Renewable resource

Renewable resource

Overview

A renewable resource is a natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

 with the ability of being replaced through biological or other natural processes and replenished with the passage of time. Renewable resources are part of our natural environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 and form our eco-system.

In 1962, within a report to the committee on natural resources which was forwarded to the President of the United States, Paul Weiss defined Renewable Resources as: "The total range of living organisms providing man with food, fibers, drugs, etc...".

Renewable resources are endangered by industrial developments and growth.
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A renewable resource is a natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

 with the ability of being replaced through biological or other natural processes and replenished with the passage of time. Renewable resources are part of our natural environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 and form our eco-system.

In 1962, within a report to the committee on natural resources which was forwarded to the President of the United States, Paul Weiss defined Renewable Resources as: "The total range of living organisms providing man with food, fibers, drugs, etc...".

Renewable resources are endangered by industrial developments and growth. They must be carefully managed to avoid exceeding the natural world's capacity to replenish them. A life cycle assessment
Life cycle assessment
A life-cycle assessment is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from-cradle-to-grave A life-cycle assessment (LCA, also known as life-cycle analysis, ecobalance, and cradle-to-grave analysis) is a technique to assess environmental impacts...

 provides a systematic means of evaluating renewability. This is a matter of sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 in the natural environment.

Solar radiation, tides, winds
WINDS
WINDS , is a Japanese communication satellite. Launch was originally scheduled for 2007. The launch date was eventually set for 15 February 2008, however a problem detected in a second stage manoeuvring thruster delayed it to 23 February...

, geothermal
Geothermal
Geothermal is related to energy and may refer to:* The geothermal gradient and associated heat flows from within the Earth- Renewable technology :...

, biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 and other natural elements are renewable resources of energy now called renewable energies.

Gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, diesel and other commodities derived from fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s, as well as minerals like copper and others, are non-renewable resources
Non-renewable resource
A non-renewable resource is a natural resource which cannot be produced, grown, generated, or used on a scale which can sustain its consumption rate, once depleted there is no more available for future needs. Also considered non-renewable are resources that are consumed much faster than nature...

 without a sustainable yield
Sustainable yield
The sustainable yield of natural capital is the ecological yield that can be extracted without reducing the base of capital itself, i.e. the surplus required to maintain ecosystem services at the same or increasing level over time. This yield usually varies over time with the needs of the...

.

Renewable energy



Solar energy is the energy derived directly from the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

, and is the most abundant source of energy on Earth. The fastest growing type of alternative energy
Alternative energy
Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels....

, increasing at 50 percent a year, is the photovoltaic cell, which converts sunlight directly into electricity. The Sun yearly delivers more than 10,000 times the energy that humans currently use.

Wind power
Wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships....

 is derived from uneven heating of the Earth's surface from the Sun and the warm core. Most modern wind power is generated in the form of electricity by converting the rotation of turbine blade
Wind turbine design
Wind turbine design is the process of defining the form and specifications of a wind turbine to extract energy from the wind. A wind turbine installation consists of the necessary systems needed to capture the wind's energy, point the turbine into the wind, convert mechanical rotation into...

s into electrical currents by means of an electrical generator. In windmill
Windmill
A windmill is a machine which converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades. Originally windmills were developed for milling grain for food production. In the course of history the windmill was adapted to many other industrial uses. An important...

s (a much older technology) wind energy is used to turn mechanical machinery to do physical work, like crushing grain or pumping water.

Hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

 is energy derived from the movement of water in rivers and oceans (or other energy differentials), and can likewise be used to generate electricity using turbines, or can be used mechanically to do useful work. It is a very common resource. Hydropower appeared centuries ago with the first use of a power turbine to produce electricity.

Geothermal power
Geothermal power
Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth's geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet and from radioactive decay of minerals...

 comes the Greek words, "geo" meaning Earth and "thermal" meaning heat. Geothermal directly harnesses the natural flow of heat from the ground. The available energy from natural decay of radioactive elements
Radioactive decay
Radioactive decay is the process by which an atomic nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting ionizing particles . The emission is spontaneous, in that the atom decays without any physical interaction with another particle from outside the atom...

 in the Earth's crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

 and mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

 is approximately equal to that of incoming solar energy. The first geothermal power station was built at Landrello, Italy. Other countries that have geothermal power stations are Japan, Iceland, the Philippines and the United States. In Iceland, geothermal energy is used for electricity and heat.
Alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 derived from corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, sugar cane, switchgrass
Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum, commonly known as switchgrass, is a perennial warm season bunchgrass native to North America, where it occurs naturally from 55°N latitude in Canada southwards into the United States and Mexico...

