A Snapshot: Inexhaustible resources can be defined as resources that exist in unlimited supply and are impossible to exhaust, even with humans exploitation. Examples of such resources are solar, wind, geothermal, water, soil, air, ocean waves, and tides.
Nature has blessed mankind with a lot of resources; natural resources. The exploitation of those resources boosts the growth of our economy.
Unfortunately, some of those natural resources come in limited supply and can be exhausted. But there are those resources that are quite unlikely to be exhausted, and they are called inexhaustible resources.
For clearer understanding of inexhaustible resources, first, take a look at what the words ‘resources’ and ‘inexhaustible’ mean.
Definition of ‘Resources’ and ‘Inexhaustible’
The sources from which value or benefit is derived is called resources. They can be materials, services, assets, knowledge, and so on. Examples are labour, land, transportation, water, finance, technology, and so on.
Some resources are natural, while others are artificial. No human input is needed for natural resources to exist. That is, they don’t exist as a result of mankind’s actions. Examples are coal, fossils, limestone, water, solar energy, biofuel and so much more.
Some of the natural resources can be exhausted while others are considered inexhaustible.
What is the meaning of Inexhaustible? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, ‘inexhaustible’ simply means “Something incapable of being used up” or “Something incapable of being wearied or worn out”
Key Points: Resources are sources from which value or benefit is derived. Examples of resources are labour, land, transportation, water, finance, coal, air, etc. Inexhaustible means something that can’t be used up or exhausted.
Definition of Inexhaustible Resources
Inexhaustible resources are resources that are considered to exist in unlimited supply and are impossible to exhaust, even with mankind’s activities on them. In other words, inexhaustible resources are very unlikely to ever run out or get finished under any condition of usage. Examples are solar, wind, water, geothermal, etc.
The inexhaustible resources and also called renewable resources. But, not all renewable resources are inexhaustible. You will see an explanation of that at the end of this post.
Now, take a look at examples of inexhaustible resources and why they are termed to be inexhaustible.
Key Points: Inexhaustible resources are resources that cannot be exhausted or depleted, even with much exploitation from mankind.
Examples of Inexhaustible Resources
- Solar: The sun generates solar energy. The sun produces it every day without a stop and does not show any sign of exhaustion. It is one of the natural resources that has been in use since time immemorial, and yet still looks far underused. No matter how we exploit solar energy, it can’t be exhausted. Until the sun ceases to exist, solar energy will always be generated.
- Wind: When there is a difference in atmospheric pressure, it results in the movement of air from the high-pressure area to the lower area, and in turn leads to the wind. Basically, the wind is the huge voluminous movement of air. From every theoretical indication, we can’t exhaust or finish the air.
- Water: This is a basic necessity for all living things. It is said to occupy around 70 percent of the earth’s surface and can be found in rivers, oceans, seas, and so on. And it is not exhaustible because the amount does not change. As it is used, it is, in many ways, recycled back for reuse.
- Geothermal energy: This energy comes from the heat that is generated from the earth’s core. This energy will only cease to exist if there is no earth.
- Ocean wave and tides: Ocean is a body of water that produces waves and tides. Tides are a result of the movement of the earth and gravity of the moon while waves are a result of wind moving across the ocean. They are not in much use as other resources and cannot be exhausted.
- Atmosphere: This is layers of gases that surround planets. The earth’s atmosphere keeps potentially damaging rays from the sun from entering the earth. There is no indication that it can be exhausted but its quality can be reduced.
Solar is the ultimate inexhaustible resource because it is a function of most inexhaustible energy resources like wind, water, geothermal, etc. So, as long as the sun exists, other inexhaustible energy resources will keep existing.
The quantity and quality of these inexhaustible resources vary across the earth’s surface. And they have so many uses.
Key Points: Examples of inexhaustible resources are solar, wind, geothermal, water, ocean waves and tides, and atmosphere.
Uses of Inexhaustible Resources
- Generating electric power: Wind, water and solar energy can all be used to generate electricity. Solar energy can be converted to electricity by the use of solar panels; wind, through wind turbines, can also generate electricity; and, water can be used in hydroelectric power stations to generate electricity. The water in oceans is also what makes tides and waves possible. And from those waves and tides, electricity can also be generated.
- Transportation: Solar energy is now being used to power trains and other vehicles. It involves the use of solar panels and batteries, without the need for gas or fuel. And they are called solar-powered cars, trains and so on. Also, water is used as a means of transportation through the use of boats, ships, and canoes.
- Agricultural purpose: Freshwater and solar energy are very important in the growth of plants and animals. They are some of the major requirements for photosynthesis. And, it is this photosynthesis that leads to the release of oxygen that is needed by humans.
- Domestic purpose: In as much as over 70% of the earth’s surface is said to be occupied by water, less than 1% is freshwater. Humans can use freshwater for domestic purposes. Some of the domestic uses of freshwater are bathing, washing clothes, cooking, and much more. However, its availability varies across the earth’s surface.
- Water pumping: Wind turbines can be used directly for pumping water for domestic or agricultural use. Also, solar energy, through the use of solar panels, can be used to pump water.
Key Points: Inexhaustible resources can be used for electricity generation, transportation, domestic and agricultural purposes.
Differences Between Inexhaustible Resources and Renewable Resources
Inexhaustible resources can never be exhausted or depleted under any condition of usage while some renewable resources can be exhausted but easily replenished.
That is, renewable resources can be exhausted if it is used more than it is supplied while inexhaustible resources will continuously supply even with continuous use.
For example, solar and wind are inexhaustible resources while wood is just renewable.
So, all inexhaustible resources can be termed renewable but not all renewable resources can be termed inexhaustible.
Key Points: Some renewable resources can be exhausted but replenished while all inexhaustible resources cannot be exhausted under any circumstance.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, not all renewable resources are inexhaustible. For example, wood is renewable but not inexhaustible.
Hydroelectric power is both renewable and inexhaustible. Hydropower utilises the energy of water to produce electricity.
And water can’t be exhausted and is also renewable.
Note: Water is considered renewable because it isn’t non-renewable. The amount of water on earth remains the same. So, it actually doesn’t replenish itself.
Yes, it is inexhaustible. Geothermal energy is gotten from heat generated from the cores of the earth. The cores constantly produce this heat. So far the earth’s core exists, geothermal energy can’t be exhausted.
Coal is not inexhaustible. Coal is a resource that is limited and will eventually get exhausted.
Yes, air is an inexhaustible resource. It contains various gases and particles that can’t be exhausted.