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What is non-renewable energy?
Non-renewable energy comes from sources that will eventually run out or take a long time to replenish. Most non-renewable energy sources are fossil fuels, which were all formed in a similar way. Fossil fuels were curated within the earth, from dead plants and animals over the course of millions of years. As their name suggests, they are found in underground layers of rock and sediment. When pressure and heat are combined, the remains of plants and animals can be transformed into sources of energy.
Advantages and disadvantages of non-renewable energy
Although they are extracted from finite resources, there are advantages to non-renewable energy. In fact, fossil fuels are a valuable source of energy. As well as being relatively cheap to extract from the earth, they can be stored, piped or shipped all over the world.
On the other hand, burning fossil fuels negatively impacts the environment. When certain fossil fuels are burnt, they release particles that pollute the air, water and land. While some of these particles are caught, most of them are released into the atmosphere.
Natural gas is trapped in rock formations, a few hundred metres underground. To get access to it, companies use a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Natural gas is burnt to generate electricity, meaning homes can be heated, while lights, televisions, air conditioners, and kitchen appliances can be powered. Gas can also be turned into a form of liquid. Not only does this take up less space, but it’s also much cleaner than other fossil fuels.
Petroleum is a liquid fossil fuel, which is commonly referred to as oil. Most of the world’s oil is deep underground, although, in places, it bubbles to the surface. To extract oil, companies drill through the earth. After the oil has been drilled, it needs to be refined to take some of the chemicals out.
Around half of the extracted oil in the world is converted into gasoline, to fuel motor vehicles. When processed, oil can be used in a variety of liquid products ranging from nail polish to rubbing alcohol.
Coal can be taken from the earth, either by underground or surface mining. Once the coal is extracted from the ground, it can be burned for energy.
Coal has previously been used to power lights, refrigerators, dishwashers, and many other appliances that are plugged in. When coal is burned, it leaves valuable by-products behind. These by-products can be used to make cement, plastics and roads.
Nuclear energy is a popular way of generating electricity. Although nuclear power plants are difficult to build and run, they don’t pollute the air or release greenhouse gases. Therefore, they can be built in urban or rural areas, without destroying the surrounding environment.
Homeowners are still able to get a FREE boiler grant or insulation grant via the ECO scheme, which is still available to households that qualify. Warma UK are currently working throughout the UK helping privately owned and rented homes to improve home energy efficiency and save money on rising energy bills.
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