly faster than their generation rate. However, because of the vast reservoir of nonrenewable energy sources, mankind believes it to be unlimited.
Thus, a non-renewable energy source should be used sparingly and efficiently to avoid stock depletion.
Non-renewable energy sources are frequently referred to as conventional or traditional energy sources.
What are Renewable Energy Resources?
In comparison, renewable energy supplies are naturally replenished over time.
The pace at which these sources are used has no effect on the rate at which they refill. This is why, due to their sustainable nature, they are gaining widespread favor.
Renewable energy sources also have the advantage of emitting very little pollution or greenhouse gases. This is another factor contributing to the growth in demand for renewable energy.
Renewable energy sources are sometimes referred to as non-conventional energy sources or alternative energy sources.
Here are twenty examples of non-renewable and renewable energy sources that are now in use across the world.
Non-Renewable Energy Resources Examples
Coal is a major source of energy and one of the most commonly utilized fossil fuels. It is composed of carbon-rich material that was generated when wetlands and plant material were submerged in water and then dried up, resulting in sedimentary material. Over thousands of years, the dead plant material in the sediments decays and is turned into an organic substance known as peat.
Peat transforms to coal when it is squeezed by the great pressure and heat generated by millions of years of deep burial of fresh layers.
Coal may be used to synthesize a wide variety of synthetic chemicals. For instance, it can be utilized in the manufacture of coke. Coke is produced by destructively distilling coal at 1000 degrees Celsius in the absence of air.
Additionally, it is utilized to generate power via steam. The steam generated by boiling massive amounts of water spins gigantic turbines, which transmit energy to generators to generate electricity.
Coal derives its energy from the chemical energy contained in hydrocarbon and oxygen bonds. This rupture releases a large amount of heat energy.
Coal is considered a non-renewable resource since we cannot recreate the circumstances in which it was generated (very high temperature and pressure). Additionally, it takes millions of years to make!
Numerous analyses indicate that if present coal consumption continues at its current rate, there is a good likelihood that the world’s coal reserves may be exhausted completely over the next 150-200 years. As a result, it is critical to move away from sole reliance on coal as an energy source.
Oil is a non-renewable energy source that is widely used. Along with coal, it is also a key energy source.
Oil is a liquid fossil fuel that is derived from the soil as ‘crude oil.’ Fractional distillation is then used to divide it into several distinct types of oil (such as diesel).
Each sort of oil performs a unique function. For instance, gasoline is used to power vehicles while cooking oil is used in cooking.
Oil is analogous to coal in that its reserves are decreasing at a rate that makes replenishment nearly difficult. This indicates that our mother planet may soon run out of oil as well!
3. Natural Gas
Another sort of fossil fuel is natural gas. It is composed of organic materials derived from the decomposing remnants of microscopic marine animals that were deposited 300 million years ago on the ocean floor.
Over time, the rock strata above the deposits thickened by thousands of feet. These layers exerted increasing pressure on the energy-dense biological stuff.
This pressure, along with the increased heat from beneath, transformed the organic mixture into the oil and natural gas. Natural gas is trapped between layers of rock and in porous rock holes (like a wet sponge).
Companies dig to a depth of up to 10,000 feet to locate these deposits. Natural gas is refined following extraction. It is separated from the other components of natural gas at this point.
90% of natural gas is methane, a greenhouse gas. Additionally, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Ethane, Butane, Propane, Sulfide, and Water are components.
Peat is another fossil fuel that is frequently used. Apart from its usage as a fuel, it is also employed in the horticulture and potting industries.
It is a type of organic debris that occurs spontaneously and is soft and pitted with minerals.
Peat takes thousands of years to create, and due to its rapid use, it is also a non-renewable energy source.
Certain countries, such as Indonesia, protect peatlands because they are a critical component of our natural ecology. Conserving peatlands also contributes to global warming mitigation!
Sand is the third most often used natural resource, after air and water. Regrettably, sand is likewise a non-renewable resource.
Sand is made up of a variety of various rock deposits and minerals that have been broken down into minute fragments.
Sand is mined to manufacture glass, conduct oil explorations, and reclaim the land. Additionally, sand is commonly employed in buildings. Almost every structure, landmark, or monument has some amount of sand.
Urbanization is not about to halt, and neither will the need for sand. As a result, we must address sustainable resource management before this resource depletes.
Alternatively, efforts are being made to develop sustainable construction materials.
