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Renewable And Non Renewable Energy Sources Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2175 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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We can not use our feet to power our cars like the flinstones. So, how do cars move around? Energy! what is energy? energy is the ability to do work. All living things need energy to grow, plants use light from the sun to grow, also light is a type of energy we use all the time, we get most of the light from the sun, but at night we make our own light using another energy source known as electricity. Energy makes things move, cars run on the energy stored in gasoline sail boats are pushed by the energy in the wind. It takes energy to run our televisions, computers, and video games in the form of electricity, we use electricity all day long, it gives us light and heat, it makes things operate. After a long day don’t you feel too tired to move? Well you have ran out of energy, you need some food to refuel. Imagine what your life would be without electricity?!

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There are two main types of energy; renewable and non-renewable, basically Most of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas and petroleum. Uranium is another nonrenewable source, but it is not a fossil fuel. Uranium is converted to a fuel and used in nuclear power plants. Once these natural resources are used up, they are gone forever. The process of gathering these fuels can be harmful to the biomes from which they come. Fossil fuels are put through a process called combustion in order to produce energy. Combustion releases pollution, such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, which may contribute to acid rain and global warming. Other than Renewable sources of energy can be used over and over again. Renewable resources include solar energy, wind, geothermal energy, biomass and hydropower. They generate much less pollution, both in gathering and production, than nonrenewable sources. But it is believed that petroleum in particular will not be depleted as it is generated in the deep sedimentary basins even if it will take thousands of years but it will be generated and petroleum will still be one of main and important sources of energy and the source upon which countries’ economies depend on, in the following report we will try to identify different energy sources available in the world.

Scientific Background

Renewable energy is defined () to be those energy source which do not deplete. They are basically natural sources of energy like sun, wind, —-whereas nonren

renewable energy sources :

renewable energy sources are the sources which when used will not be depleted from the world.

Data survey

The following section will demonstrate various examples from around the world to show energy sources uses and applications. The first example is from (http://www.renewable-energy-sources.com/)

SMA Expands North American Utility-Scale PV Inverter Line

  Sunny Central 500HE and 630HE Ideal for Medium Voltage Connection SMA America LLC, the U.S.-based subsidiary of global solar technology leader SMA Solar Technology AG, has expanded its U.S. line of utility products with the Sunny Central High Efficiency (HE) line of solar inverters. The new 500 and 630 kilowatt inverters provide integrators

Abengoa Solar Reaches Total of 193 Megawatts Operating

Abengoa Solar’s third parabolic trough solar power plant, Solnova 4, successfully passed its three day production and operation tests.

UNI-SOLAR Power Tilt(TM) Solar Roof System Featured on German DIY Retail Store

  Innovative Solar Roofing System Gaining Traction in European Markets United Solar, a leading global manufacturer of building-integrated and rooftop photovoltaics under its UNI-SOLAR® brand – and a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq:ENER) – announced that its innovative PowerTiltâ„¢ solar roof system was recently installed at Hagebaumarkt, a German DIY retail franchise

Centro solar Presents New 54-cell PV Panel with up to 225 Wp output at the EUPVSEC

Premium solar module achieves higher output thanks to novel cell matrix CENTROSOLAR AG is showing the new 54-cell module with increased output at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EUPVSEC) from September 6 – 10 in Valencia, Spain

REpower Launches First Wind Farm with System Certificate in line with German System Service Ordinance (SDLWindV)

Kronprinzenkoog wind farm one of the biggest repowering projects in Northern Germany Total wind farm output increased from 12.3 MW to 30.75 MW Hamburg, 2 August 2010. REpower Systems AG (WKN 617703) has launched a wind farm project in the district of Dithmarschen (Schleswig-Holstein) with Repowering Kronprinzenkoog GbR

Non-renewable energy sources:

non-renewable energy sources are the sources which when used will be depleted from our world and then we will have to find alternative sources.

Data survey

The following section will also demonstrate various examples of non renewable energy sources extracted from (http://www.lshc.co.uk/downloads/Nonrenewable.pdf), such as:

1-fossil fuels:

Fossil fuels are compounds made from the chemical elements carbon and hydrogen. Fossil fuels formed millions of years ago, during the Carboniferous Period, from the remains of plants and animals. As the plants and animals that inhabited the swamps died, they were buried under sand and mud which stopped them from decaying. Over time, more sediments covered the remains and pressure, together with heat, turned them into coal, oil and natural gas deposits.

Today, fossil fuels are used in power stations to generate electricity. Natural gas is also commonly used in homes to cook food and heat water, and compressed natural gas can power specially designed vehicles. Oil is the main source of power for vehicles, in the form of petrol or diesel.

74% of the UK’s electricity is generated • from fossil fuels.

Most of the world’s oil (13%) comes from • Saudi Arabia.

Russia is the main producer of natural • gas, extracting nearly 22% of the total produced each year. The UK is 5th with 3.2%.

