Human society relies on renewable and nonrenewable energy sources to operate on a daily basis.
Renewable resources replenish themselves spontaneously, whereas nonrenewable resources do not.
Nonrenewable materials are therefore depleted and we are unable to use them indefinitely.
Unfortunately, for the time being, human society’s principal source of energy is nonrenewable resources.
Fossil fuel usage accounts for over 80% of the entire amount of energy consumed globally each year.
We are dependent on non-renewables because they are both energy-dense and inexpensive to process.
A fundamental issue with oil and coal, aside from their scarcity, is that they leak co2 into the atmosphere when they are burned.
The fundamental driver of global warming is the increase of co2 in the atmosphere which causes heat to become trapped and damages our atmosphere.
Alternative energies, such as solar and wind power, may be a viable solution to nonrenewable resource depletion.
Both of these renewable energy sources have an infinite supply.
This article will discuss 10 examples of non-renewable energy sources, when they will run out and why we need to find alternative energy sources as soon as possible.
10 Examples Of Non-Renewable Resources
The following are ten examples of non-renewable resources:
- Natural Gas
- Petroleum/Crude Oil
- Minerals from the Earth
- Soil/Land Surface
- Nuclear Power
- Energy from Biomass (in some cases)
- Ores from Metal
Non-renewable and renewable resources are the biological and non-biological resources that humankind uses to function on a daily basis.
Definition Of Non-Renewable
Renewable resources, sometimes referred to as flow resources, are natural materials that may refill themselves to replace areas that have been exhausted due to consumption and usage.
Natural procreation as well as other recurring processes contribute to the rejuvenation process.
Non-renewable resources, or finite resources, are those that cannot be replaced naturally quickly enough to keep up with their usage.
Examples Of Renewable
Here are four sustainable resource examples:
- Heat energy – Because energy is continuously generated within the Earth through the steady release of radioactive elements particles located in the planet’s core, power is a renewable source of energy.
- Solar energy – the Sun’s solar radiation is a renewable energy source. Sunlight is a vital source of energy for all living things, including humans.
- Wind energy – Wind energy is a domestic renewable resource that is easily accessible, clean, and free, and has fewer environmental consequences than other energy sources.
- Fresh water – If use, treatment, and distribution are properly managed, water is considered a viable and renewable resource.
When Will These Non-Renewable Resources Run Out?
- Natural gas (NG) – There are 7124 trillion gallons (tcf) of natural gas left. It is expected that the supply of natural gas will run out in around 40 years (2060).
- Crude petroleum – There are 1.65 trillion barrels of crude oil left. It is expected that the supply of crude petroleum will run out in around 40 years (2060).
- Minerals – There are a trillion trillion tonnes of minerals left. It is expected that the supply of minerals will run out in 500 years (2520).
- Coal – There are 1,1 trillion metric tonnes of coal left. It is expected that the supply of coal will run out in 70 years (2070).
- Water – There are 14000 square kilometres of water left. It is expected that there will be widespread water deficiencies by 2030.
- Topsoil – There is 10 cm of topsoil left. It is expected that the supply of topsoil will run out in 60 years (2060).
- Sand – The amount of sand left is unknown (however 15 billion tonnes are utilised annually) It is known that there is a limited quantity of sand left, but the exact amount is unknown.
- Biomass – There are 304 trillion trees left. It is unknown when the supply of biomass is expected to run out.
- Fish – Each year, 80 million tonnes of fish are caught. The supply of fish is expected to run out in just 30 years (2050).
How Is Oil Classified As A Non-Renewable Resource?
Petroleum is a nonrenewable resource. Petroleum oil, often described as crude oil, is the most valuable nonrenewable liquid resource on the planet.
Petroleum is a source of fuel that forms spontaneously over millions of years.
Whenever ocean organisms die and their carcasses are trapped under sediment, silt, and mud, fossil fuels are formed.
High heat and subsurface pressure transform the leftovers into fossil fuels over time.
As a result, this resource will not be replenished as quickly as humans consume it. Crude oil is found in the earth’s crust between rocks or strata.
There are already vast concentrations of this nonrenewable energy source beneath all over the world.