While it is true that nuclear energy is a renewable energy source, uranium (the element that produces nuclear energy) and the fuel that runs nuclear reactors are not.
Uranium is a radioactive element that is the most often utilized raw material in nuclear energy.
Uranium-235 and uranium-238 are the most frequently utilized isotopes, but most nuclear power reactors employ solely uranium-235.
It is of cosmic origin since its isotopes were produced billions of years ago in supernovas.
The globe over, extensive mining is carried out to remove uranium isotopes from its ore. At the moment, we have just 200 years of uranium supplies remaining.
A valuable metal that has served as a symbol of riches and power since its inception. As with Uranium, it has a cosmic origin, having been produced by the collision of neutron stars. Each year, over 2,700 tonnes of gold are extracted. This equates to 2.7 Million Kilograms!
Apart from its usage as a luxury item, gold is frequently employed in the technology industry for the creation of computer chips, mobile phones, and other equipment. Gold has also been employed in the pharmaceutical sector in recent years to treat rheumatoid arthritis and TB and is being investigated as a possible cancer cure.
Gold is also employed as a catalyst in the production of solar fuels. This is to overcome the solar panel’s unreliability. The reliance on gold has resulted in a progressive depletion of natural gold reserves. It’s only a matter of time before we deplete our remaining reserves.
Turkey just overtook Russia as the world’s top gold consumer, purchasing 148 tonnes of gold in the first half of 2020.
Aluminum is a prevalent element in the earth’s crust. It is most often found in the form of bauxite ore, which is chemically treated to generate the metal.
Due to the scarcity of bauxite ore, aluminum metal is considered a non-renewable resource.
Aluminum is ingrained in our daily lives; it is used in packaging, the manufacture of vehicle components, and the manufacture of airplanes, among other things. Aluminum’s versatility explains its vast range of applications.
Have you ever wondered how planes are able to fly? Consider aluminum.
Aluminum consumption has risen dramatically in recent years. However, it was not until the late nineteenth century that it was used and exploited.
In comparison to other natural resources, aluminum offers a particular edge. It is completely recyclable without sacrificing its original quality.
As a result, the recycling sector has reprocessed aluminum extensively to satisfy demand.
Iron is present in the core of the earth, stars, and the sun. Even our blood contains iron (Not like it exists on the earth, but in the form of minerals). Unfortunately, because it cannot be regenerated naturally, it is classified as a non-renewable energy resource.
Throughout history, iron has been used to create a variety of things, including tableware, swords, blades, and other everyday goods.
Stainless steel is made from iron and may be used to create a variety of cutting and non-cutting devices. As you enter the kitchen, you’ll see that the majority of the utensils are made of iron.
Iron is also the primary component of hemoglobin. A molecule that transports oxygen throughout our bodies. Iron pills can be used to treat anemia and to supply the body in general to iron-deficient persons.
Iron is prevalent in the earth’s crust, and some argue that it constitutes the majority of the crust. Meteors that collide with the earth also have a significant concentration of iron.
10. Phosphate Rock
Phosphorous is mostly produced in phosphate rock. It is a necessary nutrient found in agricultural fertilizers.
Phosphates are an inexhaustible source of energy for our world. Plants simply cannot develop without an appropriate supply of phosphate minerals in the soil.
This is because plants would be unable to perform photosynthesis, a critical function in the development of plants.
Phosphate rock is used in the fertilizer industry to the tune of 85 percent of all mined phosphate rock. The remainder is used to make a variety of additional vitamins and cattle feed.
For proper bone formation and maturation, our skeletal system requires an adequate supply of calcium and phosphate. Without a proper supply of phosphate, we may experience health problems such as bone abnormalities and stunted growth in children.
Phosphate rock reserves are depleting. If the resource is not managed efficiently, we risk jeopardizing our capacity to feed the people adequately.
11. Rare Earth Elements
Modern science is predicated on the study of rare earth elements. Their varied features and characteristics have aided science in developing the many electrical gadgets we now use.
Rare earth elements are employed in the manufacture of electric cars, computers, mobile phones, televisions, and other items that are critical to our contemporary culture.
These elements are present in small amounts throughout the earth’s crust. They, like gold and uranium, are cosmic in origin.
As a result, they cannot be deemed renewable, despite the fact that they are capable of producing clean energy (emission-free).
We must manage this resource prudently and efficiently. While there is no scarcity of rare earth elements at the moment, they are only available in finite quantities.
