Energy Resources: Conventional and Non-conventional resources

Energy Resources: Conventional and Non-conventional resources
Posted on 22-08-2023

Exploring Conventional and Non-Conventional Sources of Energy: A Comparative Overview

Traditional energy sources, including coal, oil, and gas, as well as renewable sources like solar and wind, form the core of electricity production. Energy is a fundamental driver of economic progress. Wind, sunlight, and flowing water are employed to generate power, while coal, oil, and gas are directly used in vehicles and machinery. Coal, oil, gas, and other fuel minerals serve as energy resources.

A resource is something accessible in our surroundings that can fulfill our needs. For it to be considered a 'resource,' it must be technologically feasible, economically viable, and culturally acceptable. Examples include minerals, forests, fossil fuels, and other natural resources. Energy resources are used to generate electricity and power industries. We will explore two categories:

  1. Conventional Energy Sources

  2. Unconventional Energy Sources

Unconventional Energy Sources:

These contrast with finite fossil fuels and are renewable energy sources. A renewable source naturally replenishes itself within a certain time frame, either through natural processes or human intervention. Examples include solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydro energy.

Solar Energy: Derived directly from the Sun, solar energy generates electricity and reduces power bills and carbon emissions. Countries like India, with abundant sunlight, can harness this energy potential.

Wind Energy: Wind turbines convert wind's mechanical power into electricity, serving various purposes.

Geothermal Energy: Extracted from Earth's thermal energy, this resource heats water and powers turbines for electricity generation.

Tidal Energy: Modern technology converts tidal movement into electricity, benefiting coastal countries like India.

Conventional Energy Sources:

These are finite and depleting resources. Non-renewable sources lack natural regeneration at a sustainable pace. Coal, oil, gas, and uranium fall under this category.

Non-renewable sources require human intervention for use. Fossil fuels, mainly carbon-based, trace back to Earth's distant past.

Coal: Formed from plant matter transformation over millions of years, coal is crucial for industries like steel production.

Petroleum: Crude oil, versatile in its applications, contributes to products like gasoline and plastics.

Natural Gas: Mainly methane, extracted with crude oil, is used for heating, cooking, and power generation.

Electricity Generation: Electricity, regardless of its source, is produced in power plants through various methods. Thermal plants burn fossil fuels, while renewable sources like solar, wind, and geothermal energy also contribute. Hydroelectric power, derived from water movement, is widely used.

Energy is the capacity of a physical system to perform work, and it powers various activities in our daily lives. We rely on different sources of energy to accomplish tasks, from using our own muscular energy for physical activities to employing electricity for running appliances and chemical energy for cooking. Understanding the diverse sources of energy is essential for obtaining usable energy. This article will introduce you to two significant categories of energy sources: conventional energy and non-conventional energy.

Energy Sources Overview Energy sources can be broadly categorized into two main groups:

  1. Conventional Sources

  2. Non-Conventional Sources

Conventional Sources of Energy, also referred to as non-renewable sources, have limited availability, with hydro-electric power being an exception. They are further categorized into commercial and non-commercial energy.

Commercial Energy Sources

Commercial energy sources, including coal, electricity, and petroleum, require payment for their acquisition.

Coal: Coal holds immense importance as an energy source. India, for instance, boasts over 148,790 coal deposits, with an annual production of 343 million tons in the 2005-2006 period. India ranks fourth globally in coal production, primarily concentrated in regions like Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bengal.

Oil and Natural Gas: Oil, often referred to as "liquid gold," plays a pivotal role in global and Indian energy scenarios. Its uses span across planes, automobiles, trains, and ships. India's oil production surged from 0.3 million tons in 1950-51 to 32.4 million tons in 2000-01. Key reserves are located in Assam, Gujarat, and Mumbai.

Electricity: Electricity serves as a common energy form for domestic and commercial purposes, powering appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, and air conditioners. Power generation sources include nuclear power, thermal power, and hydro-electric power.

Thermal Power: Thermal power, accounting for 70% of India's total capacity in 2004-05, is generated at power stations using coal and oil.

Hydroelectric Power: Dams constructed above rivers like Damodar Valley Project and Bhakra Nangal Project contribute to hydroelectric power generation. The installed capacity grew from 587.4 mW in 1950-51 to 19,600 mW in 2004-05.

Nuclear Power: Utilizing uranium as fuel, nuclear power plants are found in locations such as Kaiga (Karnataka), Kota (Rajasthan), Narora (Uttar Pradesh), and Kalpakkam (Chennai).

Non-commercial Energy Sources

Non-commercial energy sources are freely available and include materials like straw, dried dung, and firewood.

Non-Conventional Sources of Energy

Non-conventional sources, also known as renewable sources, encompass solar energy, bioenergy, tidal energy, and wind energy.

Solar Energy Generated from sunlight, solar energy is harnessed through photovoltaic cells, serving purposes like cooking and water distillation.

Wind Energy Wind energy harnesses the power of wind, often used for irrigation water pumps. India ranks as the world's second-largest wind power generator.

Tidal Energy Generated from tidal waves, this energy source remains underutilized due to technology challenges.

Thank You