Conventional and Non-Conventional Sources of Energy



We all know that electrical energy is required for running a fan but where does the electrical energy come from? We all know that we need chemical energy for cooking food but where does the chemical energy come from? But one point is very clear that we need energy for doing any kind of work whether doing any physical work we need muscular energy or for launching a rocket we need chemical energy. So we need to understand the energy, its usage, usability and sources. So in this tutorial we will study about all these.

Sources of Energy

The sources of energy are broadly classified into as following:

  • Conventional Sources of Energy

  • Non-conventional Sources of Energy

Conventional Sources of Energy

From the name itself, it is clear that these sources of energy were used from times for human welfare and development. So from the years we have used non-renewable sources of energy, so the conventional and non-renewable source of energy is the same apart from the hydro-electric power. It is available in limited amounts on earth.

Examples of conventional sources of energy are - Coal, Petroleum, etc.

For example, we are left with almost 100 years of Coal. So one of the challenges with conventional sources of energy is that we have to use them in such a manner that it will be used today also and will be reserved for the future generation too.

Let us discuss few conventional source of energy.

  • Coal: Coal is also called as black gold. It has a very high percentage of carbon in it which is readily combustible. Based on the percentage of carbon content, it is categorized in four varieties. Peat, Lignite, Bituminous and Anthracite are those four varieties and out of these the Anthracite has the largest percentage of carbon and the Peat has least. Coal is the source of energy which is used mostly in the electric power generation all over the world. They are mostly used in thermal power plants which produce electricity. And almost 75% of electricity generation in India is done by Coal and in the world it is 40%. India has 107,727 million tons of coal reserves as for the 2016 data, and ranks 5th in the world and holds 9% of total coal reserves in the world. In India most of the deposits of coal are found in Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

  • Petroleum: Petroleum is also a fossil fuel and it has many by-products like Petrol, Diesel, Wax, Kerosene, LPG etc. Petroleum products are used for many purposes like transportation, running of machinery in industries, Cooking gas, candles etc. It is obtained by drilling the earth surface. Till 2021, India has 587.335 million tonnes of petroleum reserves which is mainly available in Assam and western offshore.

Now these conventional sources of energy are further classified as commercial and non-commercial sources of energy. So, commercial sources of energy are those which are not freely available, the consumers have to pay money to purchase them.

For example - Coal, Petroleum etc. Non-commercial sources of energy are those which are freely available around us like cow-dung, firewood etc.

One of the major cons of conventional sources of energy is that it also causes a lot of pollution whether it is air, water, or noise pollution.

Non-conventional Sources of Energy

These sources of energy are not very familiar and started using in recent years. These sources of energy are renewable sources of energy. They are available in unlimited amounts on earth.

Examples of non-conventional sources of energy are - Solar energy, Wind energy, Geo-thermal energy, Tidal energy etc.

As we have studied that non-conventional sources of energy are available in unlimited amounts on earth but we are still developing technologies to utilize them properly and efficiently.

For example, the electricity production from solar energy in India is very low as compared to thermal power. But yes, we are increasing this percentage very fast and the target of India is to maximize the usage of non-conventional sources of energy. The reasons are that they are available in unlimited amounts, they can be reused, they are causing no pollution or negligible pollution.

Let us discuss a few non-conventional sources of energy one by one.

  • Solar energy: This is one of the major non-conventional sources of energy. It is obtained from the sun directly which is used to produce electricity. Solar energy is converted into useful electric energy with the help of photovoltaic cells. These photovoltaic cells are made up ofbsemiconductor materials. India is one of the leading nations in the world to promote solar power. Apart from producing electrical energy, solar energy is used for Solar cookers, Solar water heaters and many more.

  • Wind energy: We have seen many wind turbines near the coastal area specially in states like Gujarat. This is because the wind speed is very high near the coastal area which is used to rotate the blades of wind turbines. The wind turbine is used to convert the mechanical energy of the blades into electrical energy.

  • Geothermal energy: It is the form of energy in which heat energy is obtained from within the Earth and that energy is used to produce electricity, cooking, hot sour etc.

  • Tidal energy: Tides of the sea and ocean can be used to produce electrical energy but till now the scientists are doing research on this to make the device which can do this in a more efficient way and which is cost effective too.


As we have studied that some sources of energy are available in limited amounts on Earth, it means that after a few years they will extinguish from our earth and it is not possible to recreate them. This is because it takes millions of years to create them. But these sources of energy are very much in use in our modern world, so they are almost on the verge of extinction. We need to be careful and try our best to conserve these sources.


Q1. What is a conventional source of energy?

Ans - Conventional sources of energy are those which have been used for years and are non-renewable in nature. Examples of Conventional sources of energy are - Coal, Petroleum etc.

Q2. What is a non-conventional source of energy?

Ans - Non-conventional sources of energy are those which are in unlimited quantities. This type of energy is very new to obtain useful energy from this.

Q3. Give some examples of non-conventional sources of energy.

Ans - Examples of non-conventional sources of energy are -

  • Solar energy
  • Wind energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Biomass energy
  • Geothermal energy

Q4. Photovoltaic cells are made up of which type of material?

Ans - Photovoltaic cells are made up of semiconductors. It is used in making solar panels which convert solar energy into electrical energy.

Q5. Why are wind turbines located in coastal areas?

Ans - It is because faster wind speeds in the coastal area and the wind speed remains stable, so this will help in producing the electricity in a reliable manner.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47