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Renewable and Non-Renewable Sources of Energy

written by: Haresh Khemani•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/12/2011

Energy is a vital need of all human beings and can be obtained from renewable and non-renewable sources, which are depleting at a fast rate.

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    Where Does Energy Come From?

    Energy is one of the most vital needs of the human beings. Apart from the food as energy, we need lots of electricity in our day-to-day life for the applications like lighting the home, air-conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, computers, washing machines, and much more.

    As per first law of thermodynamics energy can neither be created nor it can be destroyed, it can only be converted from one form to the other, so where the energy does comes from? Energy is stored in the nature in various sources and in various forms. The sources of energy available in the nature are divided into two main type: renewable energy sources and non-renewable energy sources. Let us see both of them.

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    Renewable Energy

    The energy which replenishes itself quickly and which is available in never ending supply is called renewable energy. The renewable energy comes from natural resources like sun, wind, water (tides and rainwater), heat from the earth (geothermal heat), biomass etc. There is no end to the renewable sources of energy on earth. As long as human life is there, there will be earth, sun, wind and water, and the energy from these sources will also be available as long as they are there.

    Some brief details of commonly used renewable energy sources follows:

    1) Solar energy from sun: This is one of the most commonly used renewable sources of energy. Solar energy is being currently tapped for food cooking, water heating, electricity generation, lights, etc. The solar collectors are installed that collect the solar energy and convert it into various forms.

    2) Wind energy: Wind energy is being used extensively for generation of electricity. Huge fans are installed to tap the wind energy and convert it into electricity for domestic as well as commercial applications. It is popular in countries like India, China, US, Denmark, etc.

    3) Geothermal energy: The heat from the earth is called geothermal energy. It can be used to heat water, generate electricity, etc.

    4) Biomass energy: This is the energy stored in the organic matter generated by the plants and animals.

    5) Water energy: The energy obtained from tidal waves, rain water, etc. is the renewable energy obtained from water.

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    Non-Renewable Energy

    The energy sources that cannot be recreated and which go on depleting as we use them are non-renewable energy sources. At present most of the needs of the world are fulfilled by non-renewable sources of energy. The most extensively used non-renewable energy sources are the fossil fuels that consist of oil, natural gas, and coal. The fossil fuels are formed from the dead bodies of the plants and animals buried below the deep layers of earth’s core since millions of years ago.

    Another popular non-renewable source of energy is the radioactive elements. The energy obtained from these elements is called nuclear energy. The most commonly used radioactive element for the nuclear energy is Uranium.

    Also read: What is Energy?

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    Renewable Energy