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Renewable and


What are Renewable Resources?

A renewable resource is an organic natural resource which can

replenish to overcome usage and consumption, either through
biological reproduction or other naturally recurring processes.
Renewable resources are a part of Earth's natural environment
and the largest components of its ecosphere.

Renewable Resources

Examples of Renewable Resources:

solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal

Solar Resources

Solar resources come from the sun. The suns power not only
represents a vast source of energy, it also underlies most other
renewable resources. The sun is constantly heating the earth and
the oceans and enabling the activities of man.

Wind Resource

Through man made devices, wind can be used as a major

resource for energy in todays world. Like solar energy, wind
energy does not produce pollution or solid waste. According to
the National Renewable Energy Laboratorys Wind Technology
Center, wind power could supply up to 20 percent of the United
States electricity needs. Their goal is to make it the cheapest
form of energy available

Hydro Resource

Hydro resources are created by using water to generate energy.

Like wind and solar, hydropower has been in use for hundreds of
years. From the early water wheel used to turn the millstone to a
massive generator like Hoover Dam, theres real energy in
hydropower (called hydroelectric when electricity is generated).
Hydropower is clean and domestically available.

Biomass and Geothermal

Biomass is created from trees and plants. It includes both crops that are
specifically grown as an energy source and plant waste such as residue left
over from the paper-making process, or the methane gas produced from
decomposition. Like solar and wind power, biomass has been around for a
long time. The simple act of lighting a fire for cooking or heat is an
example of using biomass.
Geothermal energy is the heat stored inside the earth. It can either be in
the form of earths sun-heated crust (the surface that maintains a relatively
constant temperature of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit) or from features like
hot springs or steam reservoirs. The variety of geothermal sources could
enable wide-scale use of this renewable resource, from heat pumps to heat
and cool homes to large utilities tapping the source to generate electricity.

Nonrenewable Resources

Non-renewable resources are resources for which there is a

limited supply. The supply comes from the Earth itself and, as it
typically takes millions of years to develop, is finite.

Nonrenewable Resources

Examples of nonrenewable Resources are:

Fossil Fuels, Crude Oil/Petroleum, Gas, Coal, and Nuclear


Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are derived from organic matter which has been
trapped between layers of sediments within the Earth for millions
of years.

-The organic matter, typically plants, have decomposed and

compressed over time, leaving what are known as fossil fuel
-These deposits, and the materials produced from them, tend to be
highly combustible, making them an ideal energy source.

-They are difficult to obtain as they are typically retrieved

through drilling or mining, but fossil fuels are worth the effort for
the sheer amount of energy they produce.

Crude Oil/Petroleum

Crude oil is a non-renewable resource that builds up in liquid

form between the layers of the Earths crust.

It is retrieved by drilling deep into the ground and pumping the

liquid out. The liquid is then refined and used to create many
different products.

Crude oil is a very versatile fuel and is used to produce things like
plastics, artificial food flavorings, heating oil, petrol, diesel, jet
fuel, and propane.

The top three oil-producing countries are Russia, Saudi Arabia,

and the United States.


Natural gasses gather below the Earths crust and, like crude oil,
must be drilled for and pumped out.

Methane and ethane are the most common types of gasses

obtained through this process.
These gasses are most commonly used in home heating as well as
gas ovens and grills.

Russia, Iran, and Qatar are the countries with the largest
recorded natural gas reserves


Coal is the last of the major fossil fuels. Created by compressed

organic matter, it is solid like rock and is obtained via mining.

Out of all countries, China produces the most coal by far.

According to the Statistical Review of World Energy, published in

2011 by BP, they produced an astounding 48.3% (3,240 million
tons) of the worlds coal in 2010, followed by the United States
who produced a mere 14.8%.

Coal is most typically used in home heating and the running of

power plants.

Nuclear Fuels

The other form of non-renewable resource used to produce energy, nuclear

fuels, is primarily obtained through the mining and refining of uranium ore.

Uranium is a naturally occurring element found within the Earth's core.

Most uranium deposits occur in small quantities which miners gather together,
refine, and purify.

Once gathered, the uranium is brought together and compounded into rods.

The rods are then submersed into tanks of water.

When it reaches critical mass, uranium begins to break down and release
energy which heats the water it is immersed in. This is known as "fission."

The heated water then creates pressure and it is this pressure which drives the
turbines that generate the electricity we use everyday.

Nuclear fuels are key to maintaining the Earth's environment since they are the
cleanest of all non-renewable resources.

How can we help?

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