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Energy Resouces.

Major energy resources include Coal, Natural Gas, Oil, Wood, Nuclear, Solar, Hydrogen, wind and Tidal power etc. Since the beginning of industrialization in the 17th century, the use of these energy resources has been increasing year by year. Coal which is the traditional resource of energy has slowly given way to the latest resources such as, oil, gas and nuclear fuel. in 2000, percentage share of coal was 21 % but oil led with a percentage of 39. Similarly, natural gas has a share of 15 percent. Out of these resources, coal, petroleum and natural gas are non-renewable. According to recent surveys,petroleum and gas reserves will last for 100 years and coal for 300 to 400 years.

Nuclear energy is another modern source of energy which is gaining currency in many countries rapidly. but poor nations cannot afford it because cost of establishing nuclear plants is very high. Moreover, permanent risk of atomic radiation is involved.

 

(1). Fossil Fuel Energy:

(1). Coal:

Coal is an important source of energy which is mined and consumed in large quantity annually throughout the world.

Types of Coal: Coal is a black or brownish-black rock. It is used for running steam ships, railway engines and factories. It is an important source for dyes, Coaltar, typewriter ribbons, printing powder/ink and synthetic quinine etc. There are four main types of coal viz. Peat, Lignite, Bituminous and Anthracite are the main types of coal.

  1. Peat: Peat is a semi-decomposed vegetative matter in which ash content is very low. it burns well in dry form but fives low heat. it is used as a fuel in Ireland and Finland.
  2. Lignite: It is a brown coal which has 30-55 percent carbon, 34 percent oxygen and 6 percent hydrogen contents. Lignite is used as fuel for electric power generation. On the whole, it crumbles easily and has low heating value.
  3. Bituminous: This coal is black in colour and has carbon contents form 60 to 80 percent. Thus it has high heating value. It is used as fuel in steam electric power generation and power source in factories.
  4. Anthracite: It is black in colour and very high in carbon percentage (91%). Mining of this coal is very difficult because it is found in folder structure. Anthracite is excellent for use as domestic fuel.

Occurrence of Coal in the world:

China is the largest producer of coal in the world. In 2006, its production amounted to 4,218 million tons which was 38 percent of the world production. Chinese coal mines are located in the areas of Yanzhou, Xuzhou (Juangsu), Huolinhe (inner Mongolia), Kaluan (Hegel),Daton (Shansiui), Pingdingshan (Hena).

USA is the second biggest producer of coal in the world. In 2006, it produced 1,053 million tons of coal which formed 17% of the total production of the world. Main coal producing regions of the USA are the Rocky Mountains, Appalachians, East Interior and The West Interior.

In 2006, India produced 447 million tons of coal. Main coal mines of India are located in the Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pardesh, Bengal, Karnataka, Karanpura, Jharia, Ranigan, Bakaro.

Countries Percentage of Production
China 38.4
USA 17.0
India 7.2
Australia 6
Russia 5
South Africa 4
Germany 3.2
Indonesia 3.0
Poland 2.5

(b). Natural Gas:

Natural Gas is also a great source of energy in the world. It is extensively used in petrochemical industries, for heating purposed at domestic and industrial level. Major producers of natural gas include USA, Russian Federation, Canada, UK, Algeria and Indonesia. In 2018, the United States was the world’s largest natural gas producer in the world, producing 863 billion cubic meters. Russia was the second largest natural gas producer, with its 2018 production amounting to nearly 725.5 billion cubic meters. The total volume of natural gas produced worldwide amounted to 3.87 trillion cubic meters in 2018. Although the United States is the world’s largest natural gas producer, it is the fourth largest exporter of natural gas. Accordingly, domestic consumption of natural gas accounts for a large share of U.S. natural gas end use.

Consumption of Natural Gas: Demand of natural gas has grown rapidly over the past few decades. The non-producing or less producing countries purchased the gas for their growing needs. As a result, currently about one-third of the total gas is being marketed through international trade. Canada, Russia, U>K, Norway, Algeria and Netherlands are earning foreign exchange by exporting gas through pipelines. Major consumers of gas include United States of America and Russian Federation. In USA, gas is extracted from 2,88,000 wells and distributed by 1,200 companies in 50 States. Russian Federation is the second largest consumer of natural gas in the world. Russian firm, Gazprom controls about 95% natural gas production in the country. Moreover, European Union countries also import large quantities of gas from Russia and Algeria through pipelines.

(c). Petroleum:

Petroleum is a major source of energy which has forty percent share in energy in the world. Major petroleum producing countries include USA, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Mexico, Venezuela, Norway, UAE, Nigeria and Canada. Oil generates revenue for countries with enough oil reserves to produce more than their domestic consumption. And for those economies that are heavily dependent on imports, oil expenditures must be factored into national budgets. Not surprisingly, events like unrest in oil-producing regions, new oil field discoveries, and advances in extraction technology profoundly affect the oil industry. According to recent data collected by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total oil production averaged more than 80 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018. The top five oil-producing nations are responsible for nearly half of the world’s production of crude oil, lease condensate, unfinished oils, refined products obtained from the processing of crude oil, and natural gas plant liquids.

