Sources of energy


Energy is everything that this world has because it can neither be created nor be destroyed,  while it changes its form into different types. It is an inseparable part of both the living and non-living entities. Can anyone imagine anything that doesn't really involve energy? Not at all, because even to imagine or simply state that I don`t need the energy to live is also a form of energy as our brain is thinking something.  Energy tends to move cyclically between the system and the organisms? Similarly, it interchanges itself between human beings and nature. For instance, when we die, our body gets decomposed, so all the energy is drained into the environment with the help of microorganisms into the soil. Again, when we are alive the same energy is being consumed for our survival. Energy is explained differently from different contexts. An expert from physics would say that it is the quantitative property that can be transferred to an object in order to perform work. It can be heat, magnetic energy, solar energy etc. In the context of physics, there is a substantial focus on the qualitative and quantitative measurement rather than biological aspects. A biologist is more concerned about whether it is derived from the plant source or animal source or is it derived from carbs or fats.  Yet, a few questions that pop up in our minds are; if energy can neither be created nor be destroyed why do we need to worry? And why the world is bombarded with energy crisis?  However, to answer these questions is beyond the scope of this post. Let us be precise on the sources, transformation,  and forms of energy in use.




Sources of energy 

From the biological viewpoint, autotrophs are the prime reason behind the production of energy. Let us not go deep into this scenario now. Many of us think that energy is what we purchase in stores in the form of food, fuel, gasoline, etc nevertheless, at the most foundational level, 2 forms of energy is evident. They are; solar and nuclear energy, both of which provide more than 99% of the energy. But, for the ease description and comprehensiveness, energy is classified into 2 principal types nonrenewable and renewable.  If we simply think of the energy sources which can be seen and feel, then the list of different sources fall under these 2 major categories.


Introduction to the energy sources


Energy is a unique way of expression of life. However, the amount of energy being produced, stored,  transferred and utilized depends upon many factors. At this stage, it is important to understand the characteristics of an ideal energy source.  While we choose some source of energy, we should make a clear point that a source should yield a maximum amount of energy by per unit volume or mass. This can vary between sources; a litre of petrol yields more energy than a litre of kerosene, similarly, one kilogram of liquid petroleum gas can provide 5 times more energy than the same quantity of kerosene. Another important aspect to observe while choosing a source is the price. A source must be affordable, cheap and easily available in any outlet. Above all, usability and safety matters. A source should be easy to use,  safe to handle and provides a highly flexible operational advantage. Adding to this, it must not produce serious negative impact on our environment although, some degree of pollution is acceptable. A source should demonstrate an added advantage of being light, easy to relocate to many miles as it can save transportation costs. When it comes to the combustibility, ascertain that a source should not be highly inflammable. 



Nonrenewable energy sources

Nonrenewable sources are the natural resources gifted by nature. More importantly, they cannot be easily replaceable by any quicker means. It is important to keep a check on the amount of energy to be used as these are non-replenishable. Non-renewable sources of energy are simply called natural energy sources which were hidden in the deep layers of the earth`s crust for millions of years, in the form of fossil fuels. Different people opine differently on the number of sources that belong to nonrenewable energy. However, oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy are the 4 major sources that make up renewable sources. They are also called fossil fuels as they are extracted from the deep burials of the underground. Fossils fuels are used to carry out our day-to-day chores like generating electricity, heating our homes, driving our vehicles, and as many other life-saving activities.  Another category of nonrenewable sources that are sparingly used may include earth minerals, metal ores, and nuclear sources. Some literature supports the fact that land sources  used for the farming and commercial purpose can be both renewable and nonrenewable,



 Renewable energy sources

Natural resources are also called renewable resources. Most of these are natural and never-ending as long as we use them legitimately. Natural sources can be both intermittent or consistent depending upon the availability; for instance, solar energy can be interrupted by clouds, similarly, wind energy depends upon the wind currents which is susceptible to natural fluctuations. We also have an added advantage of preserving them with the help of many inverters, solar batteries and some storing devices exclusively made for this purpose. The production of renewable energy sources may include some laborious processes; nevertheless, they are much safer as they don't harm the environment as long as we use them properly. Resources such as water, forests, plants and animals are also considered under renewable resources. Adding to these, energy from the sun, hydropower from water, bio-energy from biomass, wind energy and geothermal energies add a substantial strength into the energy sources as these are infinite and cannot be deleted. Nevertheless, some short-term interruptions may exist, for instance, hydropower can be at times unstable depending upon the monsoons. 



Renewable and non-renewable energy forms

Renewable energy

Non-renewable energy

This can never get over hence it can be used again and again.

This is the energy derived from the limited sources, so it  cannot be used again and again

These are non –conventional or non-traditional forms of energy that necessitates lots of technology to derive.

Nonrenewable sources of energy are traditional ones being used from ancient times.

Some common renewable sources may include; energy from the sea, geothermal energy, nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy and energy from the earth's sources

These include fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, natural gas, coal and wood.



Biological uses of energy

On a daily basis, energy is used for a number of purposes. The most primary aspect that necessitates energy is our body`s biology. Our body needs energy for many biological processes; they include, digestion, respiration, cardiac activity, metabolism, and excretion. We need energy even at rest because every organ and tissues stay active even while we sleep.  Organisms in the ecosystems demand enormous energy to survive, reproduce, compete and adapt.  Every organism display some ability to either produce, consume or transfer it to the next level of the ecological pyramid. The vast majority of energy that exists in food webs originates from the sun and is converted into chemical energy with the help of photosynthesis in plants. Energy keeps moving between many organisms or different levels of food pyramids. In food webs, energy is created from the plants, which are the autotrophs or producers. The energy transferred from producers to consumers through feeding is being utilized to carry out some complex tasks. As we move up in the food web, the amount of energy being transferred between the 2 subsequent levels keeps decreasing, as a result, there is a huge gap in the energy levels between the producers and tertiary consumers. Tertiary consumers lie at the highest position in a food web.



The overexploitation of   sources

In the year 2016, the world`s net energy consumption came from 80% fossil fuels, 10% biofuels, 5% nuclear and the rest 5% was hardly from the abundant renewable sources. Even after decades of research and revelations about the importance of usage of renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind power, solar power and geothermal energy, 5% of the users came from the renewable sector. It is a clear indication that the world is witnessing a never seen shortage of energy. It is linked to the greed and abnormal competency of humans over their counterparts, which is more of a behavioural phenomenon. Though in some countries, the energy crisis is due to the poor or a lack of regulatory control over the excess usage of resources, a significant proportion of energy crisis is the consequence of wrong strategies that we deliberately practice. One simple example that we especially observe in our country is the substantial increase in the 2 wheelers which is almost equal to the adult population. Many of us forget the fact that overexploitation of the sources for commercial purpose can strongly impact energy security in the longterm. It is the time to realize and act in favour of the environment by gradually shifting our gears towards the usage of renewable sources which can assure the safety as well as security. 



Energy  crisis in India

With over a billion population, the consumption of energy in India is very high when compared to many developed economies. With the advent of many technological innovations, new machinery, and new production units that consume more energy has further escalated the issue. Apart from domestic usage, commercial usage of energy is increasing because of urbanization and industrialization. In our country, commercial energy makes up about 38.5%, Oil constitutes 71.2% in household sector, 83.99% in transport, 61.8% in agriculture, coal (44.5%) and electricity (47.6%).  Fortunately, India has good reserves of coal energy in the global front.






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