What Are The Disadvantages of Non Renewable Resources?

Updated on October 10, 2022
What Are The Disadvantages of Non Renewable Resources?

5 disadvantages of non renewable resources

Disadvantages of non renewable resources:

  • Exploration and conversion takes time and resources.
  • Diminishing resources – non renewables are disappearing.
  • Causes pollution and emits greenhouse gases.
  • Transportation – some non renewables are difficult to transport
  • Storage – large quantities have to be store to guard against shortages

Non-renewable and renewable resources are both energy sources that humans use in order to function every day. However, there is a difference between the two energy resources. Renewable resources can replenish naturally, but non-renewable resources can’t.

In the following article, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about non renewable resources.

Video – Renewable Resources Disadvantages and Advantages (Pros and Cons)


What is non-renewable energy? Non-renewable definition

Non-renewable energy comes from slowly replaced resources or can only be replaced through natural processes. The resources that can be referred to as non-renewable are fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal. Nuclear energy can also be considered one of the non-renewable sources for the supply of uranium in the Earth’s crust is also limited.

Non-renewable energy examples

Here is the list of the non renewable resources available on Earth.

  • Aluminum
  • Coal
  • Crude Oil
  • Fossil fuels
  • Ground Water
  • Natural gas
  • Phosphate
  • Steel
  • Tar sands
  • Uranium


You might think that aluminum is not a source of energy. However, aluminum is one of the most used resources globally, especially in construction.


One of the most prominent sources of non-renewable energy is coal. It can be created by compressing organic matters, and coal is also rock-solid; you can obtain coals through mining.

Crude oil

Crude oil is developed in the Earth’s crust layers and is considered a non-renewable source. It’s available in the form of liquid. It’s also possible to drill in the ground or floor of the ocean to extract the crude oil. Petrol, diesel, and jet fuel are some of the most known crude oil.

Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are derived from organic matter confined in the middle of the Earth’s sediment layers.

Fresh water

Every person on earth uses water in their daily activities. It’s also crucial for survival. However, it has only limited sources for human beings. There are some reasons why it’s considered one of the non-renewable resources.

Natural gas

Another non-renewable energy source is natural gas that you can also extract from the Earth’s crust. It’s somehow the same with crude oil. You can also pull it by using the method of drilling. The most famous natural gas available is methane and ethane.


You can consider phosphate one of the natural energy resources, but phosphates are only produced in small quantities. It’s why they are considered non-renewable resources.


You may consider steel as one of the durable types of renewable source of energy. They are created from the elements that are from iron cores. Irons has only limited sources. That is why we can consider steel as a non-renewable energy source.

Tar sands

Tar sand comes from sedimentary rocks. Although they are considered non-renewable resources, they are still plenty available in tar sand. However, it would be best to think that extracting tar sand is intensive.


One of the occurring elements that you can consider is uranium. Its located in the Earth’s core. The deposits of uranium are only available in small quantities. Uranium is gathered, refined, and purified by miners.

When uranium purification is concluded, it is used to create a rod. The uranium rods are immersed in tanks of water. Uranium will be exposed to a breakdown process after hitting critical mass, in which energy will be liberated.

Non-renewable energy examples

Nuclear power has the disadvantage of being extremely dangerous to health

Non-renewable energy sources

Here are the principal non renewable energy sources:

  • Petroleum – Petroleum is a fossil fuel known as crude oil. Petroleum is generated from the residues of ancient sea organisms such as algae bacteria, and just as natural gas and coal.
  • Hydrocarbon gas liquids – At atmospheric pressure, Hydrocarbon gas liquids or HGLs are hydrocarbons known as gases and liquids.
  • Natural gas – Natural gas is also a fossil fuel created beneath the Earth’s surface. Natural gas is made up of a variety of chemicals.
  • Nuclear energy – This is stored in an atom’s core or nucleus. Nuclear energy is being used to generate power, but first, you should extract it from the atom.

Table – Biggest disadvantage of non renewable resources – they will disappear!

Non Renewable Resource

How much is left?

When will it run out?

Natural gas

7124 trillion cubic feet (tcf)

40 years (2060)

Crude oil

1.65 trillion barrels

40 years (2060)


1000 trillion tons

500 years (2520)


1.1 trillion tons

70 years (2070)


14000 cubic kilometres

Shortages in 2030


10 cms

60 years (2060)


Not known (15billion tons used/year)

Not known – in short supply


304 trillion trees left

Not known


80 million tons fishes each year

30 years (2050)

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Advantages and disadvantages of non-renewable resources

Both the benefits and drawbacks of non-renewable energy sources were the subjects of lengthy disputes. As a result, we must understand both sides of the coin. The following is a list of the benefits and drawbacks of non-renewable energy:

Non-renewable resources advantages

  • More energy efficient – Non-renewable materials have higher energy content. Unlike renewable sources like wind or solar, fossil fuels like oil and coal usually give us more energy.
  • Profitable – Coal extraction, natural gas pipeline, and oil sales development create substantial profits.
  • Easy to convert – These supplies are simple to utilize in the household or elsewhere.
  • Low prices (for now) – Non-renewable sources are available at a low price to consumers.
  • Available technologies – New technologies and other sources of energy cannot quickly replace traditional minerals such as oil and coal. As a result, it’s sometimes referred to as a conventional energy source.

Disadvantages of non-renewable resources

What are the disadvantages of non renewable energy?

Non-renewable sources provide many benefits, but they also have several drawbacks. These are some of them:

  • Exploration and conversion – Non-renewable power has several flaws, one of which is its time-consuming nature. Oil exploration, coal mining, oil drilling, natural gas extraction, and oil rig construction and transportation are time-consuming activities. It also necessitates a significant amount of effort.
  • Diminishing resources – Non-renewable power takes billions of years to create. Therefore, it’s gradually disappearing from the planet. It may be selfish to use non-renewable sources carelessly without considering subsequent generations.
  • Can cause pollution – Since fossil fuels release chemicals like carbon monoxide, non-renewable power can be harmful and cause respiratory difficulties in individuals.
  • Transportation – Transporting non-renewable resources can sometimes be hazardous as large cargo oil tankers and ships collide and spill their load in the ocean or somewhere else. It’s potentially fatal to sea animals and humans that come into touch with it.
  • Storage – it’s necessary maintain a big quantity of fuel on standby at all times to keep the power station running. It can be costly and take up so much room.

Questions often asked about non renewable resources:

What are the top five non-renewable resources?

  1. Coal
  2. Hydrocarbon gas liquids
  3. Natural gas
  4. Nuclear energy
  5. Petroleum

What are non-renewable resources in simple words?

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A non-renewable substance is a resource that is depleted faster than you could replace it. One caveat is that a resource should be able to be replenished within a human lifetime, which is doable with some resources, if they are correctly managed.

What are the uses of non-renewable resources?

Non-renewable substances like oil and coal are the planet’s principal sources of energy, and they’re used to operate factories, cars, and houses. Despite their low cost, they could damage the Earth and significantly cause global warming.

Resources relating to non renewable resources disadvantages:

Non-Renewable Energy | Sources, Advantages, Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages of Non Renewable Energy

21 Advantages and Disadvantages of Non-Renewable Energy

Pros and cons of non-renewable energy resources – BBC

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