Sources Of Energy

What is Energy?

Before learning about natural sources of energy, let’s understand what energy is. The classical description of energy is the ability of a system to perform work, but because energy exists in so many forms, it is hard to find one comprehensive definition. In short, energy is the ability of a system to make things happen. It is a property of an object which can be transferred from the object to an object or converted to different forms but cannot be created or destroyed. There are numerous sources of energy. It can be chemical energy, electrical energy, heat/ thermal energy, mechanical energy, nuclear energy, and energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation i.e. light.

Sources of energy contain energy in them if forms that cannot be used directly but living organisms require energy to stay alive. Therefore, you must unlock this energy to get work done. Humans get energy from food which has this energy stored in the form of chemical energy. Your body absorbs this energy from food and burns it to fuel your body so that you can run around and have fun. A candle has chemical energy stored in it, but it has to be burnt to be useful. This conversion of chemical energy to yield heat and light energy happens through burning. Burning is a process of converting chemical energy to heat energy and sometimes light too.

We must make one observation, though energy seems to have a shelf life. If you keep a hot object out in the open, it will cool after a while. Can you collect this energy back from the atmosphere? You will learn more about the flow of energy when you discuss the Laws of Thermodynamics. We have discussed a few sources now let’s discuss them in detail.

Sources Of Energy

Sources of energy can be classified into:

  • Renewable Sources
  • Non-renewable Sources

A renewable source is the natural resources that cause no impact to nature. Renewable sources of energy are available plentiful in nature and are sustainable. These resources of energy can be naturally replenished and are safe to the environment.

Examples of renewable sources of energy are: Solar energy, geothermal energy, Wind energy, biomass, Hydropower and tidal energy.

Non-renewable sources of energy cause impact to nature and are a limited supply source. Non-renewable sources can be extracted from the earth, and will run out as time passes.

Examples of non-renewable sources of energy are: Natural gas, coal, petroleum, Nuclear energy and hydrocarbon gas liquids.

Sources Of Energy

Difference Between Renewable and Non-renewable sources of Energy

Renewable Non-renewable
The resources that can be renewed or replaced are called renewable sources of energy. The resources that cannot be renewed once they are consumed are called non-renewable sources of energy.
These resources do not cause any pollution to the environment. These resources cause pollution to the environment.
Renewable resources are inexhaustible. Non- Renewable resources are exhaustible.
Renewable resources are not affected by human activities. Non- Renewable resources are affected by human activities.
Examples of Renewable resources- Air, water and solar energy Examples of Renewable resources- Mineral, oil, and Coal

Natural Sources of Energy

The natural resources around us provide a variety of sources of energy around us. During the stone age, it was wood. During the iron age, we had coal. In the modern age, we have fossil fuels like petroleum and natural gas. So how do we choose sources of energy?

Good sources of energy should have the following qualities:

  • Optimum heat production per unit of volume/mass used
  • Easy to transport
  • Least Polluting
  • Economical

Earlier coal was used pretty much everywhere, from domestic used to steam engines all the way to Titanic. One problem that coal faced was transporting large amounts of coal needed all around the world. Hence, now the world over energy use is shifting towards either diesel or electricity. This example shows how petroleum is better against coal on all the above parameters.

Types of Natural Sources of Energy

There are two types of Natural  Sources of Energy classified by their popularity and use,

  • Conventional Sources of Energy
  • Non-Conventional Sources of Energy

Difference Between Conventional and Non-Conventional Sources of Energy

 Conventional  Non-conventional
The resources which have been in use for a long time. The resources which are yet in the process of development over the past few years.
These resources are exhaustible. These resources are inexhaustible.
These resources cause pollution as they emit smoke and ash. These resources are usually pollution-free.
These resources are very expensive to be maintained, stored and transmitted. These resources are less expensive due to local use and can easily be maintained.
Examples- coal, natural gas, petroleum, and water power. Examples- solar, biomass, wind, biogas, and tidal, geothermal.

In this article, you learned about the natural resources, energy, the sources of energy and what makes a good source of energy. Explore more such articles at BYJU’S which provides detailed solutions to the questions of NCERT Book for Source of Energy so that one can compare their answers with the sample answers given for this chapter.

Read more: Know in detail about different types of energy.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What sources of energy are renewable?

Following are the sources of energy that are renewable:
  • Biomass energy
  • Wind energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Hydro energy
  • What is the main source of energy in India?

    When commercial purposes are considered coal, oil, and natural gas are the main source of energy in India.

    What are the sources of energy in India?

    Following are the sources of energy in India:

  • Coal
  • Natural gas
  • Thermal energy
  • Mineral oil
  • Can any source of energy be pollution-free?

    No, the source of energy cannot be pollution-free as it affects the environment in some way. For example, solar energy can be considered as pollution-free but the installation of the setup will cause damage to the environment.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of wind power?

    Advantages:
  • There are no harmful gases released into the environment.
  • It is a way for the generation of revenue in the local communities.
  • It is one of the clean sources of energy.
  • Disadvantages:

  • The storage of energy needs to be improved.
  • The initial set up requires a lot of investment.
  • Numerous lands will be used up.
  • List the examples of sources of energy

    Following are the examples of sources of energy:
  • Biofuel energy
  • Hydropower
  • Geothermal energy
  • Solar energy
  • Nuclear energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Wind energy
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