World’s top five oil generating countries are:

USA: The United States is the top oil-producing country in the world, with an average of 17.87 million b/d, which accounts for 18% of the world’s production. This is up from the 15.6 million b/d in 2017. The U.S. has held the top spot for the past six years. 

The U.S. overtook Russia in 2012 for the No. 2 spot and surpassed former leader Saudi Arabia in 2013 to become the world’s top oil producer. Much of the increased U.S. production is attributable to fracking in the shale formations in Texas and North Dakota. The U.S. has been a net exporter of oil (i.e., exports exceed imports) since early 2011.

Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributes 12.42 million b/d, representing 12% of the world’s total production. Saudi Arabia is the only member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to make this list. 

According to The World Factbook, the petroleum sector accounts for roughly 42% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), 87% of its budget revenues and 90% of export earnings.1 Saudi Arabia’s major oil fields include Ghawar, Safaniya, Khurais, Manifa, Shaybah, Qatif, Khursaniyah, Zuluf, and Abqaiq.2

Global oil production is expected to go from 80 million b/d in 2018 to 107 million b/d in 2050, per the EIA. 

Russia: While Russia has fallen in the ranks, it remains one of the world’s top oil producers, with an average of 11.4 million b/d in 2018, accounting for 11% of total world production. 

Russia’s main regions of oil production are Western Siberia, Volga-Ural, Krasnoyarsk, Sakhalin, Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk, Irkutsk, and Yakutiya. Most of the production originates from the Priobskoye and Samotlor fields in Western Siberia.3 

The oil industry in Russia was privatized after the fall of the Soviet Union, but after a few years, the companies were reverted to state control. Some of Russia’s most prominent oil production companies are Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz, Gazprom Neft, and Tatneft.

Canada: Canada holds the fifth spot among the world’s leading oil producers, with an average production of 5.27 million b/d in 2018, accounting for 5% of global production. According to the EIA International Energy Outlook 2019, Canada’s production could double by 2050, rising 126%, topping growth from any of the other non-OPEC countries. This increase is expected to come primarily from oil sands production, one of the costliest ways to extract crude. However, technological advancements are bringing down costs significantly. 4

Canada’s main sources of oil production are the oil sands of Alberta, the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, and Atlantic offshore fields.

China: China produced an average of 4.82 million b/d of oil in 2018, which accounts for 5% of the world’s production. China is a net importer of oil, as the country consumed an average of 12.79 million b/d last year. 

The northeast and north-central region of the country are responsible for the majority of domestic production. Mature fields like Daqing have been exploited since the 1960s, but general mature field production has peaked, and companies are increasingly investing in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, such as polymer and stream flooding and water injection, to offset some of the production declines.

(d). Biomass Energy:

Biomass energy is produced from organic material and is commonly used throughout the world. Chlorophyll present in plants captures the sun’s energy by converting carbon dioxide from the air and water from the ground into carbohydrates through the process of photosynthesis. When the plants are burned, the water and carbon dioxide are again released back into the atmosphere. 

Biomass generally includes crops, plants, trees, yard clippings, wood chips and animal wastes. Biomass energy is used for heating and cooking in homes and as a fuel in industrial production.

However, the collection of fuel involved drudgery. This type of energy produces a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the absence of sufficient ventilation, while cooking indoor, fuels such as dung cause air pollution, which is a serious health hazard. Moreover, unsustainable and inefficient use of biomass leads to the destruction of vegetation and hence degradation of the environment.

(2). Nuclear Power:

Nuclear Energy is another type of modern day energy. Nuclear energy is a non-renewable and non-fossil fuel energy. Nuclear power remains a great subject of debate as to how safe it is to use, and whether or not it is really energy efficient when you take into account the waste it produces – the fact is it remains one of the major renewable sources of energy available to the world. 

The energy is created through a specific nuclear reaction, which is then collected and used to power generators. While almost every country has nuclear generators, there are moratoriums on their use or construction as scientists try to resolve safety and disposal issues for waste.

 

Nuclear energy is produced from uranium, a non-renewable energy source whose atoms are split (through a process called nuclear fission) to create heat and, eventually, electricity. Scientists think uranium was created billions of years ago when stars formed. Uranium is found throughout the earth’s crust, but most of it is too difficult or too expensive to mine and process into fuel for nuclear power plants.

In future, nuclear power will make use of fast neutron reactors by not only utilizing about 60 times the amount of energy from uranium but also unlocking the potential use of thorium, which is a more abundant element, as a fuel. Now some 1.5 million tonnes of depleted uranium seen as little more than a waste becomes a fuel resource. 

