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Conventional Energy Sources

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Conventional sources of Energy or Non-renewable energy sources are finite resources that will deplete over time. Non-renewable energy is defined as energy that does not regenerate itself at a sufficient pace to allow for long-term economic extraction on human timescales. Coal, crude oil, natural gas, and uranium are examples of non-renewable energy sources.

Energy from fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, nuclear material, the sun, and wind, are the primary sources of electricity. Energy is a necessary component of economic progress. Wind, sun rays, and flowing water are used to generate power, whereas coal, petroleum, and natural gas are used directly in motor vehicles and equipment. Coal, petroleum, natural gas, and other fuel minerals can be used to create energy.


Conventional Energy Sources

A resource is anything that is accessible in our surroundings that may be utilized to meet our requirements. It must be technologically possible, financially viable, and culturally acceptable. Only then can it be called a ‘Resource?’ Minerals, forests, fossil fuels, and other natural resources are examples.  Energy resources are any resources that are utilized to create electricity or energy to run industries. We are about to discuss two types of Energy Resources : 

1) Conventional Source of Energy     2) Non-Conventional Source of Energy 

Conventional Sources of Energy 

Conventional sources of Energy or Non-renewable energy sources are finite resources that will deplete over time. Non-renewable energy is defined as energy that does not regenerate itself at a sufficient pace to allow for long-term economic extraction on human timescales. Coal, crude oil, natural gas, and uranium are examples of non-renewable energy sources.

Non-renewable energy, unlike renewable energy, requires human intervention to make it usable. Fossil fuels are mostly made up of carbon. Fossil fuels are considered to have originated roughly 300 million years ago when the earth’s surface looked considerably different.

Some of the conventional sources of energy are coal, petroleum, Natural gas, etc.


Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock that occurs in seams. The heat and pressure of deep burial turn dead plant materials into peat, which is eventually changed into coal over millions of years. Coal is used to make iron and steel, as well as in other industrial processes. Coal is largely utilized as a source of energy. Coal usage surged after the introduction of the steam engine. Coal was responsible for nearly a quarter of the world’s primary energy and more than a third of its electricity in 2020.

In India, coal is the most widely available fossil fuel. It meets a bigger proportion of the country’s energy requirements. Coal is a heavy substance that loses weight as it decomposes into ash. As a result, large industries and thermal power plants are built on or near coal fields. 

There are several types of coal depending on the degrees of compression, the depth, and the duration of burial during its formation:

  •  Peat : It is created by the decomposition of plants in marshes. It has a high moisture content, low carbon content, and limited heating capability.
  •  Lignite :It is a low-quality brown coal. It has a high moisture content and is soft. It is used to generate power. Neyveli in Tamil Nadu has significant lignite deposits.
  •  Bituminous: This is the most often used coal in industry. The use of high-grade bituminous coal in metallurgy is suitable. It’s particularly useful for melting iron in blast furnaces. It can only be found at deeper depths.
  •  Anthracite: The highest grade of hard coal. Anthracite is found in areas of the world where massive earth movements, such as the building of mountain ranges, have occurred.
  • The Appalachian Mountains, located in the eastern United States, are abundant in anthracite. 


Crude oil, commonly known as petroleum oil, is the only nonrenewable resource that can be extracted as a liquid. It’s located between layers of the earth’s crust or between rocks, and it’s extracted by digging a vertical well into the ground or ocean floor. The crude oil is then pumped to the surface, processed at a refinery, and utilized to make a variety of goods. It is used to make gasoline and diesel for automobiles, as well as plastics, heating oil, propane, jet fuel, and artificial food tastes.

Apart from carbon, oil includes a variety of compounds, and refining the oil removes some of these chemicals. We utilize oil for a variety of purposes. Half of the world’s petroleum is used for conversion to gasoline  The remaining may be processed and utilized in liquid products like nail polish and rubbing alcohol, as well as solid products like water pipes, shoes, crayons, roofing, vitamin capsules, and a variety of other things. 

Natural Gas 

Natural gas is a nonrenewable gaseous resource that may be discovered beneath the earth’s crust, alongside crude oil reserves. Natural gas is primarily made up of methane, but it can also include propane, ethane, and butane. Methane is odorless, therefore it’s blended with a particular chemical to make it smell so it may be detected if there’s a leak. Natural gas is extracted and delivered to processing factories where propane and butane, which are utilized as liquefied petroleum gas, are removed.

Natural gas is utilized in gas ovens, stoves, and grills, as well as for heating houses. Natural gas is a “cleaner” fossil fuel than oil or coal, and it may be obtained at a low cost. When natural gas is burned, just carbon dioxide and water vapor are produced (the same gases that people exhale!). This is a superior alternative to coal.

