Natural resources
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Natural resources


Natural resources

Resources or natural resources are any form of matter or energy obtained from the physical environment that meet human needs. This definition of natural resources is not as simple as it appears. Most resources are created by human ingenuity. Oil was once a useless fluid until humans learned how to locate it, extract it from the ground, and separate it by distillation into various components such as gasoline, home heating oil, and road tar.

Similarly, coal and uranium were once useless rocks. Something may become useful or useless for human needs as a result of changes in the technology of resource extraction and processing

Whether something is classified as a resource depends on technology, economics, cultural beliefs, and the environmental effects of finding and using it.

Natural resources are often classified

Natural resources are often classified :

  • Renewableresources are generally living resources (fish, and forests, for example), which can restock (renew) themselves if they are notoverharvested.

  • Non-renewable resources is a natural resource that cannot be re-made or re-grown. Often fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum and natural gas are considered non-renewable resources.

Natural resources

The maximum rate at which a renewable resource can be used without impairing or damaging its ability to be renewed is called its maximum sustainedyield. If this yield is exceeded a potentially renewable resource is then converted to a nonrenewable resource.

Recyclinginvolves collecting and remelting or reprocessing a resource, whereas reuse involves using a resource over and over again in the same form.

Natural resources

On the basis of their stages of developments, resources can be classified into both Actual and Potential resources:

The resources pass through various stages of development before they are actually available. The resources held actually in stock are called Actual resources. Even the actual source of resources may not be possible to be used to their full. The portion that can be used profitably with the help of available technology is termed as Potential resourcs. The size and quantity of a potential resource may change with changes in technology and time.

Resources can also be classified on biotic and abiotic

Resources can also be classified on biotic and abiotic:

  • Biotic resources are derived from animals and plants (livingworld).

  • Abiotic resouces are derived from the non-living world e.g. land, water, and air. Mineral and power resources are also abiotic resources some are derived from nature.

Natural capital

Natural capital

  • Natural resources arenatural capital converted to commodity inputs to infrastructural capital processes. They include soil, timber, oil, minerals, and other goods taken more or less as they are from the Earth.

Nations status

Nations status

A nation's natural resources often determine its wealth and status in the world economic system, by determining its political influence. Developed nations are those which are less dependent on natural resources for wealth, due to their greater reliance on infrastructural capital.

For example, the United States used coal as an export in the early 1900s, and also as a main resource fuel in key industries for production. Eventually, as transportation costs went down with time, minerals used as resources became commodities and were traded at world prices.

Conflicts for resources

Conflicts for resources

In recent nears, the depletion of natural capital and attempts to move to sustainable development have been a major focus of development agencies. This is of particular concern in rainforest regions, which hold most of the Earth's natural biodiversity - irreplaceable genetic natural capital. Conservation of natural resources is the major focus of Natural Capitalism, environmentalism, the ecology movement, and Green Parties. Some view this depletion as a major source of social unrest and conflicts in developing nations.

Natural resources1



Sustainable forestry





List of natural gas fields

List of minerals

Petroleum politics


Mineral exploration



Soft energy path



Land (economics)


Causes of war

Pure water

Natural resources



  • An ecoregion, sometimes called a bioregion, is “a relatively large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities”.

  • Geostrategy is a subfield of geopolitics. As with all strategies, geostrategy is concerned with matching means to ends - in this case, a country's resources (whether they are limited or extensive) with its geopolitical objectives (which can be local, regional, or global).

  • Sustainable forestry is a forest management concept. The basic tenet of sustainable forestry is that the amount of goods and services yielded from a forest should be at a level the forest is capable of producing without degradation of the soil, watershed features or seed source for the future.

Natural resources

  • Minerals are natural compounds formed through geological processes. The term “mineral” encompasses not only the material's chemical composition, but also the mineral’s structure.

  • Petroleum politics have been an increasingly important aspect of international diplomacy since the discovery of oil in the Middle East in the early 1900s.

  • Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually (but not always) from an ore body, vein, or (coal) seam.

  • Mineral exploration is the process undertaken by companies, partnerships or corporations in the endeavour of finding commercially viable concentrations of ore to mine.

Natural resources

  • Refining is the process of purification of a substance. The term is usually used of a natural resource that is almost in a usable form, but which is more useful in its pure form.

