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Non-renewable Energy Sources

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Non-renewable Energy Sources Revision

Non-renewable Energy Sources

We need energy resources to power transport, heating and electricity generation. Some of the main energy resources we use are non-renewable. This means they cannot be replenished after they have been used. 

The main non-renewable energy resources that we use are:

  • Coal
  • Oil
  • Gas
  • Nuclear Fuel  

Advantages and Disadvantages of Non-renewable Energy Resources

Non-renewable energy sources cannot be replenished as they are used. Despite this, they are currently our main source of energy in the UK because they also have some advantages. The advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels are:

Advantages:

  • Fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and nuclear fuel are reliable sources of energy.
  • Fossil fuels and nuclear fuel produce enough energy to meet the world’s energy demands
  • If energy demands go up unexpectedly, there is enough fossil fuels and nuclear fuel in storage to increase energy production. 
  • Nuclear fuel does not produce greenhouse gasses.

Disadvantages:

  • Fossil fuels release \bold{\text{CO}_2} (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere. \text{CO}_2 is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming.
  • Coal and oil release \bold{\text{SO}_2} (sulfur dioxide), which reacts in the atmosphere and creates sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid causes acid rain which can kill plants and animals and damage trees, buildings and soil. 
  • Coal mining destroys the habitats of plants and animals and some people think it ruins the landscape. 
  • Oil spills can kill sea creatures and are a big environmental issue.
  • Nuclear waste is very difficult to dispose of because it is highly radioactive.
  • Accidents at nuclear power plants can be very dangerous and have long-lasting consequences. 
  • Non-renewable energy resources will eventually run out
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The Use of Fossil Fuels

Currently, non-renewable energy resources are used to make much of the energy we use. However, it is well-known that non-renewables (especially fossil fuels) are bad for the environment and so many governments have introduced targets to use more renewable energy resources. Energy consumption in the UK has also been decreasing recently due to more efficient technologies for both energy creation and energy use. 

It is difficult to stop using non-renewables completely because it is expensive to build new power plants that use renewable sources and this would have to be paid for by tax money. Governments do not want to charge the public more tax because it may be difficult for some people to afford and this will make the government unpopular. 

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Non-renewable Energy Sources Example Questions

Energy resources that cannot be replenished as they are used. 

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Any one from the following advantages:

  • Reliable
  • Enough available to meet energy demands
  • Enough in storage in case of increase in energy demand.

Any one from the following disadvantages:

  • Burning coal releases \text{CO}_2 into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming
  • Release of SO_2 which reacts in the atmosphere to make sulfur dioxide which is the cause of acid rain
  • Coal will eventually run out
  • Coal mining destroys habitats.
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Non-renewable energy resources are bad for the environment.

Allow non-renewable energy resources will eventually run out.

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