China leads the way in coal production, • mining 38% of the world’s coal.

2-Nuclear power

In most electric power plants, water is heated and converted into steam, which drives a turbine-generator to produce electricity. Fossil-fueled power plants produce heat by burning coal, oil, or natural gas. In a nuclear power plant, the fission of uranium atoms in the reactor provides the heat to produce steam for generating electricity.

Several commercial reactor designs are currently in use in the United States. The most widely used design consists of a heavy steel pressure vessel surrounding a reactor core. Thereactor core contains the uranium fuel, which is formed into cylindrical ceramic pellets and sealed in long metal tubes called fuel rods. Thousands of fuel rods form the reactor core. Heat is produced in a nuclear reactor when neutrons strike uranium atoms, causing them to split in a continuous chain reaction. Control rods, which are made of a material such as boron that absorbs neutrons, are placed among the fuel assemblies.

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When the neutron-absorbing control rods are pulled out of the core, more neutrons become available for fission and the chain reaction speeds up, producing more heat. When they are inserted into the core, fewer neutrons are available for fission, and the chain reaction slows or stops, reducing the heat generated. Heat is removed from the reactor core area by water flowing through it in a closed pressurized loop. The heat is transferred to a second water loop through a heat exchanger. The water also serves to slow down, or “moderate” the neutrons which is necessary for sustaining the fission reactions. The second loop is kept at a lower pressure, allowing the water to boil and create steam, which is used to power the turbine-generator and produce electricity.

Originally, nuclear energy was expected to be a clean and cheap source of energy. Nuclear fission does not produce atmospheric pollution or greenhouse gases and it proponents expected that nuclear energy would be cheaper and last longer than fossil fuels. Unfortunately, because of construction cost overruns, poor management, and numerous regulations, nuclear power ended up being much more expensive than predicted. The nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in the Ukraine raised concerns about the safety of nuclear power. Furthermore, the problem of safely disposing spent nuclear fuel remains unresolved. The United States has not built a new nuclear facility in over twenty years, but with continued energy crises across the country that situation may change.

19% of the UK’s electricity comes from • nuclear power



At the present rate of use, the known coal supplies will last about 300 years and oil may not last for more than about 50 years. A great deal of fossil fuel is burnt in power stations. The coal is burnt to boil water which in turn produces steam. The steam drives the fans of a large turbine (a very big dynamo) which then generates electricity. The electric current is transported to our houses by large power cables. The whole process is an example of how energy is transformed from chemical energy to heat energy to kinetic energy and then finally to electrical energy.

Figure (1)

Problems with non-renewable energy

The main source of energy today is fossil fuel. However, there are two main problems associated with this type of fuel: the limited availability of fossil fuels and climate change. There are also safety concerns linked to the use of nuclear power and the radiation that is produced.

Limited availability of fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy, so they could one day run out. Alternative sources of energy are needed. As supplies decrease, the cost of buying fossil fuels may increase causing economic problems as well

Climate change

When fossil fuels are burnt they produce the gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is known as a greenhouse gas because it traps heat from the sun, much like the glass in a greenhouse, preventing it from escaping out of the Earth’s atmosphere into space. Greenhouse gases are found naturally in the atmosphere and they are essential for keeping the Earth warm. However, through the activities of humans, mainly as a result of burning fossil fuels, the amount of these gases in the atmosphere is increasing. As a result, global warming is occurring as the temperature of the Earth rises.

Global warming is leading to climate change.•

Polar ice-caps are melting, causing a rise in • sea level around the world.

Rainfall patterns are changing and extreme • weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts, are more frequent in some parts of the world.

The UK is one of 170 countries that have • signed an agreement called the Kyoto Protocol, which sets out targets for reducing CO2 emissions.

There are also some environmental problems with fossil fuels such as:

oil Spills


Oil has to be transported from oil fields to where it is needed. Oil tankers, which can carry many tens of thousands of tons of oil, are regularly used to transport the oil. Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen and the oil spills that result from these accidents have caused some major environmental headaches. Local birds, fish and animals such as sea otters and seals are very vulnerable to oil spills. Although the immediate damage can often seem horrific, with the help of careful human clean-up operations and with natural processes that help clean the environment, the marine ecosystem can usually recover well.



Acid Rain


When coal burns, it produces gases like carbon dioxide, which are then released into the atmosphere. Other harmful gases produced by coal burning are sulphur dioxide and some nitrogen oxides. These dissolve in the water in the atmosphere to create weak solutions of sulphuric acid and nitric acid, which can then return to Earth as ‘acid rain’. Unfortunately many trees and plants cannot thrive when the water they need is acidic like this and large areas of forest can be affected. In the worst cases the vegetation may be killed.


In the end we must understand how energy is something we can not make do without as without energy there is no life. As for some harmful energy sources then we have to find and start looking for alternative energy sources which are clean and non harmful, we should also start to depend on renewable energy sources as we know that they will not be all depleted in the future.


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