Drilling straight wells through into earth or ocean floors is used to extract this energy resource.
Petroleum is drawn to the surface of the earth, transported to refineries, and used to make a variety of goods such as diesel, petrol, aviation fuel, and propane.
Many plastics and synthetics contain petroleum as part of their chemical composition.
It is expected that fossil-based energy supplies, such as petroleum oil, will become too unaffordable to harvest in the future, forcing humanity to rely on alternative energy sources.
Crude oil and other fuels have been in constant demand since the invention of combustion engine technology.
Why Is Natural Gas Non-Renewable?
A prime example of a nonrenewable resource is natural gas.
Natural gas, often known as fossil gas, is a nonrenewable hydrocarbon gaseous resource found deep beneath the earth’s crust.
Methane makes up the majority of natural gas.
Other gases, such as ethane, propane, and butane, as well as small traces of co2, hydrogen sulphide, and nitrogen, may be present.
Because natural gas is odourless and colourless, a sulfur-like stench is added to help locate leaks.
Natural gas is a fuel that forms when decaying plants and animal layers are exposed to high pressure and heat for millions of years under the earth’s surface.
This nonrenewable resource can be discovered deep below and alongside other hydrocarbon reserves like coal beds.
Natural gas can be used to generate electricity, cook, and heat homes.
It’s also used as a motor fuel and a chemical feedstock in the production of plastics as well as other organic compounds.
Natural gas is treated to remove contaminants such as water before being utilised as a fuel.
Humans are depleting natural oil reserves at a faster rate than fresh gas deposits are discovered, similar to crude oil.
When Will Minerals Become Scarce?
Minerals are non-renewable. Minerals cannot be replenished because their formation takes millions of years.
Minerals are non-renewable hard chemical substances with well-defined chemical compositions and distinctive naturally occurring crystal structures.
Salts, jewels, clay, granite, and gravel are all minerals found in great quantities in the earth’s crust.
Humans can only exploit earth minerals that have been concentrated by natural geological activity such as heat, pressure, weather and other activities.
Tectonic plate activity, crustal recycling, and tectonic sinking are examples of geological processes that take thousands of years to produce and contribute to the concentration of earth materials.
In human timeframes, Earth material resources that people can profitably extract are non-renewable.
Some minerals are more uncommon and depleted than others. These minerals are only found in trace amounts.
Separating minerals out from natural rock in which they are found is a difficult process that involves several extraction and purification stages.
In some industries, such as electronics, these minerals are in high demand.
Is Coal A Renewable Or Non-Renewable Resource?
Although coal generates heat and power, it is not renewable. Coal, like natural gas, is a non-renewable resource.
Coal is a nonrenewable energy source that is a rich black or brown sedimentary rock.
Coal is mostly made up of carbon, with minor amounts of hydrogen, sulphur, nitrogen, and oxygen.
This fossil fuel is created when organic plant matter decays into peat.
Strong heat and pressure turn decaying plant matter into coal over millions of years.
Carbonization is the term for this process. Large coal deposits were formed eons ago when the Earth’s surface was occupied by wetlands.
Lignite, anthracite, bituminous, and sub-bituminous coal are the four varieties or ranks of coal.
The rankings are based on the carbon content of the coal, with anthracite having the greatest carbon content and lignite having the smallest.
Coal is primarily used as a source of energy. Coal provided more than a third of global electrical power and 25% of global primary energy in 2020.
Coal combustion provides valuable byproducts that are used to produce plastics, concrete, bitumen, and other goods.
Underground and surface mining are used to extract coal.
Is Groundwater A Long-Term Resource?
Water cannot be intentionally supplied or recreated.
Although the hydrological cycle is a renewable element, water is a nonrenewable resource that is in short supply. Water resources come in many forms.
Depending on the scenario, groundwater is both a non-renewable and renewable resource.
Groundwater is a vital resource that supplies a major portion of the world’s public water supply.
The majority of people in rural areas acquire their water from home groundwater sources.
Because groundwater bodies (deep aquifers) have a minimal replenishment rate on a human time scale, they are considered non-renewable resources.
