Determining the meaning of non-renewable energy is our purpose. But for this it is essential that we previously determine the etymological origin of the words that make up that term:
• Energy. It comes from the Latin “energy”, which in turn comes from the Greek word “energeia”. The latter was made up of three parts: the prefix “in”; the noun “ergon”, which is equal to “work”; and the suffix “-eia”, which was used to express a quality.
• Renewable. It also emanates from Latin as shown by the fact that it is the result of the sum of three Latin components: the prefix “re-”, which is synonymous with “reiteration”; the word “novum”, which can be translated as “new”; and the suffix “-able”, which is equivalent to “can”.
Energy is the ability to transform or set something in motion. The concept is often used in reference to a natural resource with the associated elements that allow an industrial use of it.
Renewable, for its part, refers to that which can be renewed (that is, it can be returned to its first state or reset). Applied to energy, this notion is linked to the possibility of renovation or restoration through a natural process.
The non-renewable energy, therefore, is the type of energy that is obtained from a limited natural resource, so once it is depleted, it cannot be replaced. As there is no viable production or extraction system, when the reserves of the resources that allow the generation of non-renewable energy are exhausted, it will cease to exist.
Non-renewable energies come from fossil fuels or nuclear fuels. In the first group we can find the Petroleum, the Coal and the natural gas. These fuels are easy to extract, but their reserves can be depleted in the short or medium term. Once there are no more oil reserves, for example, humans will not be in a position to create new ones.
In addition, it must be emphasized that fossil fuels have other equally important advantages, such as, for example, that they are cheap or that they have a long availability over time. However, they have the great disadvantage that they expel polluting gases that are harmful both to the atmosphere itself and to humans.
Between the nuclear fuels, meanwhile, elements such as the plutonium or the uranium. These are limited fuels and therefore non-renewable.
In the case of nuclear fuels, we could highlight the main advantages that they produce abundant energy and that they do not emit gases that can create what is known as the greenhouse effect. However, they also have their disadvantages or disadvantages, such as that, in the event of an accident, they can cause a serious environmental or personal catastrophe and that they are harmful for centuries. Specifically, a good example of this is the Chernobyl (1986) or Fukushima (2011) catastrophes.
The renewable energyInstead, they come from sources that are virtually inexhaustible thanks to their ability to regenerate naturally or to the large amount of energy available to them. The wind power It is an example of renewable energy, since the wind is inexhaustible.