Natural gas extraction, on the other hand, may have significant environmental impacts. Fractures in the rocks can create mini-earthquakes and underground injections of high-pressure water and chemicals have the potential to contaminate nearby water sources.


Depending on the resource used to generate it, electric energy can be renewable or non-renewable. Electricity, like oil from the earth, is not a naturally occurring energy phenomenon; it must be manufactured and purified in electrical power plants using other energy sources. Power is often generated by processing facilities that burn fossil fuels and “create” electricity in return for the fuel consumed. The electricity-generating turbines are powered by non-renewable, restricted energy sources such as coal, oil, or gasoline.  Solar, wind and geothermal energy may all be used to generate electricity. These inexhaustible powers are continually replenishable. 

Electricity may be created in two ways

  •  Thermal electricity is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, and others, which provides energy to power turbines.
  • Thermal power plants generate energy using non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels.
  •  Hydroelectricity is produced by the movement of water.
  • This energy is pollution-free and is widely used in India through multi-purpose projects such as Bhakra Nangal, Damodar Valley, and the Kopili Hydropower Project, among others.

Non-Conventional source of Energy

It’s the polar opposite of the energy derived from finite fossil resources. These are renewable energy-generating resources. A renewable source is a natural resource that restores depleted or used resources within a defined time span on the human time scale, either through natural reproduction or through repeating processes.

Examples of Non – Conventional or Renewable energy sources are solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and water (hydro). 

  • Solar Energy:  Solar energy is utilized to create electricity in a certain method. It is a renewable energy source that is received straight from the Sun and will never be depleted. It is an example of sustainable energy that helps to lower power bills while also reducing carbon footprints. As a tropical country, India has a lot of potential for this type of energy, and the country is working hard to make the most of it.
  • Wind Energy: Wind power, often known as wind energy, is a method of using wind to give mechanical power to electric generators via wind turbines, allowing them to perform tasks such as milling and pumping.
  • Geo-Thermal Energy:  Geothermal energy is the energy that is produced from the thermal energy that is stored in the ground. The thermal energy of the Earth is conserved. Hot springs and volcanoes collect thermal energy, which is then used by industry to heat water and for other uses. Wells excavated a mile down into underground reservoirs to acquire steam and hot water, which is then used to drive turbines coupled to power generators, are used to create electricity from geothermal energy. 
  • Tidal  Energy: With the aid of modern technology, power is created by turning the energy of the tides into electricity and other forms of energy. The tides are used to transform mechanical energy into electrical energy in a variety of ways. India also has a lot of potential for this type of energy because it is surrounded on three sides by water. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Explain how coal is distributed in India.

Coal is found in India in two geological periods, namely Gondwana, which is around 200 million years old, and tertiary deposits, which are just about 55 million years old. The Damodar valley (west Bengal, Jharkhand) is home to the significant success of Gondwana coal, which is metallurgical coal. The main coal fields include Jharia, Raniganj, and Bokaro. Coal resources may be found in the Godavari, Mahanadi, Son, and Wardha valleys.

Which of the following three uses of aluminum can you think of?

  •  Because it is a good heat conductor, it is utilised to make pots and pans.
  •  Aluminium is used to manufacture electrical cables because it conducts electricity well.
  •  Cans for various drinks and other liquids are also made of aluminium.
  • Aluminium is a lightweight and robust material.  It’s found in a lot of planes and spacecraft. Mixing it with other metals to generate significant alloys can make it even stronger.  

What is the difference between Gondwana and Tertiary coalfields?

Gondwana  coalfieldsTertiary Coalfields
These mines are India’s primary coal producers.These mines are India’s small coal producers.
More than 200 million years have passed since they were formed.Only 55 million years have passed since they were formed.
These provide high-quality coal.These generate coal of inferior grade.
Gondwana coals may be found in the Damodar, Godavari, Mahanadi, and Wardha valleys. Tertiary coals may be found in Meghalaya’s north-eastern region, as well as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland. 

What are the benefits of using biogas as a source of energy?

  •  In rural regions, shrubs, farm trash, animal and human waste are utilised to make biogas for household consumption.
  •  The decomposition of organic waste produces gas, which has a better thermal efficiency than kerosene, dung cake, and charcoal.
  •  The Gobar gas plants give a double advantage to farmers in the shape of energy and enhanced manure quality.
  •  Biogas is a renewable energy source. 

Minerals are an essential element of our daily life. How do you justify this statement?

Minerals are an important element of our existence for the following reasons:

  • Almost everything we use in our everyday lives, from a little pin to a tall structure or a large ship, is comprised of minerals.
  • The railway lines and road pavement, as well as machinery, implements, and tools constructed of minerals.
  • Our diet contains a variety of minerals that are necessary for our bodies. They are taken up by the body. 

Last Updated : 17 Oct, 2023
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