Top 4 Non Renewable Energy Sources

Non-Renewable Sources of Energy such as natural gas, oil, coal, or nuclear are finite but still hold the majority of the Energy market.

Non Renewable Energy Sources #1


Coal is the most abundant conventional source of energy which could last for at least 200 years. Coal is an important mineral in India. It occurs as a sedimentary rock in association with carbonaceous shale, sandstone, and fine clay. Coal was formed by the decomposition of large land plants and trees buried under the Earth about 300 million years ago. Sediments began to get deposited over the pile of trees and plants. The resultant heat and pressure resulted in a physical and chemical change leading to the formation of coal.

Depending upon the amount of carbon and moisture content coal can be divided into four main types. These are

  • Highest and hardest quality coal.
  • Burn slowly without smoke
  • High heating value and leaves very little smoke
  • First stage of transformation of wood into coal.
  • It is inferior to other three varieties of coal.
  • Known as Brown coal.
  • It is a lower grade coal.
  • It has about 40% of carbon and has less combustible matter.
  • Highest and hardest quality coal.
  • Burn slowly without smoke
  • High heating value and leaves very little smoke

Advantages of using Coal

  • It is an important source of power for running machines, trains, ships and dynamos.
  • Coal is used in the manufacturing iron and steel.
  • It is a source of direct heat for domestic purposes, burning of bricks, tiles and in iron and brass factories.
  • When coal is burnt in a closed chamber, a variety of chemicals such as ammonia and benzol are obtained as by-products.

Disadvantages of Using Coal

  • The calorific value of coal found in India is low.
  • Coal reserves in India are scattered and limited.
  • Cost of production and transportation of coal is very high.
  • Burning of coal results in large scale pollution.

There are two main coalfields in India. Gondwana coalfields and tertiary coalfields. Gondwana coalfields account for 98% of the total reserves of coal in India. The coalfield is largely confined to the river valleys like Damodar, Mahanadi, and Godavari. The Gondwana coalfields are found in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

Coal found in the tertiary coalfield has high moisture content. They are found in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland. The Neyveli lignite field in Tamil Nadu is the largest lignite deposit in South India.

Non Renewable Energy Sources #2


Petroleum is an important mineral resource. It is known as ‘liquid gold’ because not even the tiniest part of crude petroleum goes waste or remains unused. Petroleum is found in underground reservoirs in sedimentary rock formations like sandstone, shale, and limestone. Petrol, diesel. Kerosene, tar, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, lubricants, and paraffin wax are some products that are obtained during the refining process. Coal is also an important Conventional Source of Energy.

Advantages of Petroleum

  • It has a high density. One kg of oil can generate 10,000 kcal of energy.
  • It is liquid in form and can be transported through pipes or vehicles.
  • It is used as fuel. Its by-products that are used a fuel include diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, and LPG.
  • Petroleum after refining is used for the production of various petrochemical products such as synthetic rubber, synthetic fiber, PVC phenol, gasoline, varnishes, lubricating oil, and paraffin wax.
  • It is also used for power generation.

Disadvantages of Petroleum

  • It is a non-renewable source of energy. Hence, its availability is limited. Because of ever-increasing demands, petroleum resources are fast depleting.
  • Extracting and burning petroleum generates greenhouse gases that contribute to environmental pollution and global warming.
  • Because of its limited supply and high demand, the cost is high.
  • It is highly inflammable and can cause a fire.
  • The spilling of oil in water not only pollutes the oceans but also leads to the death of a number of marine animals.

Oil Refineries

Crude oil is refined and processed in refineries to produce light distilleries like gasoline, LPG, and naphtha; middle distilleries like diesel and kerosene and heavy products such as bitumen, petroleum, and coke. The Reliance Petroleum Limited at Jamnagar in Gujarat was the first refinery in the private sector. Most of the refineries are located near the oilfield or near the coast to minimize the cost of transport.


  • Mumbai High is an offshore oil field located 176 km off Mumbai shore in the Arabian Sea. Mumbai High is called so because of the height of the syncline of the rock structure in which the oil has been struck.
  • It is the most productive oil field and has a reserve of 5 crore tonnes of oil.
  • Digboi oil field in upper Assam is the biggest oilfield in India.
  • In Gujarat, Cambay Basin is an important oil-bearing site. The other important oil-bearing sites in the state are Kalol, Koyali, Kosamba, Sanand, Anklaeshwar, and Navgaon.

Non Renewable Energy Sources #3


Natural gas occurs in association with mineral oil. It is a fossil fuel. It is found along with the deposits of oil because it has been formed by decomposing remains of dead animals and plants buried under the earth.

Advantages of Natural Gas

  • It is an environment-friendly fuel as it is made up of methane which results in less carbon emission.
  • It is easier to preserve the fuel as it can be stored and transported through pipelines, cylinders, or tankers on land and sea.
  • It is a cheaper fuel than diesel or gasoline.
  • It is used for producing hydrogen, ammonia for fertilizers, paints, and plastics.

Disadvantages of Natural Gas

  • Leaks in natural gas are extremely dangerous. Such leaks may result in explosions and fire. The leakage of natural gas can have serious consequences as methane is more dangerous than carbon dioxide.
  • It is a fossil fuel and hence is a non-renewable source of energy.
  • The infrastructure requiring the setting up of the production process and distribution of gas is very expensive.
  • Natural gas when used as a fuel in vehicles provides less mileage than gasoline.


More than three-fourths of India’s natural gas comes from Mumbai High, the rest is produced in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Tripura.

Non Renewable Energy Sources #4


The electricity that is generated from water is known as hydel power or hydroelectricity. It is generated when water stored in a dam falls from a great height on a turbine whose blades then move with a great force. This, in turn, rotates the generator and produces electricity. The hydropower projects are multipurpose projects because they are used for irrigation, water supply for domestic and industrial consumption and to control floods.

Advantages of Hydel Power

  • It is a clean, non-polluting source of energy. It does not release any toxic gases. Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
  • It is a renewable source of energy that can be repeatedly used.
  • The dams built to produce hydroelectricity help in saving and restoring water.
  • It is economic and sustainable. The cost of electricity generation is cheaper than the electricity produced from fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Disadvantages of Hydel Power

  • The initial cost for building dams for generating hydroelectricity is extremely high.
  • Building large dams result in the destruction and submergence of forests on a large scale.
  • The building of huge dams may trigger earthquakes in an area.
  • Dam building may displace people from their villages. They may also lose their source of livelihood.

Also, Read Non-Conventional Sources of Energy