Precipitation replenishes groundwater resources. However, this occurs over time and at a far slower rate than groundwater use.
It takes several years for natural groundwater reservoirs to form.
Furthermore, people can only retrieve a portion of the subsurface groundwater in an economically feasible manner without causing harm.
Groundwater reservoirs are rapidly depleting as a result of continuous groundwater pumping around the world.
Reduced water levels, decreased streamflow, and reduced wetland outflows may result from this pumping.
Which, in essence, can lead to water shortages and have an impact on aquatic environments.
All of these variables contribute to groundwater’s non-sustainability and non-renewability.
Groundwater management is becoming increasingly important.
Does Soil Have A Renewable Or Non-Renewable Resource Status?
Soil’s non-renewable status is also a multifaceted topic.
Soil can be characterised as a renewable or non-renewable resource based on a variety of characteristics and the comparison’s scope.
More than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water. The remaining percent is the ground surface, which supports terrestrial life.
Human communities and their activities have a long-term impact on the health of the ground surface or soil.
This severely limits the land surface’s utility. Soil is a nonrenewable resource in this aspect.
Soil serves a variety of important services for people, wildlife, and plants.
These soil functions are divided into four categories. Regulation, scientific, financial, and habitat roles are among them.
Water and nutrient storage, pollution filtering, and solute and water buffering are all regulation roles.
Numerous microorganisms, as well as animal and plant species, call habitats home.
Plants need soil as anchorage to generate and sustain the biomass that feeds people.
Is Plastic A Non-Renewable Resource?
Plastics that are not renewable are a polluting resource. Plastics are a new addition to the non-renewable resource category.
Plastic is used to make a variety of things in today’s consumer-driven world. Plastic refers to a variety of synthetic materials that mostly consist of polymers.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, plastic is a nonrenewable resource because it is derived from liquid petroleum gases and natural gas.
The most often used non-renewable energy source is fossil fuels. Plastics, on the other hand, are recyclable, so it can be remoulded into new things.
Plastic may be moulded, crushed, or extruded into a variety of solid object shapes due to its adaptability.
Plastic’s adaptability, as well as other features like lightness, sturdiness, versatility, and cost-effective production, ensure that this non-renewable material has a wide range of applications.
Packaging, building (doors, piping, guttering), medical equipment, textiles, consumer products, gadgets, transport, and machine components are only a few of the applications.
It’s worth emphasising that bioplastics made from plants are renewable.
What Makes Nuclear Power Non-Renewable?
Nuclear energy is a resource that has negative environmental consequences. Nuclear fission is not only nonrenewable, but also harmful.
Nuclear power generates close to 14% of the electricity in the world plus 6% of the world’s energy supply.
Nuclear fuels (isotopes) like Uranium U-235 are uncommon in nature and consequently non-renewable, despite the fact that small amounts can go a long way.
One pound of Uranium, for example, may generate greater power than 3 million pounds of coal when burned. Uranium, a nuclear fuel, is found in particular rock formations.
These minerals are mined for use in nuclear power plants as fission materials.
Nuclear fission reactors divide atoms and release a lot of energy from the nucleus of enriched Uranium.
Nuclear reactions generate heat, which is absorbed by the liquid in the nuclear reactor.
Water condenses into steam, which powers turbines to generate electricity.
Nuclear fission has one significant disadvantage: radioactive nuclear waste. Nuclear energy is also difficult to harvest.
Many countries lack the personnel and resources to conduct safe and reliable nuclear energy programmes, and the power facilities are complicated and have complex operations.
Can Biomass Be Considered A Non-Renewable Resource?
Biomass is typically thought of as a renewable resource. In some situations, though, it can be considered as a non-renewable resource.
Biomass energy makes use of the energy inherent naturally in plants and natural matter. Biomass feedstocks are significantly used in this sort of energy.
Various plant products which are processed and burned to generate electricity are referred to as biomass feedstocks.
Crops like soy and corn, as well as wood, can be included.
Destructive agricultural practices, such as failing to replant biomass feedstocks as quickly as they are consumed, can make biomass energy non-renewable.
