All sources of energy in this world can be divided into two kinds: renewable and non-renewable. To be completely reliable on the renewable energy such as solar, wind, tide, etc. and to minimize the use of petroleum, gas, coal are the challenges of modern civilization.
What is life without energy? Humans have always depended on energy in all areas of life. When we talk about energy, it is not only a source of power but also a source of food for all living beings. Plants also consume sunlight as their source of energy. Animals eat other plants and animals to live. All in all, energy is survival.
Sources of energy
Energy is either renewable or non-renewable. The renewable energy is the one which can be re-accumulated over a shorter period of time whereas the non-renewable energy as its name depicts cannot be replenished.
However, non-renewable energy resources can be renewed in a way by means of recycling.
Back in old days when there was no concept of gas and electricity, people would depend on sunlight and fire to generate heat. Of course there were no hairdryers so wind would do the job and sunlight would dry the clothes as there were no tumble dryers. They would cook food using firewood and animal dung. These solar, wind and bio-thermal sources of energy are harnessed till this day but now they are not consumed for direct application. Rather, the energy acquired from them is used to produce electricity which helps running electric machines designed to serve all purposes in life.
We’ll take renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy separately. First let’s classify the renewable sources:
Renewable source is the one which renews on its own. There are many ways in which renewable energy can be obtained:
- Solar energy- Energy acquired from the sunlight. There are solar power devices that are used to generate electricity and they’re extremely affordable and user-friendly.
- Wind energy- This type of energy originates from windmills and wind corridors.
- Hydropower energy- Acquired from flowing water. The force of water flow is extremely high, that is how it generates electricity. This flow is mostly maintained in the shape of dams.
- Tidal energy- It is also a form of hydropower but it is acquired from tides and water waves.
- Geothermal energy- Energy generated from the heat of the earth.
- Biofuels- This energy is generated from the fuels of living organisms. For example ethanol, the corn fuel. Remember we talked about the animal dung? It is also a kind of biofuels that is utilized for cooking purposes.
The aforementioned renewable sources store up the energy till it’s fully consumed and it keeps refilling at the same time. The time of replenishment depends on the type of resource. For example, solar energy is renewed relatively slower than the wind energy because wind can be present 24/7 but sunlight cannot.
The non-renewable sources of energy include coal, petroleum, natural gas, nuclear sources (energy formed by the fission of nuclei) and tar sands (sands from which oils are extracted).
The renewable sources of energy are way cheaper than the non-renewable sources because they require a one-time investment. But we cannot completely turn our backs on the non-renewable sources which will take many more years to be fully replaced by the renewable sources and we still depend on them. For example, we depend on petrol and gas for our vehicles and can’t run our cars on coal of course.
Facts about Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy:
- Sources of energy can be divided into another two types: kinetic energy and potential energy.
- Heat energy, chemical energy, sound energy, geothermal energy and gravitational potential energy, and nuclear energy are the common sources of potential energy.
- Kinetic energy is the energy of speed and movement. For example, a car runs by potential energy but a running car produces kinetic energy.
- When lightning occurs, the electric potential energy transforms into three kinds of energy: light, heat and sound energy.
- The law of the ‘conservation of energy’ proves that energy can neither be created or destroyed; it only can be transformed from one kind to another.
- Food contains and causes chemical energy when it is consumed by a living creature.
- 13% of the world's electricity comes from nuclear energy.