, etc. is also a renewable source of energy. Similarly, oils
Vegetable fats and oils
Vegetable fats and oils are lipid materials derived from plants. Physically, oils are liquid at room temperature, and fats are solid. Chemically, both fats and oils are composed of triglycerides, as contrasted with waxes which lack glycerin in their structure...

 from plants and seeds can be used as a substitute for non-renewable diesel. Methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 is also considered as a renewable source of energy.

Renewable resources such as solar energy, wind, hydropower, and geothermal energy have many benefits. These resources can reduce carbon dioxide emission, water consumption, and waste. Clean air is vital on this planet because it can reduce human health problems such as asthma (children are at a higher risk) and lung disease. Renewable resources can also lead to environment sustainability because these resources will not be depleted and stimulate the economy by creating more job opportunities.

Agricultural products


Techniques in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 which allow for minimal or controlled environmental damage qualify as sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment...

, and it is also known as sustainable farming. Products (food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

s, chemicals, biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

s, etc.) from this type of agriculture may be considered "sustainable" when process
Industrial process
Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacture of an item or items, usually carried out on a very large scale. Industrial processes are the key components of heavy industry....

ing, logistics
Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

, etc. also have sustainable characteristics.

Biomass


Biomass comes from renewable organic materials such as residues from agriculture,
like crops, animal waste and even human waste and industrial sectors of wood manufacture and food industries.
Biomass is available everywhere, making its supply unlimited.It helps to sustain climate change, increase energy efficiency, and decrease greenhouse gas emission.

Water



Water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 can be considered a renewable material (also non-renewable) when carefully controlled usage, treatment, and release are followed.
If not, it would become a non-renewable resource at that location. For example, groundwater
Groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 is usually removed from an aquifer
Aquifer
An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology...

 at a rate much greater than its very slow natural recharge, and so groundwater is considered non-renewable. Removal of water from the pore spaces may cause permanent compaction (subsidence
Subsidence
Subsidence is the motion of a surface as it shifts downward relative to a datum such as sea-level. The opposite of subsidence is uplift, which results in an increase in elevation...

) that cannot be renewed.

See also


  • Conservation movement
    Conservation movement
    The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

  • Ecology
    Ecology
    Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

  • Environmentalism
    Environmentalism
    Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

  • Environmental protection
    Environmental protection
    Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the environment, on individual, organizational or governmental level, for the benefit of the natural environment and humans. Due to the pressures of population and our technology the biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently...

  • Global warming
    Global warming
    Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

  • Habitat conservation
    Habitat conservation
    Habitat conservation is a land management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore, habitat areas for wild plants and animals, especially conservation reliant species, and prevent their extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range...

  • Natural capital
    Natural capital
    Natural capital is the extension of the economic notion of capital to goods and services relating to the natural environment. Natural capital is thus the stock of natural ecosystems that yields a flow of valuable ecosystem goods or services into the future...

  • Natural resource
    Natural resource
    Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

  • Recycling
    Recycling
    Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

  • Resource
    Resource
    A resource is a source or supply from which benefit is produced, typically of limited availability.Resource may also refer to:* Resource , substances or objects required by a biological organism for normal maintenance, growth, and reproduction...

  • Seed tree
  • Stewardship
    Stewardship
    Stewardship is an ethic that embodies responsible planning and management of resources. The concept of stewardship has been applied in diverse realms, including with respect to environment, economics, health, property, information, and religion, and is linked to the concept of sustainability...

  • Sustainable development
    Sustainable development
    Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

  • Scarcity
    Scarcity
    Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having humans who have unlimited wants and needs in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfill all human wants and needs. Alternatively, scarcity implies that not all of society's goals can be...

  • Zero carbon city
    Zero carbon city
    A zero-carbon city is a settlement powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.To become a zero carbon city, an established modern city must collectively reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to zero and all practices that emit greenhouse gases must cease...


Further reading

  • Sawin, Janet. "Charting a New Energy Future." State of the World 2003. By Lester R. Brown. Boston: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated, 2003.
  • Krzeminska, Joanna, Are Support Schemes for Renewable Energies Compatible with Competition Objectives? An Assessment of National and Community Rules, Yearbook of European Environmental Law (Oxford University Press), Volume VII, Nov. 2007, p. 125