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Natural Sources of Energy

Natural Sources of Energy

Energy is a crucial entity of the universe. We need the energy to perform our daily activities. Can we do any daily activity without energy? The capacity of a system to do work is known as energy. Energy transferable property. It needs to be transferred from one body to another for its proper functioning. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It only changes its form from one to another. It exists in multiple forms from thermal, mechanical, electrical, nuclear, chemical, etc.

The SI unit of energy is the joule. It is defined as the energy required to move an object with a force of 1 Newton up to a distance of 1 metre.

Types of natural energy

The energy of two types:

1. Renewable or natural energy sources – These sources are present in abundance on earth and can be replenished. For example, thermal, wind, tidal, solar, etc.

2. Non-renewable sources – These energy sources are exhaustible and cannot be replenished. For example, coal, petroleum, etc. They take millions of years for their formation and are made due to excess heat and pressure. They are made with fossil fuels that were deeply buried millions of years ago.

Natural or renewable energy sources

Energy is the capacity to do work. We need the energy to eat food, and we need the energy to break down the food. Also, the food we eat gives us energy. It means energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It only changes its form to another. As seen during the process of eating, the energy remains constant throughout the process.

We have abundant natural sources that provide us with energy. A few natural sources are solar, thermal, tidal waves, water, etc. We can produce energy from these natural sources. We had the sources of natural energy right from the very beginning, but we could not make use of it, not even with the most advanced technology. Let us study these natural sources.

Solar energy

Solar energy is the most abundant form of natural energy present on earth. The Sun is the main source of solar energy. It is a star and can produce its energy. Man has relied on solar energy for the past million years. However, early man used fire as a form of energy before solar energy was used abundantly.

On earth, solar energy comes through radiation. Thermal heat can be used for passive heating of water and buildings. Sun's energy is used for producing food and photosynthesis in plants. Photochemical reactions from the sun by plants and animals change colour, growth and forms. Solar energy is utilised on a massive scale with the help of solar panels.

People also use a solar water heater to heat the water with the help of solar energy. A solar pressure cooker is also used in rural areas to prepare food with the help of solar energy.

Wind energy

On the earth's surface, the unequal distribution of radiant heat produces variations in heat contents of air mass with corresponding variations in density. Due to the modification of the earth's inclination, rotation, uneven distribution of land and ocean masses, and different geographic abnormalities, these variations in density cause air movement. This movement of air is called wind. Wind-mills are used to produce energy with the help of wind energy.

Wind can be used in many passive ways, for example:

1. The ability to relocate heat from an object is termed cooling. Wind energy is very effective in cooling.

2. Fire can be easily controlled with the help of wind. Therefore, combustion of air can be achieved with the help of oxygen present in the wind. However, wind can also blow the fire but cannot blow fires occurring on a large scale.

Water energy

Three-fourth of the earth is covered with water. To sustain natural life on earth, we need the sun's force to maintain the natural cycle of evaporation and precipitation. Water energy, also known as hydro energy, is very effective in producing electricity. Large dams hold water so that potential energy present in water can produce electricity with the help of the flow of water. Large turbulence in various countries uses hydro energy to produce electricity. Electricity generation from water energy is very much less pollution-creating than other natural sources. As the by-product during the process is steam.

Tidal energy

The gravitational pull between the earth and the moon causes tides in oceans and seas. Because of these tides, turbines move so that electricity can be generated. In addition, turbines have the advantage to move in either direction with the flow of tides. This makes efficient usage of turbines without wasting much energy.

Thermal energy

The temperature of the earth from the inside is very high, up to 500 degrees Celsius. This is because the core of the earth is present in molten form. Due to this, the water inside the ground is released in springs and volcanic eruptions. This energy is known as thermal or geothermal energy. Turbines can be moved with the help of thermal energy to produce electricity. But since thermal energy requires huge power, this source of energy is not very reliable.

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