Types of non-renewable energy sources

The non – renewable resources are those that have a LIMITAD supply and can not be replaced by natural means at a pace that suits their consumption. Many of our fossil fuels, like oil, are non-renewable resources. In other words, if we keep using them, they will eventually run out .

TypesDefinition
Fossil fuelsThey form due to the continuous heating and compression of organic matter buried beneath the earth’s surface. It is primarily made up of plant and animal remains that have been decomposed, heated, and compressed over millions of years to form fossil deposits. Includes oil, natural gas, and coal.
Nuclear energyIt is created from compressed organic matter and contains carbon and hydrocarbons. It is made up of plant-filled swamps that have been covered by sediment for millions of years.
Biomass energyIt consists of plants that are processed and burned to generate electricity. Includes crops such as corn, soybeans, or wood. If people don’t replant biomass raw materials as quickly as they use them, the energy becomes a non-renewable energy source.

What is a non-renewable resource

A non-renewable resource refers to a natural resource found underground, which when consumed, is not replenished at the same rate at which it is depleted . Resources typically take millions of years to develop. The main examples of non-renewable resources are fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas, which humans regularly extract for energy.

Apart from non-renewable resources, there are also renewable resources that are also a source of energy. Renewable resources can be maintained as they are replenished naturally . Examples of renewable resources include wind and sunlight, which are used to generate wind power and solar power, respectively.

Understanding of non-renewable resources

The US Energy Information Administration describes nonrenewable resources as those that are not replenished in a short time to keep up with their consumption. These resources are formed from organic material from plant and animal remains that existed millions of years ago. Since materials took millions of years to form, they also require millions of years to replenish.

Humans extract non-renewable resources in the form of gas, liquid, or solid , and then convert them into convenient forms for easy consumption. Non-renewable resources, such as coal and oil, are the main source of energy in the world and are used to power vehicles, factories and homes. Although they are affordable, they can be harmful to the environment and are one of the main contributors to global warming.

Types of non-renewable resources

The three main categories of non-renewable resources are fossil fuels, nuclear energy (from uranium ore) and biomass energy.

1. Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are formed due to the continuous heating and compression of organic matter buried beneath the earth’s surface. Organic matter is primarily made up of plant and animal remains that have been decomposed, heated, and compressed over millions of years to form fossil deposits .

The deposits are extracted by drilling or mining, and can be in liquid, gas or solid form. Fossil fuels are highly combustible, which makes them a rich source of energy. Examples of fossil fuels:

Raw oil

Crude oil, also known as petroleum oil , is the only non-renewable resource that is extracted in liquid form . It is found between the layers of the earth’s crust, or between rocks, and is recovered by drilling a vertical well in the ground and the bottom of the ocean.

The crude oil is then pumped to the surface, taken to a refinery, and then used to create different products such as gasoline and diesel to power motor vehicles and make plastics, heating oil, propane, and jet fuel, as well as flavors. artificial food.

Since oil reserves are depleted faster than new oil fields are discovered, scientists predict that current oil reserves may not last beyond the mid-21st century.

Advantages and disadvantages of oil

Drilling for oil has its advantages. It is relatively inexpensive to extract. It is also a reliable source  of energy and money for the local community.

Oil gives us thousands of comforts. In the form of gasoline, it is a portable power source that gives us the power to drive places. It is also an ingredient in many items that we depend on.

However, burning gasoline is harmful to the environment. It releases dangerous gases and fumes into the air we breathe . There is also the possibility of a spill from it. If there is a problem with the drilling machinery, the oil can explode out of the well and spill into the ocean or the surrounding land. These are environmental disasters, especially offshore spills. Oil floats on water, so it can look like fish food and ruin bird feathers.

Natural gas

Natural gas is a non-renewable gaseous resource that is found below the earth’s crust but close to deposits of crude oil underground. Natural gas is primarily made up of methane , but it can also contain other forms of natural gas such as propane, ethane, and butane .

Methane is odorless and is mixed with a special additive to give it an odor and make it easier to detect in the event of a gas leak. Once the natural gas is extracted, it is sent to processing plants to remove the propane and butane, which are used as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) . Natural gas is used to heat homes, as well as to cook on gas ovens, stoves, and grills.

Advantages and disadvantages of natural gas

Natural gas is relatively inexpensive to extract and is a “cleaner” fossil fuel than oil or coal. When natural gas is burned, it only releases carbon dioxide and water vapor (which are the exact same gases we get when we breathe out!). This is healthier than burning coal.

However, the extraction of natural gas can cause environmental problems. Rock fracturing can cause mini-earthquakes . High pressure water and chemicals that get underground can also leach into other water sources. The latter are used for drinking or bathing, so they can become contaminated and unsafe.

Coal

Coal is created from compressed organic matter and contains carbon and hydrocarbons . It is made up of plant-filled swamps that have been covered by sediment for millions of years. Coal is extracted by digging into the ground and removing the solids from the coal for processing into energy.

The main types of coal are anthracite, lignite, bituminous coal, and subbituminous coal . Bituminous is found in the United States (Contains between 45% and 86% carbon). It has a high heat content and is used in power generation and in the manufacture of steel and iron.

Anthracite contains 86% to 97% carbon and has the highest calorific value. It is much harder to find than the other types of coal and is used in the metal industry.

Advantages and disadvantages of coal

Coal is a reliable source of energy. We can rely on it day and night, summer and winter, sun or rain, to provide fuel and electricity . The use of charcoal is also detrimental . Mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Workers are exposed to toxic dust and face cave-in and explosion hazards.

When coal is burned, it releases many toxic gases and pollutants into the atmosphere. Coal mining can also cause the ground to collapse and create underground fires that burn for decades.

2. Nuclear energy (uranium)

Apart from fossil fuels, the other category of non-renewable resources is nuclear fuels . It is made primarily by mining and refining uranium ore , a naturally occurring radioactive element found beneath the earth’s surface.

Uranium is found in small quantities and miners often collect uranium deposits for refining and purification . The mineral generates energy through a process known as nuclear fusion , which creates enough pressure to run turbines and generate nuclear power.

3. Biomass energy

Biomass energy, a renewable energy source, can also be a non-renewable energy source . This uses the energy found in plants.

Biomass energy is based on biomass raw materials – plants that are processed and burned to generate electricity . Biomass feedstocks can include crops such as corn or soybeans, as well as wood. If people don’t replant biomass raw materials as quickly as they use them, the energy becomes a non-renewable energy source.

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