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definitions - Renewable resource

renewable resource (n.)

1.any natural resource (as wood or solar energy) that can be replenished naturally with the passage of time

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renewable resource (n.)

renewable resource (nf.)

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Renewable resource

  The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in Iceland is an example of renewable energy.
Renewable energy
Wind turbine

Solar energy
Tidal power
Wave power
Wind power

A renewable resource is a natural resource with the ability to reproduce through biological or natural processes and replenished with the passage of time. Renewable resources are part of our natural environment 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...".[1]

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 provides a systematic means of evaluating renewability. This is a matter of sustainability in the natural environment.

Solar radiation, tides, winds, geothermal, biomass and other natural elements are renewable resources of energy now called renewable energies.

Gasoline, coal, natural gas, diesel and other commodities derived from fossil fuels, as well as minerals like copper and others, are non-renewable resources without a sustainable yield.


  Renewable energy

  A wind farm in Spain.

In terms of abundance, Solar energy is the most easily available source of renewable-energy. The solar rays emitted by the sun are a non-quantifiable and available for use both directly and indirectly.The ideal tool to convert the intangible solar energy into a usable energy is the photovoltaic cell.Concentrated solar power (CSP), is another effective way to convert sunlight into electricity, this technique focuses on taking the sun’s rays and placing it into a liquid that heats up and produces steam that spins an electricity producing turbine. This process uses reflective dishes that direct the sun’s rays to get the maximum energy.[2] The Sun yearly delivers more than 10,000 times the energy that humans currently use.[3] This energy if harnessed can be used for a number of other more simplistic uses. A number of activities that are part of the daily lives of almost everyone’s life can be altered to take advantage of the abundantly available solar energy. Of these, the most simplistic use would have to be solar cooking. Solar-cookers according to a research done in Costa Rica can play a crucial part in curbing deforestation as well as excess carbon emissions. Another innovative tool that takes advantage of the available solar energy are the solar heaters. Again, instead of relying on carbon-emitting non-renewable sources of energy, the solar heaters effectively and efficiently manage to use solar energy to heat up water for domestic as well as commercial uses. Such simple yet innovative techniques play an important part in the daily lives of those individuals that are deprived of the conventional sources of energies such as electricity.

Wind power 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 blades into electrical currents by means of an electrical generator. In windmills (a much older technology) wind energy is used to turn mechanical machinery to do physical work, like crushing grain or pumping water.Dependent upon natural flow of winds, the intensity as well as the changes in direction tend to affect it’s efficiency. Ranked second to hydropower in terms of installed capacity, it has made a significant impact on energy generation in fast growing developing countries. However, it requires a vast area where wind can flow effortlessly and without much disturbances in its way. This hence makes it less practical for such vast spaces are not as abundantly available in an ever-evolving industrialized world them as it was before. Hence, its best usage has to be in combination with other sources of energy. The worldwide potential for wind energy is estimated to be 26000 TWh/yr of which only 9000TW/h is being utilized.

Hydropower 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, taking credit of 19% of global electricity production. The whole concept of Hydroelectricity takes advantage of the ability to convert energy from one form to another. The potential energy of water is either naturally or artificially converted into kinetic energy via movement of its atoms. These atoms then transfer their kinetic energy onto a turbine that harnesses the energy to move. This harnessed energy is than transmitted to a generator that than converts it into electrical energy.

Geothermal power comes from 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 in the Earth's crust and mantle is approximately equal to that of incoming solar energy.This hence marks as a potentially viable source that can bring forward a respectable flow of energy supplies.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. [4]

Alcohol derived from corn, sugar cane, switchgrass, etc. is also a renewable source of energy. Similarly, oils from plants and seeds can be used as a substitute for non-renewable diesel. Methane 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. [5]

  Renewable materials

  Agricultural products

Techniques in agriculture which allow for minimal or controlled environmental damage qualify as sustainable agriculture, and it is also known as sustainable farming. Products (foods, chemicals, biofuels, etc.) from this type of agriculture may be considered "sustainable" when processing, logistics, etc. also have sustainable characteristics.


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.[6]


Water can be considered a renewable material when carefully controlled usage, treatment, and release are followed. If not, it would become a non-renewable resource at that location. For example, groundwater is usually removed from an aquifer 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) that cannot be renewed.

  See also


  1. ^ "Renewable Ressources, a report to the committee on natural resources"; by Paul Weiss chairman of renewable ressources study, 1962, National Academy of Science, National Research Council, Washington D.C., USA.
  2. ^ "Buchan, David. The Rough Guide to the Energy Crisis. London: Rough Guides, 2010. Print.
  3. ^ Sawin, Janet. "Charting a New Energy Future." State of the World 2003. By Lester R. Brown. Boston: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated, 2003.
  4. ^ Energy Resources: Geothermal power
  5. ^ Benefits of Renewable Energy Use | Union of Concerned Scientists
  6. ^ NREL: Learning - Biomass Energy Basics


  • Panwar, N. L., Kaushik, S. C., & Kothari, S. (2011, April). Role of renewable energy sources in environmental protection: A review. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15(3), 1513-1524. Retrieved April 7, 2012, from ScienceDirect.
  • Masters, G. M. (2004). Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems. Hoboken, NJ:John Wiley & Sons.
  • 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


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