One resource that is both renewable and inexpensive is sunlight, i.e. solar energy. The benefits of geothermal energy are also being exploited more and more, as it’s one of the few truly renewable energy resources.
What does renewable resource mean?
An energy resource classed as renewable should always be available and renew itself as part of a natural process. Although many forms of energy are classed as renewable, very few of them are. Some are very long-lasting, but will eventually run out.
One example is the ocean. If we included food energy in the equation then we could say it’s renewable because we have taking fish from it for thousands of years.
However, it’s coming perilously close to the end of it’s useful life as the human race has taken too much out of it, thinking wrongly that the supply is inexhaustible.
Video – The differences between renewable and nonrenewable resources
Is Sun a renewable resource?
I’ll talk about the sun first, because the sun’s energy is just about THE only energy there is basically. All forms of energy come from the sun, whether it’s coal grown from trees, oil from vegetation or the wind that drives a turbine.
Wind is weather which is moved by the sun’s heat and electromagnetic radiation. Ocean waves are maybe the only exception – the oceans are pulled backwards and forwards by the moon’s gravity.
The obvious application of the sun energy is by PV solar cell action, creating electricity we can use in our homes. The sun’s heat can also heat water for our use.
Strictly speaking, nothing is absolutely renewable, not even sunlight. In another 4 billion years, the sun will extinguish, but for the lifetime of the human race we can consider it renewable.
Is minerals renewable and inexpensive?
Minerals are abundant and appear in various forms, from diamonds to antimony. They are extremely long-lasting, and if we didn’t use them they would last as long as the Earth.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Our need for minerals accelerates and some of them are in short supply already.
Clearly, minerals are not renewable at all, simply because they take millions of years to form in the Earth’s crust and mankind is using them up at an ever-faster rate.
Which of the following could be considered both a renewable?
- The sun – yes, the sun is renewable and will shine for billions of years
- The ocean – yes, wave power will continue, as it is driven by the moon’s gravity
- Wood (wood) – no, trees are used much faster than re-planting can accomodate
- Coal – no, the planet has limited amounts of coal deposits
- Oil and gas – no, oil and gas will run out in a hundred years or so
- Wind – yes, as long as there is a sun and weather, there will be wind power
- Minerals – no, minerals take millions of years to form and we use them very quickly
- The atmosphere – no, our oxygen comes from the oceans and vegetation – these are dying
- Soil – no, many countries are experiencing serious soil erosion due to over-farming
- Sand – no, huge amounts of sand are used for making concrete. The planet is now short of sand
- Water – no, water will be in short supply within the next 50 years
- Biomass – no, tip – anything with ‘bio’ in the name is nonrenewable
- Nuclear – no, radio-isotopes decay eventually
Which could be considered both a renewable resource and a nonrenewable resource?
It’s a bit of a stretch, but water could be considered as both renewable and nonrenewable. Planetary water exists in a closed cycle, with precipitation deposited on mountains running down to the sea and evaporating back into the atmosphere.
The biggest problem for the future is the distribution of water and also the massive amounts used for rearing livestock and watering crops.
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In the future, countries that were blessed with plenty of water may find they have a shortage, causing armed conflict in some cases. The reason for this is complex and to do with changing climatic conditions, poor use management and pollution.
Is wheat crop both renewable and nonrenewable?
I’ve seen it suggested that wheat is an example of both renewable and nonrenewable resources, but I think this is nonsense.
The truth is that the wheat crop is very precarious, depending on copious amounts of water and a reasonable amount of soil. Both of these resources are reducing rapidly, both because of human activity and natural process.
In the USA, droughts are becoming more common and in some states the depth of top-soil is just a few inches. Genetically modified grains have been introduced to try and boost output in the long term, but the idea of mankind intefering in natural processes in this way is clearly ludicrous and will not end well.
Which resource is renewable?
Strictly speaking, there are only 3 resources that are renewable:
- Wind power
- Ocean wave energy
The sun’s energy drives the wind as well, as it’s the temperature difference between pockets of air that create winds. Wave energy is unusual in that it is created by the moon’s gravity as it spins around the Earth.