Examples of Renewable Energy Sources
1. Solar Power
Solar energy is the process of capturing the sun’s light and turning it into renewable power. This electricity may be utilized to power our houses, automobiles, and even industrial processes.
People are eager to install solar panels on their rooftops to generate emission-free power. Automobile manufacturers are now selling solar panel roofs on their electric automobiles.
The solar business has advanced to the point where it is possible to store solar energy without using batteries!
Even if we captured all of this energy at once, we would never exhaust it fully. This is because the sun will continue to feed us solar energy until it ceases to exist.
According to a study, the planet receives an enormous quantity of solar energy from the sun, 173 trillion Terawatts specifically. That is really 10 thousand times the amount of energy consumed by the entire world’s population.
Solar energy has advanced significantly throughout history. This timeline illustrates how solar evolved to become what it is now.
We have a good deal of reading material about Solar Energy, which you may access by searching for solar in the upper right corner.
2. Wind Power
Wind energy was one of the first renewable energy sources. Wind energy has gained appeal as a way to improve our living conditions while also being environmentally friendly (a clean source of energy).
Wind, in its simplest form, transports air from a region of high pressure to a region of low pressure. This movement (Kinetic energy of Wind) causes the turbine’s blades to revolve.
The wind turbine’s rotation creates kinetic energy, which is transferred to a generator. This kinetic energy is subsequently converted to electrical energy by the generator. Continue reading to learn more about how wind turbines create power.
Wind farms are clusters of wind turbines that operate together.
Wind energy technology has improved to a point where it can achieve efficiency of up to 50%. We’ve even constructed wind turbines with no blades!
You surely recall how windmills were prevalent in little settlements around the countryside decades ago. These windmills were one of the earliest methods of harnessing wind energy for usage. Windmills, on the other hand, convert wind energy to mechanical energy rather than electricity.
This mechanical energy was utilized to grind grain or wheat for the family’s flour. Even now, some of these may be seen scattered throughout tiny settlements around Holland. As long as our planet survives and the winds continue to blow, we will be able to capture wind-generated electricity.
We are all aware of the enormous significance of water. Water cannot be replaced in our life!
70% of our body is composed of water. Similarly, the majority of our world is made up of water. Water is present on every continent in rivers, lakes, oceans, and seas. Not unexpectedly, it also has enormous potential for electrical generation.
We generate energy through hydroelectricity, tidal energy, and wave energy, which are all different types of flowing water.
Water is a renewable energy source because of the kinetic energy contained in its flow.
Are you aware? The biggest hydroelectric facility in the United States is located in Washington on the Columbia River. Hydropower generates two-thirds of Washington’s electricity.
However, there is debate about whether water should be classified as a renewable or non-renewable energy source. This is because water cannot be produced, and once it becomes contaminated or mistreated, it cannot be utilized again.
4. Geothermal Energy
The earth’s core generates an enormous amount of heat. It is sufficiently intense that it radiates onto the earth’s surface. This is referred to as geothermal energy.
There is enormous potential for harvesting this energy in locations where the earth’s heat may reach the earth’s outer surface (that is, the ground), such as places where the earth’s crust is thinner.
Typically, this is done through the use of thermal power plants. Utilizing geothermal energy has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Did you know they operate at a 400% efficiency level?
We may utilize geothermal energy in the form of hot springs, steam vents, or volcanic lava as long as the earth’s core remains heated.
Due to the fact that the heat energy contained within the earth’s core is not going away anytime soon, neither will geothermal energy. As a result, it is regarded as a renewable source of energy.
Air is rich in vital components that are important for human life. Oxygen is a critical element. It is synthesized by plants during photosynthesis and is used by humans, animals, and a variety of other creatures to perform aerobic respiration.
Additionally, it is the primary reactant in the burning of different fossil fuels to generate energy.
Bear in mind that a little amount of Carbon Dioxide is also required, as plants require Carbon Dioxide to perform photosynthesis. Air is a critical source of energy for humans.
It has the potential to regenerate itself even after being polluted by numerous industrial processes and other kinds of air pollution. This is only feasible with plants’ continuous generation of oxygen and use of carbon dioxide.
Often, one is unaware of the quantity of air pollution since it dissipates into the world’s vast amounts of air. However, we have experts to inform us how the air quality has deteriorated over time as a result of human activity.
Healthy ecosystems are capable of replenishing soil composition in a sustainable manner, transforming it into a renewable energy source.
