There’s different forms of primary energy sources, and also secondary energy sources.
In this guide, we explain what each one is, and give examples of each.
Summary – Primary and Secondary Energy Sources
Primary energy sources are sources of energy found in a raw form in nature
Primary energy often has to be converted or transformed into more usable secondary sources of energy
There’s several examples of both primary energy sources and secondary energy sources, and we list them in the guide below
We also give examples of which primary energy sources are converted into which secondary energy sources in the guide below
What Are Primary Energy Sources?
Primary energy sources are usually natural resources or raw materials found in nature
They may also sometimes be refined resources
They usually undergo some type of energy conversion process or energy transformation process before they become usable energy
Conversion of energy happen via extracting, processing, refining, and combusting, amongst other stages of an energy conversion process
What Are Secondary Energy Sources?
Secondary energy sources usually come from primary energy sources
This happens via energy conversion or energy transformation, or via the energy being stored
Secondary energy is essentially a good that has been changed from it’s original state to another state for ease of consumption, convenience, or to be a more usable form of energy than a primary energy source
Some reports refer to secondary energy sources as ‘energy carriers’, as they help move useable energy from one place to another
Coal undergoes an energy conversion process (at coal power plants) into a secondary energy source in the form of electricity
The two most well-known [secondary energy sources and] energy carriers are electricity and hydrogen (userwikis.fu-berlin.de)
Examples Of Primary Energy Sources
Examples of primary energy sources might include:
– Raw oil
– Natural gas
– Sun (which can be used in solar PV)
– Streaming (or moving) water (which can be used in hydropower in the case of rivers, or ocean based energy in the case of waves or tides)
– Uranium (used in nuclear fuel)
– The Earth’s heat (which can be used in geothermal energy)
Examples Of Secondary Energy Sources
– Gasoline (also called petrol)
Comes from the primary product of crude oil
Is used in motor transport
Primary energy sources are converted into electricity
There’s a whole range of primary energy sources that can be used to make electricity
Electricity is carried through power lines and other transmission infrastructure, and is used in homes, at businesses, and so on
Comes mainly from fossil fuels
But can also be made from renewable energy sources
Examples Of Converting Primary Energy Sources Into Secondary Energy Sources
Crude oil must be put through an oil refinery before it turns into secondary fuel (useable fuel) like gasoline, diesel or kerosene.
Coal is usually put into a coal-fired power plant to generate electricity
Wind must be harnessed by a wind turbine before it can generate electricity
eniscuola.net mentions that petrol, and also electric energy are examples of secondary energy sources:
[An example of a secondary energy source is] petrol, that derives from the treatment of crude oil and electric energy, obtained from the conversion of mechanical energy (hydroelectric plants, Aeolian plants), chemical plants (thermoelectric), or nuclear (nuclear plants).
Electric energy [is a secondary energy source that] is produced by electric plants, i.e. suitable installations that can transform primary energy (non-transformed) into electric energy.
In the case of geothermal and solar thermal, heat is the primary energy which is converted into geothermal or solar electricity
What About Bioenergy?
Bioenergy comes from biomass
Biomass might be the primary energy, which is converted into bioenergy or biofuel
hub.globalccsinstitute.com goes into more detail about bioenergy
More Information On Primary & Secondary Energy Sources
wikipedia.org provides some good examples of primary energy sources, energy breakdown processes, and secondary energy sources.
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