# Homework Help: Is thermal energy a renewable or non-renewable energy?

1. Aug 12, 2014

### max1020

im not talking about geothermal energy because my teacher gave us topics and mine is thermal energy and i did some research but i still don't get it if its renewable or nonrenewable because i got mixed answers when i researched about it.
and are there any advantages for this energy?
getting heat from the sun and electricity being produced by thermal energy but other than that i have no other idea for advantages! can someone please help me

2. Aug 12, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

I don't think it fits in either category.

"Using X to do Y" can have advantages or disadvantages (compared to using Z for the same goal), but then you first have to find a way to use X for Y. This will also determine if the process is renewable.

3. Aug 12, 2014

### max1020

so can i say its both depending on its cirumstance say why?
is thermal energy efficient? i googled this question but i kept on getting thermal energy efficiency which is different from what im asking. can you please help me? my project is due tomorrow!

4. Aug 12, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

Is an apple efficient?
Efficient in what, compared to what?
Then you clearly started too late.

5. Aug 12, 2014

### max1020

oops i meant as is it an efficent energy? i thinks it effiecent for an energy but im not sure if im right

6. Aug 12, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

As already said, the question is very ambiguous. So the best approach IMO is to give examples of "thermal energy" situations where some are renewable and some are not.

So what are some examples of where thermal energy is used to produce electricity, and the source of that thermal energy *is not* renewable? I can think of several right away.

And what are some examples of where thermal energy is used to produce electricity, and the source of that thermal energy *is* renewable? Same thing, it's easy to think of several examples.

I think if you write your answer in that way, you should get good credit. You will have covered the correct answer either way, and you will have addressed the fact that the problem as presented to you was ambiguous.

Write up your answer(s), and post them here. We can critique them for you.

7. Aug 12, 2014

### max1020

renewable- solar thermal energy,unlimited
non-renewable= heat from electric stoves, heater, flames these thermal energies cannot be replenished and are limited resources
examples of how it produces energy is through solar thermal, and heating up water that is later turned into electricty.
i think that thermal energy is an efficient energy because it produces a lot of energy through different ways since it is produced by heat

8. Aug 12, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

That's closer, but needs more details and some corrections.

Solar energy could be considered renewable IMO, especially since all other renewable energy sources get their energy from the sun in some way. What other renewable energy sources can you think of (think about how the sun gives them some form of energy)?

And whether heat produced from flames is renewable or not depends on how the flames were produced. Can you think of a way to make flames that depends on a renewable energy source?

In terms of efficiency of using thermal energy to make electricity, do some reading about the "Carnot Cycle", and compare making electricity with boiling water versus with a hydroelectric dam...

9. Aug 13, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

berkeman posted a good reply. A small addition: check how nuclear power plants work.