CONCEPTS

What are renewable resources?

We explain what renewable resources are and various examples. In addition, differences with inexhaustible and non-renewable resources.

What are renewable resources?

Renewable resources are those natural resources that normally restore their stocks at a rate equal to or greater than that consumed by human beings . That is, they are those who, as the name implies, renew themselves, making them profitable almost without the risk that they will end in the long term.

Renewal is possible if its consumption is responsible, within the recoverable margins for its natural regeneration processes, since they are not unlimited resources. In addition, the responsible consumption of these renewable resources poses a much lower risk to the environment than the consumption of non-renewable resources , such as fossil fuels .

Renewable resources can consist of forms of energy or matter , which the human being is able to use to produce goods or services that make his life more pleasant.

Examples of renewable resources

renewable resources drinking water
Drinking water is renewable only if we protect it from contamination.

Some examples of renewable energy are:

  • Wind power . As a result of the unequal heating of the earth’s crust , winds travel it with greater or lesser intensity, being useful to generate electricity through wind turbines, which are large windmills connected to electric generators. This type of energy currently provides 5% of the world’s energy, with amuch smaller environmental impact than other forms of fuel.
  • Biofuels . Unlike fossil fuels (coal and oil ), biofuels are renewable to the extent that they are produced from the decomposition ofplant organic matter , which can be harvested for these purposes.
  • Geothermal energy . This is called the use of heat from our planet , which at a shallow depth is already noticeable and capable of boiling water to mobilize electric generators. This is how geothermal power plants work, using a renewable resource, given that the terrestrial heat emanates from its burning core in the remote depths, and the effect on matter of its own density and gravity .
  • Potable water . Our planet is composed of two thirds of water ( oceans , rivers, lakes, ice and atmospheric steam), part of a water cycle that keeps it flowing and renewing itself. However, only a percentage of it is potable, that is, it is safe for human consumption. That is why, in principle, it is a renewable resource; the water on the planet could never be depleted, but it could become practically intomable if we contaminate it at a faster rate than it manages to purify itself.

Non-renewable resources

Non-renewable resources are, as the name implies, those who are not able to renew themselves naturally , or who do so at a slow pace that would never compensate for the speed of their consumption by mankind.

These natural resources tend to disappear , to deplete, and therefore must be managed with a criterion of scarcity, even if they are momentarily abundant. Examples of such resources are oil, mineral coal and natural gas.

Inexhaustible resources

inexhaustible renewable resources solar energy
Solar energy is an inexhaustible resource on which we depend on living beings.

The inexhaustible resources are those that are present in nature in margins of abundance such that it is practically impossible to deplete them . That is why they are also known as superabundant resources.

Examples of this type of resources are hydrogen, earth, seas or solar energy.

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