Difference Between Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Resources (Tabular Form)

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Wanna know what is the primary difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources? If yes, then you are at the right place at the very right time…!!! The primary difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources is that the former is renewed or restored by nature over a period of time.

On the other hand, the latter does not get renewed or restored by nature. In any case, if the latter is renewed by nature, it would take thousands or millions of years to be fully renewed or restored by nature itself.

In this exclusive article, we will talk about renewable and nonrenewable resources differences. Not to mention, we will also talk about some of the similarities between them. But, before going ahead, let me give you a short and crisp review of the two in a tabular form. Let’s dive right in…!!!

Renewable vs Nonrenewable Resources

 Renewable ResourcesNonrenewable Resources
1.Renewable resources can be renewed or restored over time.Nonrenewable resources cannot be renewed or restored over time.
2.They are abundant in nature.They are not abundant in nature.
3.They are environmentally friendly.On the other hand, they are hazardous to nature.
4.Renewable energy resources are not efficient in producing energy on a large scale.Nonrenewable energy resources are better and have the ability to produce lots of energy in a short amount of time.
5.Upfront and installation cost is high.Upfront and installation cost is low.
6.Renewable energy resources require a large area to function properly.Non-renewable energy resources require areas smaller than renewable energy resources to function properly.
7.Examples of renewable resources include solar energy, geothermal, water, wind energy, etc.Examples of nonrenewable resources include coal, petroleum products such as diesel, petrol, natural gas, etc.
From the above difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources in tabular form, you got the exact overview of these two. However, in order to get to know them, let us try to understand both of them in a detailed format. Keep reading!

 

Before we jump into the concept of renewable and nonrenewable resources, it is important to know the meaning of natural resources. Well, what are natural resources anyway? Natural resources are the things that are provided by nature for the use of human beings.

Can we have some examples of natural resources in real-time? Sure, our Earth’s natural resources include air, water, light, plants, animals, soils, rocks, minerals, and fossil fuels. The presence of these components thus makes our planet habitable.

People on Earth uses some of these natural resources to live while the other resources are being used to produce energy which can further make our life more comfortable. The natural resources used to generate energy are broadly classified into two main categories. These are renewable and nonrenewable energy resources.

What are Renewable Resources?

pavagada-solar-park-renewable-energy-resources
Pavagada Solar Park (renewable energy resource) in Pavagada taluk, Tumkur district, Karnataka, India. Image Credit: Karnataka.com

Renewable Energy is a type of energy derived from inexhaustible resources. The word ‘inexhaustible’ signifies that they can be replenished by nature in a short period of time. Examples of renewable resources include water, plants, animals, solar energy, geothermal, and wind energy.

Advantages of Renewable Resources

There can be so many advantages of renewable resources. Some of them are listed below:

  • Renewable energy resources are renewed by nature over time.
  • They are abundant in nature.
  • They are environment friendly, etc.

Disadvantages of Renewable Resources

Some of the disadvantages of renewable resources are:

  • Renewable energy resources require a large area to function properly.
  • Renewable energy resources are not efficient in producing energy on a large scale.
  • Upfront and installation cost is high.

 

What are Nonrenewable Resources?

Fossel-fuel-power-plant-Taichung-power-plant-nonrenewable-resources
Taichung power plant i.e a coal-fired (non-renewable resource) power plant in Longjing, Taichung, Taiwan. Credit: Taiwan News

By definition, Nonrenewable energy resources are another type derived from natural resources which cannot be replenished. Coal, petroleum, natural gases, nuclear energy are some of the finest examples of non-renewable resources.

Advantages of Nonrenewable Resources

There can be so many advantages of nonrenewable resources. Some of them are listed below:

  • Upfront and installation cost is low.
  • Non-renewable energy resources require areas smaller than renewable energy resources to function properly.
  • Output efficiency of nonrenewable energy resources is better and has the ability to produce lots of energy in a short amount of time.

Disadvantages of Nonrenewable Resources

Some of the disadvantages of nonrenewable resources are:

  • Nonrenewable energy resources cannot be renewed or restored over time.
  • They are not abundant in nature.
  • They are hazardous to the environment, etc.

 

How do we produce energy from these two resources?

This is an interesting question. To answer these questions, let’s take a look at some of the ways by which renewable and nonrenewable resources help us to extract energy out of it.

Case 1

In the case of renewable resources, energy can be harnessed directly from the sun. So, does it mean that during night and cloudy weather, we can harness this energy? Probably, the answer is no.

Fortunately, our science and technology have allowed us to make some electronic devices known as solar cells which can convert sunlight directly into electricity. Nowadays, you must have seen semi-transparent panels that are installed on houses and in calculators.

Caes 2

Conversely, in the case of non-renewable resources, Uranium-235, a radioactive element is used as a natural resource. It undergoes radioactive decay and releases an enormous amount of heat. The heat is then used to create steam which in turn is utilized to rotate the turbine in a generator.

This is how electricity is produced using nuclear energy. The radioactive byproducts produced during the process are hazardous waste that should be disposed of carefully.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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