Is Metal A Renewable Or Non-Renewable Resource?
Metal is a prime example of a nonrenewable resource. Metal mining is also a polluter of the environment. Non-renewable resources include all metals.
Natural sedimentary rocks in the Earth’s crust contain metals. Metal ores are limited in supply on the planet.
When you realise that humans can only harvest metal ores that have been organically concentrated by geological processes, their finite character becomes even more clear.
Natural systems take a very long time to complete.
Extraction and processing metal ores into usable metal products has an environmental and economical cost.
What Are The Five Most Important Non-Renewable Resources?
There are numerous non-renewable resources, but the ones that immediately come to mind are all related to energy generation.
Of course, civilization consumes more of everything, but energy is at the forefront of non-renewables that are vitally important for our modern lifestyle.
- Oil – Oil has been at the head of the non-renewables list for decades, and some projections predict that it will run out in 45 years.
- Coal – Many countries still utilise coal as their principal fuel source for power plants that generate energy. It is thought that coal will run out in just 64 years.
- Water – Drinking water makes up roughly 3% of the total water on the earth and is continually regenerating throughout the ecosystem. Climate change, pollution, and population growth have pushed drinkable water onto the list of non-renewables.
- Sand – Sand is the foundation of human habitat development. Building sand is becoming increasingly scarce, resulting in thievery from sandy beaches and a profitable black market exchange in sand for concrete.
- Soil – Soil is vital for growing food for the world’s growing population, yet the top-soil layer is becoming increasingly thin. How long until it vanishes? Nobody really knows.
What Resources Are The Most Non-Renewable?
Because energy is so important to all human-made processes on Earth, the three nonrenewable resources most in danger are:
- Natural gas
How Can Non-Renewable Resources Be Conserved?
Not only are these resources becoming scarce, but their use also releases carbon dioxide, poisonous chemicals, and other damaging particles into the environment – these resources have a significant carbon footprint.
As a result, the Earth is warming and many people’s health is deteriorating.
The solution is straightforward, but it is unacceptable to humanity:
- Keep fossil fuels underground.
- Don’t cut any more trees down.
- Change our lifestyles to save energy.
What Are The Advantages Of Non-Renewable Energy Sources?
- Lots of options: Humans have spent a great deal of research, labor, and money to get fossil fuels, and we now have a plentiful supply.
- Easier to locate: Fossil fuels may be discovered across the globe, with many regions having already been identified as having abundant reserves.
- Very effective: Even a tiny quantity of fossil fuel can generate a large amount of energy.
- Transport is easier: Transporting fossil fuels is simple, for example, moving oil and gas through underground pipes.
- Easy to set up: An energy plant can be built wherever there is a significant amount of fuel to create energy.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Non-Renewable Energy Sources?
Pollution of the environment: Fossil fuels release co2, which is linked directly to global warming, making them extremely harmful to our planet’s health.
- Fuel reserves in large quantities: Truckloads of gasoline are required to maintain power plants operational. This might make energy production prohibitively expensive.
- Concerns about public health: Fossil fuel burning can induce lung difficulties and asthma episodes in humans due to their harmful air pollution.
- They’re going to run out: We won’t be able to use non-renewables for our rising power needs once the world’s resources have been depleted.
- Oil spills: Huge vessels transporting oil occasionally collide and spill their cargo into the sea and along the coast. This is harmful to both the ocean and the land, as well as the species that reside there.
- Energy rates will increase without warning because only a few countries retain a big amount of fossil fuels.
- Workers’ health risks: Coal mining and oil drilling can be extremely hazardous, resulting in a huge host of ailments, injuries, and deaths each year.
Nonrenewable energy is a type of energy that will deplete over time.
The majority of nonrenewable energy comes from fossil fuels including natural gas, coal and oil.
These natural resources are a substantial source of energy for a wide range of businesses; nevertheless, non-renewable energy has a number of drawbacks, including a severe environmental impact and a finite supply.
While there are certain benefits to burning fossil fuels for energy, the disadvantages clearly exceed the benefits.
Without an alternative to fossil fuels, we may soon face a catastrophic energy shortage – and a calamity for the health of our planet.