Sources of Energy

Conventional Sources of Energy

‘Always surround yourself with positive energy’. You must have heard this phrase quite a lot; what is this energy we’re talking about? Do things have energy in them? And are these things conventional sources of energy? But, before that what are conventional sources of energy? How do we obtain this energy? Since all living beings use energy for various vital activities inside as well as outside their body. So, let us study about various conventional sources of energy below.

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What is Energy?

Energy is one of the most important components of economic infrastructure. In a developing economy, the energy demand is high from sectors like agriculture, industry, residential and economical. Energy resources are very much necessary for the existence of mankind.

Classification of Energy Sources

Energy sources can be divided into two types based on how quickly can they be replenished:

  • Conventional sources of Energy
  • Non-conventional sources of Energy

What is a conventional source of energy?

When we cannot reuse a source of energy after using it once we call them “conventional sources of energy” or “non-renewable energy resources”. They are the most important conventional sources of energy. These include coal, petroleum, natural gas and nuclear energy. Oil is the most widely used source of energy.  Coal, petroleum and natural gas account for about 90% of world’s production of commercial energy and hydroelectric and nuclear power account for about 10%.

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Types of Conventional Sources of Energy:


Coal is the most abundant conventional source of energy which could last for at least 200 years. It is a black-brown sedimentary rock. Formation of coal occurs when the remains of plants convert into lignite and then into anthracite. This involves a long process that takes place over a long period of time. Coal helps for various proposes such as heating of the house, as fuel for boilers and steam engines and for generation of electricity by thermal plants. It constitutes about 70% of total commercial energy consumption in the country.


Out of all the conventional sources of energy, oil is used abundantly all over. Considering, oil is one of the most important conventional sources of energy in India, the resources for same are even smaller. The extraction of oil from deposits is known as oil resources.

Petroleum and Natural Gas

Petroleum is the mixture of hydrocarbons like alkanes and cycloalkanes. In crude form black liquid is known as petroleum and the formation of a natural gas occurs when the gas comes in contact with petroleum layer. Natural gas is a mixture of 50-90% of Methane, Ethane, Propane, Butane, and Hydrogen sulphide.  After refining and purifying crude petroleum, it is available as petrol, diesel, lubricating oil, plastic etc. Natural gas is also making a significant contribution to the household sector. It causes less air pollution as compared to other fossil fuel.

Fuel Woods

Rural people use the fuelwood for their day to day cooking which comes from natural forests and plantations. The availability of fuelwood has become difficult due to rapid deforestation. We can avoid this problem by planting more trees on degraded forest land, culturable wasteland, barren land grazing land.

Thermal Power Plant

Power stations burn a large number of fossil fuels to heat up water, to produce steam, which further runs the turbine to generate electricity. Transmission of electricity is more efficient than, transporting coal or petroleum over the same distance. It is called as the thermal plant because fuel is burnt to produce heat energy which is converted into electrical energy.

Nuclear energy

A small amount of radioactive substance can produce a lot of energy through the nuclear substances all over the world. In order to obtain nuclear energy, nuclear reactions are essential and there are about 300 nuclear reactions. Nuclear energy is one of the most environmentally friendly conventional sources of energy as it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions during the production of electricity in comparison to sources like coal power plants. Although in case of accidents, this same nuclear energy releases in high amount in the environment. Also, the nuclear waste that remains is radioactive and hazardous.

Learn more about 5 Different types of Non-Conventional Sources of Energy here.


  • The human race widely uses these conventional sources of energy and therefore the magnitude of usage is so high that the resources are depleting at an even faster rate.
  • At present, many countries are overly dependent on fossil fuels to meet their requirement for power.
  • The deposits of petroleum in our country are quickly exhausting and if it continues, there will be soon complete exhaustion of all the conventional sources of energy.

You can download Sources of Energy Cheat Sheet by clicking on the download button below
Sources of Energy

Solved Example for You

Q. Choose the source of energy which is different from others.

a. Wood

b. Falling Water

c. Wind

d. Petroleum

Sol: d. Petroleum

From the given options, wood, water, and wind are the renewable or conventional sources of energy, whereas petroleum is a limited and non-renewable source of energy.

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Why should we give more emphasis on the uses of non conventional energy sources than conventional sources? Discuss

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