Non-renewable resources come from materials which cannot be recreated quickly once they have been used.

There are two types of non-renewable resources: fossil fuels and uranium.

Non Renewable

Fossil fuels form over many thousands of years from the breaking down of living matter deep beneath the earth’s surface.

The matter breaks down into water, oil and gas. In many cases they are found captured under a solid layer which stops the fossil fuels from reaching the earth’s surface.

Mining companies break through the solid later to reach those fuels.

Uranium is an ore normally found in hard rocks such as granite or sandstone. It is the fuel most commonly used to generate nuclear power.

How it works

Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas contain a lot of energy. When burned inside a power station, their energy is transformed into heat to warm up water. The hot water is then turned into steam where it travels under high pressure, through pipes to spin a turbine, generating electricity.

Advantages to using fossil fuels include: coal

  • A big supply of coal, oil and gas in Australia meaning it is a cheaper source of fuel.

  • Very large amounts of electricity can be generated from fossil fuels.

Disadvantages of using fossil fuels include: diesel

  • The looming knowledge that it will run out one day.

  • The release of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels add to global warming and climate change.

  • Fossil fuels are difficult and expensive to transport globally.