In effect, as they operate, they will ‘renew’ their own fuel resource. The possible outcome is that the resource of fuel available for fast neutron reactors is so abundant that significant depletion of the fuel source is almost impossible under practical terms.

 

(3). Renewable Energy Source:

A renewable energy source is any natural resource that can replace it quickly and dependably. These energy sources are plentiful, sustainable, naturally replenished and good to the environment.

The major types or sources of renewable energy are:

  • Solar energy from the sun
  • Wind energy
  • Geothermal energy from the heat inside the earth
  • Hydropower from flowing water
  • Ocean energy in the form of wave, tidal, current energy and ocean thermal energy.

(a). Solar Energy:

The primary source of energy is the sun. Solar power harvests the energy of the sun by using collector panels to create conditions that can then be turned into a kind of power. Large solar panel fields are often used in the desert to gather enough power to charge small substations, and many homes use solar systems to provide for hot water, cooling and supplement their electricity. 

The issue with solar is that while there is plentiful amounts of sunlight available, only certain geographical ranges of the world get enough of the direct power of the sun for long enough to generate usable power from this source.

Its availability is also dependent on the change in seasons and weather when they may not always be used. It requires high initial investments for productive use as solar electricity storage technology has not reached its optimum potential yet.

(b). Wind Energy;

Wind power is becoming more and more common. The new innovations that are allowing wind farms to appear are making them a more common sight. By using large turbines to take available wind as the power to turn, the turbine can then turn a generator to produce electricity. 

It requires high investment, and wind speed is also not uniform every time, which affects the generation of power. While this seemed like an ideal solution to many, the reality of the wind farms is starting to reveal an unforeseen ecological impact that may not make it an ideal choice.

(c). Geothermal Energy:

Geothermal energy is the energy that is produced from beneath the earth. It is clean, sustainable and environmentally friendly. High temperatures are produced continuously inside the earth’s crust by the slow delay of radioactive particles. Hot rocks present below the earth heats up the water that produces steam. The steam is then captured, which helps to move turbines. The rotating turbines then power the generators.

Geothermal energy can be used by a residential unit or on a large scale by an industrial application. It was used during ancient times for bathing and space heating. Geothermal plants typically have low emissions if they pump the steam and water they use back into the reservoir. 

The biggest disadvantage of geothermal energy is that it can only be produced at selected sites throughout the world. The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located at The Geysers, a geothermal field in California, United States.

Another disadvantage is, where there are no underground reservoirs, creating geothermal plants may increase the risk of an earthquake in areas already considered geological hot spots.

(d). Hydrogen Energy:

Hydrogen is available with water (H2O) and is the most common element available on earth. Water contains two-thirds of hydrogen and can be found in combination with other elements.

Once it is separated, it can be used as a fuel for generating electricity. Hydrogen is a tremendous source of energy and can be used as a source of fuel to power ships, vehicles, homes, industries and rockets. It is completely renewable, can be produced on demand and does not leave any toxic emissions in the atmosphere.

(e). Tidal Energy:

Tidal energy uses the rise and fall of tides to convert the kinetic energy of incoming and outgoing tides into electrical energy. The generation of energy through tidal power is most prevalent in coastal areas. Tidal energy is one of the renewable sources of energy and produces large energy even when the tides are at low speed.

When there is an increased height of water levels in the ocean, tides are produced, which rush back and forth in the ocean. In order to capture sufficient power from the tidal energy potential, the altitude of high tide needs to be at least five meters (around 16 feet) greater than low tide.

Huge investment and limited availability of sites are a few of the drawbacks of tidal energy. The high civil construction and high power purchase tariff make the capital cost for tidal energy power plants very high.

 

(f). Wave Energy:

Wave energy is produced from the waves that are produced in the oceans. As the ocean is ruled by the moon’s gravity, it makes harnessing its power an attractive option. Different techniques for transforming wave energy to electric power have been studied with dam-like structures or ocean floor–anchored devices on or just below the water’s surface.

Wave energy is renewable, environment friendly and causes no harm to the atmosphere. It can be harnessed along coastal regions of many countries and can help a country to reduce its dependence on foreign countries for fuel.

Producing wave energy can damage the marine ecosystem and can also be a source of disturbance to private and commercial vessels. It is highly dependent on wavelength and can also be a source of visual and noise pollution. This energy is also less intensive as compared to what is available in more northern and southern latitudes.

(g). Hydroelectric Energy:

What many people are not aware of is that most of the cities and towns in the world rely on hydropower, and have for the past century. Every time you see a major dam, it is providing hydropower to an electrical station somewhere. The power of the water is used to turn generators to produce the electricity that is then used. It is non-polluting, entails no waste or produces toxic gases, and environment friendly.

The problems faced with hydropower right now have to do with the aging of the dams. Many of them need major restoration work to remain functional and safe, and that costs enormous sums of money. The drain on the world’s drinkable water supply is also causing issues as townships may wind up needing to consume the water that provides them power too.

 

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