While soils may be refilled with nutrients, the pace at which they do so is far slower than the rate at which they are depleted. This suggests that depletion is far from sustainable.
The good news is that we can resolve these issues by re-fertilizing the soil. This may be accomplished through a variety of strategies, including sustainable agriculture and bio-intensive farming.
7. Cultivated plants
Renewable energy may be generated by any sort of plant. Renewable resources include plants grown for energy generation and food production. This is because they are regenerable!
However, there are certain crops referred to as ‘energy crops that are planted specifically for the purpose of generating energy. These crops demand far less effort and money. Energy crops include woody plants such as willow and poplar, as well as herbaceous plants such as Elephant Grass species (Pennisetum Purpureum and Miscanthus Giganteus).
Due to the high carbon content of woody plants, they have a greater store of energy. Crops are harvested and processed to produce solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels. Pellets, bioethanol, and biogas are all examples of such fuels. The fuels can then be used to create energy in the same way as natural gas is.
Multiple crops can be harvested and cultivated on a field, and this process can be repeated twice or three times a year. Plants may be utilized to grow food crops such as wheat, corn, and sunflower for animal feeding. Timber may be grown from trees. Timber is used to make paper and is occasionally burnt in off-grid settlements to generate heat.
We breed and create animals in order to obtain the items we seek. Eggs, meat, and milk are produced by livestock farming. We look after their health, cross-breed them, and even pick the best cattle to breed further. In this manner, we maintain a continual supply of animal resources to fulfill the population’s demands. Animals may provide humans with an enormous amount of energy.
Needless to say, animals have existed in our world longer than people have, and their existence is far from over. This should not, however, be a reason for people to go out of their way to kill or be violent to animals.
We can assert that animals provide us with renewable energy, but only to the extent that it is sustainable. If our consumption of animals surpasses their reproductive rate, we are accelerating the risk of endangerment and extinction.
Biofuels are liquid hydrocarbon fuels created through a variety of biological processes on biomass. Biodiesel and ethanol are two examples of biofuels. Biodiesel may be made from vegetable oil or fat, while ethanol is created by fermentation.
In the United States, biodiesel has gradually gained favor. In 2018, about 2 billion gallons of biodiesel were used. Biodiesel fuel provides a number of advantages over the conventional diesel fuel that we use in our vehicles and tractors. Before I begin, let me reassure you that diesel engines can be converted to biodiesel fuel without the need to replace the engines.
When produced appropriately, bio-diesel is non-toxic and fully biodegradable. Due to the reduced amounts of air pollutants in biodiesel, it is considered more environmentally friendly than regular diesel. Ethanol is currently a component of nearly all gasoline marketed in the United States.
Typically, the proportion of ethanol in petroleum gas is around 10% by volume (referred to as E10), which is compatible with all gasoline-powered engines. However, vehicles that can run on fuels with a greater ethanol content (>10%) are referred to as flexible-fuel vehicles.
The EPA performed the study and concluded that automobiles manufactured after 2007 may withstand ethanol concentrations of more than 15% in gasoline. However, greater ethanol percentages (51-83 percent) seen in fuels such as E-85 may be utilized exclusively in variable-fuel or flexible-fuel cars.
10. Biomass Energy
For millennials, we have relied on biomass to perform a variety of activities in our houses.
Biomass is essentially the energy generated by the combustion of plant or animal organic matter. Even when these organic elements are utilized in industrial operations as raw materials, they are classified as biomass.
Today, we use four different forms of biomass: wood and agricultural products (Energy crops), solid waste (manure), landfill gas, and alcohol-related fuels such as ethanol or biodiesel.
Biomass energy is commonly used to prepare food in off-grid settlements. Wood is the most commonly used kind of biomass, accounting for 44% of all biomass energy created today.
Biomass is also a renewable resource since we can simply gather organic dung or replant crops or trees to harvest energy from them.
The most sustainable method of obtaining energy is through afforestation. In this manner, new trees are planted for every tree that is felled to provide biomass energy.
It is critical to understand all of the available energy sources in order to select the one that best meets your demands.
As people become more aware of the implications of climate change and global warming, they have migrated away from non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
The percentage of the population that uses these renewable energy sources has been steadily growing in recent years.
While the initial investment in equipment for these projects is substantial, renewable energy has shown to be quite profitable in the long run (both financially as well as environmentally).
Anyways, if you want to learn about saving money and spending it wisely, read our blog here.