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Energy Sources

An energy source is a system which makes energy in a certain way,  for instance a hydro-electric station. A hydro-electric station uses the current of the river for the making of electricity.  We use many different energy sources to do work for us.

Energy sources are classified into following two groups:—


In our world,  most of our energy comes from non-renewable energy sources like Coal,  petroleum,  natural gas,  propane,  and uranium are nonrenewable energy sources. They are used to make electricity,  to heat our homes,  to move our cars,  and to manufacture all kinds of products.

These energy sources are called nonrenewable because their supplies are limited. Petroleum,  for example,  was formed millions of years ago from the remains of ancient sea plants and animals. We cannot make more petroleum in a short time.


Renewable energy sources include biomass,  geothermal energy,  hydropower,  solar energy,  and wind energy. They are called renewable energy sources because they are replenished in a short time. Day after day the sun shines,  the wind blows,  and the rivers flow. We use renewable energy sources mainly to make electricity.

Nowadays we need energy-sources for electricity. Without electricity no computers,  no television,  no washers. A lot of apparatus would not work without electricity.

Sources of Energy

These are the most important sources of energy.

Nuclear Power (Non-Renewable)

Nuclear power is a form of energy which arise from a reaction between atomic nucleï. Mostly this form of energy comes out of nuclear fission. To explain how this process works,  we give a little explanation about the structure of atomic nucleï. Atomic nucleï excist out of neutrons and protons. these little parts (neutrons and protons) are held together in the center of the atomic nucleus through a special energy,  called binding-energy. In a process in which the atomic nucleï collide whith eachother,  they fall apart and the loose parts come out of the atomic nucleus. The energy which kept the parts together is not necessary anymore and this energy comes ‘free’. At the technique of nuclear fission, atomic nucleï collide with eachother in a central boiler to become as much energy out of it as possible. The so called ‘binding-energy’ falls apart and this energy comes out of the atomic nucleus. This energy is used for heating up water and this water becomes steam. Through the steam a turbine can be driven and so electricity is a fact. The speed in which the atomic nucleï collide is controlled by special rods. These rods can pull atomic nucleï towards them and so there become less atomic nucleï which can collid and then there is less binding-energy to come ‘free’.

Fossil Energy (Non-Renewable)

Fossil energy is generated through the burning of fossil remains. At this burning the fossil fuel is used as a source of heat to make steam out of water. This steam is used for the working of a turbine. With the help of a generator,  this turbine can make electricity. Examples of fossil fuels are oil,  natural gas and coal. These fossil fuels are remains of dead materials of plants and animals. These plants and animals died over a million years ago and under the pressure of the earth’s surface and through the decay of this material their came a process of compression. Carbon is the main part of these fossile fuels,  the more carbon,  the heavier the fuel.

Renewable Energy

Alternative energy is a form of energy without waste-matters. It is also a form where the source,  which delivers the energy,  is endless. Some alternative energy-sources are sun-,  water- and windenergy. By all these forms of alternative energy, existing energy (like water, wind and sun) is used for the making of electric energy. For instance,  a hydro-electric station makes use of the fall between a lake and a river. They build a flood control dam between the lake and the river. And in the one outlet of the dam they build a turbine. This turbine activates a generator and the water energy is transformed into electric energy. More information about alternative energy you can find in the article about green energy.

Pros and Cons of different Sources of Energy

The three different kinds of energy-sources have their own pros and cons which are as under:-

Nuclear Power

For the generation of nuclear power little raw material is needed to generate a lot of electric energy. This is an advantage,  because the supply of the raw material will be enough for quite a time. A very big disadvantage is that the raw material for nuclear power,  uranium,  is very radio-active. Also the used rods en other used materials stay radio-active for ages. at a nuclear power plant as Tsjernobyl we have seen how dangerous this type of energy-generation can be. This is the major reason why environmental groups (like Greenpeace) are against this form of energy-winning.

Fossil Energy

The big advantage of fossil energy is that,  to generate the energy from the raw material is easy and cheap. Disadvantage is that during the process of combustion a lot of toxic materials comes into the air which causes extra pollution of the atmosphere,  these materials also increase the effect of global warming. Another disadvantage of fossil energy is that the supply of fossil fuels is not endless. The current supply is for approximately 50 years. That is why the USA wants to trail for oil and natural gas in Alaska. If the USA do this,  there are big consequences for the environment. For more information about this subject,  go to the article about exhaustion.

Alternative Energy

The advantage of alternative energy is that the energy source is endless and doesn’t give any pollution. Still,  there are not many alternative energy forms,  because for instance the technique to transform sun-beams into electric energy is very expensive. For more information about alternative forms of energy-winning, go to the article about green energy