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Renewable vs. Non-renewable energy


Renewable vs. Non-renewable energy Prepered by A. Gritsevskyi, International Atomic Energy Agency Global energy balance and flows without anthropogenic interference. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Renewable vs. Non-renewable energy

Renewable vs. Non-renewable energy
  • Prepered by A. Gritsevskyi,
  • International Atomic Energy Agency

Do we have any problem?
  • In most cases
  • there is no problem for energy statistics to
    identify is that specific energy form belongs to
    renewable or non-renewable not necessarily true
    for other domain (geology, environment,
  • Problems start when we talk about energy
    technology or dealing with some grey areas
  • Lack of clear definition and partial disagreement
    on interpretation terms

What is in Series F Manuals? 29E, 44 and 56E
  • No real definition
  • Defined by listing

Fuel split in 29E
Extra note in 56E
  • Fuelwood should be considered as renewable
    only if rate of planting it faster or equal to
    rate at which it is cut
  • Should something like that applied for large
    scale of hydropower as currently there is
    tendency not to name such technology as strictly

Multiple ways to give a definition
  • Postulating - listing what it is and what it is
  • Giving criteria and checking if particular source
    of energy meets it
  • Combination of both

Example 1
  • Energy obtained from sources that are essentially
    inexhaustible (unlike, for example the fossil
    fuels, of which there is a finite supply).
    Renewable sources of energy include wood, waste,
    geothermal, wind, photovoltaic and solar thermal
  • NOT OK as all energy sources we know within
    defined system (Earth) are finite and fusion
    power, technically non-renewable, could be
    considered practically inexhaustible

Example 2
  • energy generated from resources that are
    unlimited, rapidly replenished or naturally
    renewable such as wind, water, sun, wave and
    refuse, and not from the combustion of fossil
  • Better, but rapidly is rather subjective term,
  • so what about peat? (see attached paper)?

Example 3 and 4
  • energy flows which occur naturally and repeatedly
    in the environment, such as wind and solar
  • new and renewable energy sources are energy
    sources including solar energy, geothermal
    energy, wind power, hydropower, ocean energy
    (thermal gradient, wave power and tidal power),
    biomass, draught animal power, fuelwood, peat,
    oil shale and tar sands, UN Glossary of
    Environment Statistics F-67E

From Renewable Energy in Europe
  • Renewable Energy Sources All natural energy
    flows that are inexhaustible (i.e., renewable)
    from an anthropogenic point of view solar
    radiation hydropower wind geothermal wave,
    and tidal energy and biomass

From Renewable Energy in the United States
  • Renewable Energy Resources that are naturally
    replenishing but flow limited. They are virtually
    inexhaustible in duration but limited in the
    amount of energy that is available per unit of

Grey areas
  • Municipal Waste or any waste from potentially
    unsustainable use of biomass and/or unclear mixed
    use of fossil fuel and renewable
  • Origin of the problem derived fuel with
    potentially multiple sources
  • No clear solution provided in the available
    literature treated differently from
    case-to-case and region-by-region
  • Should be addressed jointly with environmental
    statistics experts

Age of different types of fuelwithin parentheses
is maximum age
Source Hans Joosten Renewability revisited on
folly and swindle in peat energy politics
Energy flux(flow) and energy storefrom M.
Hoexter's What is Renewable Energy Anyway?
  • Energy flux
  • Energy store

  • Non-renewable energy sources are energy stores
    with zero or a minute rate of replenishment
    relative to its depletion by human beings. Most
    non-renewable energy sources are converted to
    usable energy by thermal or nuclear reactions.
    Non-renewable energy sources have stored the
    natural energy flux of Earths biological and
    geological past or of the formation of elements
    in the early history of the Universe

  • Renewable energy sources are types of natural
    energy flux useful for human ends regularly
    occurring on or near Earths surface and,
    additionally, useful natural energy stores that
    are replenished by natural flux within the time
    frame of conceivable human use. All known
    renewable energy sources originate in, or are
    close derivatives of, electromagnetic radiation
    of our Sun, the Earths and Moons gravitational
    fields and heat radiating from earths interior.
    Renewable energy sources are practically
    inexhaustible though some sources such as
    geothermal and ocean thermal energy conversion
    may become locally depleted by human use at a
    rate that exceeds replenishment by natural flux.

Global energy balance and flows without
anthropogenic interference
Source Energy Primer, Climate Change 1995.
Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate
Change Scientific Analyses, IPCC
Three questions to the London Group
  • Do you agree
  • that the definition of renewable/non-renewable
    should focus on renewability only and should be
    independent of the purpose behind otherwise it
    will be never accepted generally
  • that any fuel or energy form should be strictly
    defined as renewable/non renewable without any
  • that the timeframe of conceivable human use and
    close derivatives of electromagnetic radiation of
    our sun has to be defined exactly
  • and the final consequence
  • Renewable technologies than are not necessarily
    environmentally sound, sustainable or safe

Thank you for your attention