  • Prospecting is the act of physically searching for minerals, fossils, precious metals or mineral specimens, and is essentially analagous to fossicking.

  • The soft energy path is an energy use and development strategy delineated and promoted by some energy experts and activists, such as Amory Lovins and Tom Bender; in Canada, David Suzuki has been a very prominent (if less specialized) proponent.

  • The natural environment comprises all living and non-living things that occur naturally on Earth. In its purest sense, it is thus an environment that is not the result of human activity or intervention.

Natural resources

  • A landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including physical elements such as landforms, living elements of flora and fauna, abstract elements such as lighting and weather conditions, and human elements, for instance human activity or the biult environment.

  • In economics, land comprises all naturally occurring resources whose supply is inherently fixed, such as geographical locations (excluding infrastructural improvements and perhaps natural capital, which can be degraded by human actions), mineraldeposits, and even geostationary orbit locations and portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Soil is the collection of natural bodies that form in earthy material on the land surface. The term is popularly applied to the material on the surface of the earth's moon and Mars, a usage acceptable within a portion of the scientific community.



Sometimes people have resources and they don’t use it or they think that they don’t have!

Sun s type energy and impact on earth

Sun´s type Energy and Impact on Earth

Solar power


Energy from the Sun — in the form of insolation from sunlight supports almost all life on Earth via photosynthesis, and drives the Earth's climate and weather.

Highest insolation areas

  • Solar power is the technology of obtaining usable energy from the light of the Sun. Solar energy has been used in many traditional technologies for centuries and has come into widespread use where other power supplies are absent, such as in remote locations and in space.

Natural resources


Natural resources


  • Solar energy is currently used in a number of applications:

    • Heating (hot water, building heat, cooking)

    • Electricity generation (photovoltaics, heat)

    • Desalination of seawater

Its application is spreading as the environmental costs and limited supply of other power sources such as fossil fuels are realized.

Natural resources


  • Basic Resource (Sun)

  • Clean Energy

  • Necessary to know quantity and quality of solar energy available to install devices

  • Solar Radiation ( Insolation ) is variable from place to place

  • Leads to different orientations of devices to intercept solar energy

    Check Serpa Portugy


Photovoltaic cells

Natural resources

An aerial photograph of 52,000 photovoltaic modules that began generating electricity at one of the world's largest solar power plants in Portugal earlier this year.

Credit: Business Wire

Natural resources


  • Solar Hot Water– Use sunlight to heat water

    • Used to heat domestic water or for space heating

    • Compose by solar solar thermal collectors and a storage tank

  • The three basic classifications of solar water heaters are:

    • Active systems which use pumps to circulate water or a heat transfer fluid

    • Passive systems which circulate water or a heat transfer fluid by natural circulation. These are also called thermosiphon systems

    • Batch systems using a tank directly heated by sunlight

Natural resources


Solar cooking


Solar Box Cooking–Traps the sun´s energy in a insulated box

  • used for cooking

  • used for Pasteurization

  • used for fruit canning

Solar cooking is helping many developing countries, both reducing the demands for local firewood and maintaining a cleaner environment for the cooks.

Natural resources


Solar Daylighting– Use natural daylight to provide illumination

  • offsets energy use in electric lighting systems

  • use of natural light also offers physiological and psychological benifits. Builiding orientation, exterior shading, sawtooth roofs, clerestory windows, light shelves, skylights and light tubes are among the many daylighting features. These features may be incorporated in existing structures but are most effective when integrated in a solar design package which accounts for factors such as glare, heat gain, heat loss and time-of-use

Natural resources


Insulation ( light )

Natural resources


Photovoltaics– devices or banks of devices that use the photovoltaic effect of semiconductors to generate electricity directly from sunlight

  • used in very low-power devices such as calculators with LCDs.

  • used in remote applications such as roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing, cathodic protection of pipe lines, and limited "off grid" home power applications. A third use has been in powering orbiting satellites and other spacecraft.

NOTE: Until recently, their use has been limited because of high manufacturing costs.

Natural resources


Photovoltaics panels cells in a yatch

Photovoltaics bank cells

Natural resources


Power Towers– Know as 'central tower' power plants or 'heliostat' power plants (power towers) use an array of flat, moveable mirrors (called heliostats) to focus the sun's rays upon a collector tower (the target). The high energy at this point of concentrated sunlight is transferred to a substance that can store the heat for later use.

