Renewable vs. Non-Renewable Energy Resources

Topics: Wind power, Alternative energy, Renewable resource Pages: 6 (1827 words) Published: September 5, 2008
Renewable Vs. Non-renewable Energy Resources: Environmental and Economical Advantages and Disadvantages

Imagine a life without washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, computers, televisions, lights, and cars. Imagine a planet so polluted that smog is in the air so bad that one cannot see very far, lakes and streams are poisoned, and land so badly scarred from people trying to find more energy sources. One day this may be a reality if we do not do something to change how we use our energy resources. This may be the case if society keeps using non-renewable energy resources at its current consumption rate. Our saving grace may be the development and use of using renewable energy resources. Renewable sources not only will help our planet stay clean due to little or no pollution, but may also help the economy.

This paper will compare both renewable energy resources and non-renewable energy resources and attempt to show that not only are renewable energy resources better for the environment but also show that they are better for the economy.

Non-renewable Energy Resources
One of the problems with non-renewable energy resources is that in order convert them into usable energy requires chemically changing whatever it is to extract the potential energy within. Non-renewable energy resources include wood, oil, gas, and coal. To extract the potential energy contained in these resources it is necessary to burn them, which gives off heat. This heat is converted into energy by using the heat to turn a turbine, which turns the generator, which creates electricity. Using gas in a vehicle the combustion of the gas and air mixture forces a piston, which turns the crankshaft. When burning these materials, heat is generated, and there is a chemical change. This changes the composition of the material. The result of this burning is typically water vapor, ash, and carbon dioxide. Water vapor is not harmful to the environment but carbon dioxide and ash are. Carbon dioxide and ash are pollutants, which cause problems in nature. When too much ash gets in the atmosphere, it can cause smog, which in excess can limit visibility. The carbon dioxide that is produced is harmful to humans and other animals but the main problem with carbon dioxide is it increases what is known as greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases block the sun’s light from escaping the planet. Without the escaping light, the temperature of the Earth increases. With the temperature increase, weather patterns are changed and polar ice caps can melt.

Converting these resources into usable energy requires money. Money is required to obtain them, to ship them, and to convert them. This conversion costs money to build the equipment for converting it, money for parts when something breaks, to maintain it, and to clean the equipment. Some parts cost a substantial amount of money to make or in some cases ship in. As one can see, non-renewable energy resources are expensive.

It is expensive to maintain the equipment, so that it operates at peak efficiency. The same goes for cleaning the equipment. When the equipment gets too dirty parts go bad more rapidly so cleaning it helps to prevent wear and tear on the parts. Once these parts get too bad they need to be replaced. Replacement parts for some equipment can be expensive.

Another factor in why these sources are so expensive is that the planet is running out of these resources. Forests are cut down to provide wood. If more trees are not planted to replace the ones we cut down, then eventually there will be no more wood for us. This is also bad because trees take the carbon dioxide out of the air and converts it into oxygen, which humans and other animals need to breathe. Oil, coal, and gas are becoming scarcer which means they are more expensive. Oil, coal, and gas are also running out. These take thousands if not more years for our planet to convert plants and animals into these resources. This means that...
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