What are inexhaustible resources?
We explain what inexhaustible resources are and various examples. In addition, differences with renewable and non-renewable resources.
What are inexhaustible resources?
The inexhaustible resources are those natural resources whose amount is such that human exploitation activities cannot deplete them , since they are overwhelmingly abundant (which is why they are also known as superabundant resources) or have creation rhythms far superior to those of consumption.
The inexhaustible natural resources are punctual, however, and are generally linked to the fundamental chemistry of the universe , or to physical phenomena that perpetuate over time, regardless of their use or not by human industries . In this way, it is possible to consume them without fear of being finished or degraded.
Obviously, when we classify a resource as inexhaustible, we do so considering the human perspective. In that way, the Sun’s energy is virtually inexhaustible to us today, although we know that within billions of years, the Sun will culminate its life cycle and emit much less energy , a completely natural process for any star.
Examples of inexhaustible resources
Some examples of inexhaustible natural resources are:
- The solar power . As we said before, in human times the energy of the Sun is infinite. Thus, every day the Sun bombards our planet with heat and various types of electromagnetic radiation, which the human being is just beginning to take advantage of industrially, through the use of solar panels and other mechanisms of transformation of light energy into electricity .
- The tidal power and wave power . These are two ways of obtaining electrical energy from the movements of the nature of the sea : the tides and the waves. In both cases the force of the liquid is used to mobilize turbines, without at all hindering the normal cycle of the oceans , which is repeated and repeated to infinity.
- Hydrogen . One of humanity’s energy hopes lies in nuclear fusion, a chemical process in which two atomic nuclei of hydrogen fuse to form denser atoms , releasing immense amounts of energy in the process. This process is already underway in the fearsome H-bombs or hydrogen bombs, but has not yet been tamed for peaceful use. The hopes are placed on it since hydrogen is the most abundant material in the universe and easier to obtain within the known chemical elements .
Inexhaustible resources and renewable resources
The inexhaustible resources should not be confused with renewable resources. The former are basically unlimited, completely oblivious to human industries.
On the contrary, renewable resources suffer the impact of their industrial use. However , as long as our employment criteria are rational, their quantities or quality are renewed at such a rate that they are not at real risk of exhaustion .
For example, biomass ( plant organic matter ) can be used to obtain biofuel through sowing and harvesting cycles that are sustainable, but provided that their consumption is within parameters. If we do it in an excessive way, it will not be enough time for sowing and harvesting to replenish biofuel stocks.
Non-renewable natural resources are those that cannot be replenished at a rate comparable to that of their consumption , that is, they run the constant risk of running out or degrading and cease to be useful to humans. This, in addition, usually implies an enormous environmental cost , since its extraction and exploitation brings with it profound changes in nature .
A clear example of this type of resources is fossil fuels , forged underground for billions of years, the result of mass extinction dynamics that left buried organic matter, subjected to intense chemical processes that turned it into oil , coal or hydrocarbon gas.