  • Used to generate electricity

Natural resources


Natural resources


  • CONCENTRATING COLLECTOR WITH STIRLING ENGINE– Solar energy converted to heat in a concentrating (dish or trough parabolic) collector can be used to drive a Stirling engine*. The Stirling engine is a type of heat engine which uses a sealed working gas (i.e. a closed cycle) and does not require a water supply

    • Holds the record for converting solar energy into electricity (30 percent at 1,000 watts per square meter).

    • Produce little or no power in overcast conditions and incorporate a solar tracker to point the device directly at the sun.

*The Stirling engine is a type of heat engine which uses a sealed working gas (i.e. a closed cycle) and does not require a water supply.

Natural resources


Solar and diesel combinated powered yacht

Solar and diesel combinatedpoweredyacht

Natural resources


  • Solar activity has several effects on the Earth :

    • Because the Earth has a magnetic field, charged particles from the solar wind cannot impact the atmosphere directly, but are instead deflected by the magnetic field and aggregate to form the *Van Allen belts

    • The most energetic particles can 'leak out' of the belts and strike the Earth's upper atmosphere, causing auroras, known as aurorae borealisin the northern hemisphere and auroraeaustralis in the southern hemisphere

*The Van Allen belts consist of an inner belt composed primarily of protons and an outer belt composed mostly of electrons. Radiation within the Van Allen belts can occasionally damage satellites passing through them.

Impact on earth


Indirect solar power involves multiple transformations of sunlight which result in a useable form of energy:

  • Vegetation uses photosynthesis to convert solar energy to chemical energy incorporated in biomass. Biomass may be burned directly to produce heat and electricity or processed into methane (natural gas), hydrogen and other biofuels

  • Hydroelectric dams and wind turbines are powered by solar energy through its interaction with the Earth's atmosphere and the resulting weather phenomena

  • Ocean thermal energy production uses the thermal gradients present across ocean depths to generate power. These temperature differences are because of the energy of the sun

  • Fossil fuels are ultimately derived from solar energy captured by vegetation in the geological past

  • Sunlight is collected using focusing mirrors and transmitted via optical fibers into a building's interior to supplement lighting

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages :

  • The 122 PW* of sunlight reaching the earth's surface is plentiful compared to the 13 TW** average power consumed by humans.

  • Solar power is pollution free during use. Production end wastes and emissions are manageable using existing pollution controls.

  • Facilities can operate with little maintenance or intervention after initial setup.

  • Solar electric generation is economically competitive where grid connection or fuel transport is difficult, costly or impossible. Examples include satellites, island communities, remote locations and ocean vessels.

* Petawatt(1015) ** Terawatt(1012)

Advantages and disadvantages1

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages :

  • When grid connected, solar electric generation can displace the highest cost electricity during times of peak demand (in most climatic regions), can reduce grid loading, and can eliminate the need for local battery power for use in times of darkness and high local demand.

  • Grid connected solar electricity can be used locally thus minimizing transmission/distribution losses (approximately 7.2%).

  • Once the initial capital cost of building a solar power plant has been spent, operating costs are low when compared to existing power technologies.

Advantages and disadvantages2

Advantages and Disadvantages

Disadvantages :

  • Limited power density: Average daily insolation in the E.U. is 3-7 kWh/m2 usable by 7-17.7% efficient solar panels.

  • Intermittency: It is not available at night and is reduced when there is cloud cover, decreasing the reliability of peak output performance or requiring a means of energy storage. For power grids to stay functional at all times, the addition of substantial amounts of solar generated electricity would require the expansion of energy storage facilities, other renewable energy sources, or the use of backup conventional powerplants

  • Locations at high latitudes or with substantial cloud cover offer reduced potential for solar power use

  • Like electricity from nuclear or fossil fuel plants, it can only realistically be used to power transport vehicles by converting light energy into another form of energy (e.g. battery stored electricity or by electrolysing water to produce hydrogen) suitable for transport.

  • Solar cells produce DC which must be converted to AC when used in currently existing distribution grids. This incurs an energy penalty of 4-12%

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