What are the Conventional Energy Resources?

What are the Conventional Energy Resources?

  1. The demand for energy is always increasing as the human population grows and our lives become more and more sophisticated. A large portion of the energy we use is in the form of electricity.
  2. Electricity is needed for a wide range of uses such as heating, lighting, motion and processing.
  3. Non-renewable energy resource or Conventional energy resource: An energy resource that effectively cannot be replaced once it has been used.
  4. The non-renewable resources are limited in reserves and it may take thousands of years to renew them. For example, coal or petroleum if taken out completely, may take millions of years to produce them.

(A) Why fossil fuels are so important?

Fossil Fuels:
Millions of years ago, the remains of plants and animals were buried under the earth by the forces of nature. The large amount of heat and pressure inside the earth converted these remains in fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum and natural gas. These are the main sources of conventional energy.
The reserves of the fossil fuels are finite and limited. Their consumption is rapidly increasing in the modern world than their rate of formation. Thus one day or the other, the fossil fuels are likely to be exhausted.
They cannot be replenished like commodities derived from plant and animal kingdoms. Thus, we must develop alternative sources of power

(B) Thermal power plant:

Large amount of fossil fuels are burnt every day in power stations to heat up water to produce steam which further runs the turbine to generate electricity.
The transmission of electricity is more efficient than transporting coal or petroleum over the same distance. Therefore, many thermal power plants are set up near coal or oil fields. Here fuel is burnt to produce heat energy which is converted into electrical energy.

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Over Extraction of Fossil Fuels

Over Extraction of Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are formed from the buried remains of plants and animals over a period of millions of years. Coal, petroleum, and natural gas are some examples of fossil fuels. These fossil fuels are a major part of the world today and its varied uses have led to their over-extraction. The major consequences of over-extraction of fossil fuels are given below.

  1. Exhaustion of existing reserves: The over-extraction of fossil fuels is slowly depleting the Earth of these resources. An energy crisis in the immediate future is a distinct possibility if the present rate of consumption of fossil fuels is not brought under control.
  2. Air pollution: When coal and petroleum products are burnt as fuel, they give off carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that leads to global warming. They also give off pollutants like carbon monoxide* nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, particulate matter like mineral ash or fly ash, and unburnt hydrocarbons that pollute the air. Some of these gases combine with water vapour in the air and form droplets that fall to the Earth as weak forms of sulphuric and nitric acid, called acid rain.
  3. Threat to organisms: Coal contains poisonous metals like arsenic and mercury, which are dangerous if released into the environment. Mercury that is released into the air settles in water with time. It then enters the bodies of fish and shellfish and can be harmful to animals and people who eat them.

We cannot completely stop the use of fossil fuels. However, cutting down on their use and shifting to renewable energy sources like solar energy, wind energy, and nuclear energy will help us conserve them as well as safeguard the environment. Some renewable sources of energy are discussed below.

Wind energy has been used since ancient times to move ships, pump water, and grind corn. These days, huge wind turbines are used to drive generators
Over Extraction of Fossil Fuels 1Hydroelectric energy is derived from the water in water bodies like rivers with the help of dams and generators.
Over Extraction of Fossil Fuels 2Nuclear energy is released by the splitting or merging together of the nuclei of atoms. In nuclear power plants, this energy is utilized to produce heat energy, which is used to make steam for driving generators.
Over Extraction of Fossil Fuels 3Solar energy is utilized with the help of solar panels and solar cells. Solar panels convert solar energy into heat and light energy while solar cells convert it to electrical energy.
Over Extraction of Fossil Fuels 4