Conventional sources of energy

Introduction to conventional sources of energy

Energy crisis is on the rise. Each day, we are using tones of fuel, wood, gas and petroleum products which is a cause of concern becasue many sources are non-renewable.  Conventional sources of energy are the most widely used sources on a regular basis. Let us describe each one in detail.


1. Fossil fuels

Fossils are the natural sources being in use since ages. Centuries back, when plants and animals got buried under the earth eventually undergone a process as a result of high core temperature and pressure inside the earth resulting in the formation of carbon-rich stuff. The high pressure and temperature has helped in converting the dead and decayed matter into a plaque-like material is seen in coal and petroleum. Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy and they cause environmental problems. India has a 6% share of the total coal reserve in the world which can last for 250 years at the present rate of consumption. However, coal and petrol produce a lot of greenhouse gases like CO2 on burning them.


Fossil fuel unit( Geothermal unit or thermoelectric unit)

A thermoelectric unit works by supplying a massive fossil fuels into a pressure cooker that connects to a spinning tennis ball unit. A tennis ball unit is a turbine with 3 slits (plaster or Metallic). When the steam is produced as a result of burning fossil fuels, it will impart energy towards the rotor of the turbine . The turbine can move the shaft of the generator to produce electricity. This is not an economical idea becasue a huge amount of fossil fuels are burnt to produce the steam. However, this can be a decent idea if there are plenty of fossil fuel resources.

A geothermal unit

A geothermal unit


2. Hydropower Plants

It is also one of the popular methods of generating electricity in India. Around 25% of energy in India is fulfilled by hydropower plants. With the advent of nuclear plants, solar power sources, and the poor monsoon,  the popularity of the hydropower plant has reduced. Hydropower plants convert mechanical energy ( forceful waterfall ) into electric energy. The turbines are forcefully hit by the waterfall from top resulting in the conversion of energy. The drawback of hydroelectric plants is that, if there is no rain, they don't work.  However, hydroelectricity is a renewable source and the water in the reservoir bound to get refilled by the rain during monsoon.

A hydro-power turbine, mage source-Wiki images

A hydro-power turbine, mage source-Wiki images


Disadvantages of hydro-power

  1. Construction of huge dams does involve legal and financial problems, many projects have stopped in the past becasue of internal politics.

  2. The technique may not be consistent in all the locations because of poor rainfall in many places.

  3. The place of building a dam is most vital as it must be built at the right place to make a waterfall from the peak. So, searching for the right geographic location can be difficult. Hydropower plants do not suit flat areas as well as drylands. 

  4. Sometimes people have to sacrifice their agricultural, residential land if the government brings an order. One such example is severe opposition to the construction of the Tehri dam on the coastal area of river Ganga because of such problems.

  5. .Big dams can cause earthquakes and landslides etc.​


3. Biogas and its advantages 

  1. It’s the most economical and safe source of energy for domestic use. Biogas is generated by using biomass produced as a result of agricultural and animal wastes. Some of them are cattle dung, firewood, sewage, dry leaves, stems, etc. Biological products have energy that needs to be released by processing them by using biogas units.

  2. Biogas contains 75% of Methane. Burning this neither produce smoke nor the ash, hence, it is eco-friendly 

  3. In the earlier days, biomass used to generate a lot of smoke but as the technology has grown, smoke emission from the gobar gas units has been controlled effectively.

  4. Charcoal is the best raw material used for biogas production. This is because it does not contain water or other volatile material that result in heavy smoke. 

  5. The sludge produced from biogas is one of the highly fertile compost becasue the compost produced by biogas plant is rich in nitrogen and phosphorous.

  6. The Bio-gas is stored in the gas tank from which they are drawn through pipes for use in a Bio-gas plant.

  7. The large scale use of Bio-wastes & sewage material provides a safe and efficient waste-disposal system besides supplying energy and manure.

  8. Biogas has left no pollutants because it follows a cycle in which every product is used for some purpose as shown in the picture below.


Disadvantages of biogas

  1. It is limited to domestic and small scale industries and it won’t suit to cities

  2. Production needs some time as the processing requires decomposition.

  3. Small scale impurities may be produced while decomposing and subjecting the products to anaerobic processing.