Paradoxically, none of the so-called renewable resources can be harvested by mankind without machines, which are created using energy derived from fossil fuels. Of course, fossil fuels are nonrenewable, while geothermal power is completely renewable.
Is Forest renewable or nonrenewable?
There’s a lot of hype in the form of biomass as a renewable fuel, but this is erroneous. Most people think that wood pellets, for example, are made out of shaving or scrap wood that’s left from cutting and shaping timber.
This does happen, but a lot of wood pellets are made out of trees that are designated as low quality and not suitable for construction. This means that these ‘sub-standard’ trees are cut down and turned into biomass.
The process is quite polluting and not good for human health, so wood products are definitely not considered renewable. Even planting 10 saplings for every tree cut down is no good; even the fastest growing trees take at least 10 years to mature and we are using them much faster than they can grow.
Some of the more exotic woods can take much longer to mature and an eco-habitat like the Amazon rain forest takes hundreds of years to develop.
Which resource is both renewable and inexpensive economics?
Sunshine is the most abundant renewable energy source on the planet. Enough sunshine energy falls on the planet in 24 hours to power the whole world for a year! Harvesting the energy is the tricky part.
Solar water heating is very efficient at over 75% for some vacuum tube-type collectors. Hot water is very welcome, but it’s electricity that we need more and more. Solar cells convert sunlight into electrical power, but are not that efficient at about 17% maximum.
That said, the installed cost per kilowatt of solar power has fallen drastically over the past decade, not resting at under $3 per watt. However, solar PV (photo voltaic) systems still can’t out-perform high-power wind farms kW per kW.
At this time (Dec 2021) wind turbine power systems are still the most inexpensive renewable resource economically.
Which resource is not a renewable resource?
Is Sand renewable resource?
Someone once asked me how many stars existed in the Universe, and they explained it in this way:
- There are as many stars as grains of sand in the amount of sand covering the whole of France up to a depth of 1 meter!
That is a lot of sand! We tend to think of sand being inexhaustible. Surely sand is a renewable resource? In fact, it is not.
China builds the equivalent of the city of Chicago each year – the amount of concrete needed is huge. Concrete not only needs sand, it needs a special kind of sand; a sand with sharp edges such as found on seas-shores around the world.
Desert sand is no good, because it has been blown around by the winds for thousands of years and has become rounded. This means it doesn’t stick to it’s neighboring grains or cement particles. Basically it isn’t strong enough for construction.
The shortage of building sand is so acute that pirates are stealing it from beaches around the world and a black market has opened up for this basic, but precious, resource.
Is Diamond a renewable resource?
Although a diamond is the hardest natural substance known to man, it really isn’t renewable at all. I’m not sure whether a dimaond should be called a ‘resource’ at all. We certainly use them for ornamentation and also in industry, but it’s twisting the definition too much, I feel.
The only way in which a diamond could be renewed is under the enormous pressure and heat developed inside the Earth’s crust, a process which takes millions of year.
Is wood a renewable resource?
Proponents of the biomass, ethanol and construction industries would like us to think wood is a renewable source, but in out lifetimes it is not.
While it’s true that we can plant a sapling for every tree cut down, but even the fastest growing tree takes some years to grow. On a planetary scale we use a complete tree every few seconds!
It’s blatantly obvious that we are in the process of using up all the available trees. After they are gone, that’s it, unless we come up with a miraculous solution, such as artificial wood for construction, for example.
Is nuclear renewable?
No, nuclear is not renewable. Nuclear fuel slowly decays, giving off radioactive particles in the process. It is this atomic particle shedding that generates enormous heat need to generate steam to drive electrical generators for the power grid.
It’s stretching the definition of renewable to include a fuel that leaves a residue that is toxic to all living things for 10000 years, needing to be stored underground or in outer space.
Resources relating to inexpensive and renewable resources:
Which resource is both renewable and inexpensive? – Amigoz