November 28, 2020 9:08 am


creating an open and constructive environment to support the economic, social and environmental structural transformation of Africa's mineral sector


Energy Minerals (Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources)

Non-Renewable Energy Minerals

Non-Renewable Energy Minerals include: oil, gas, bituminous sandstone and limestone, oil shale, coal, lignite, peat, thorium, uranium. These are also finite minerals and also subject to becoming stranded due to climate change and transition to greener technology and economics.


When value added the following are key products that can be derived from Oil: Gasoline, Diesel Fuel, Motor Oil, Solvents and Bearing Grease. When value added, petroleum products from oil include transportation fuels, fuel oils for heating and electricity generation, asphalt and road oil, and feedstocks for making the chemicals, plastics, and synthetic materials that are in nearly everything we use. Almost 6,000 products are made from petroleum. Some of the most common ones are presented in the Table at the end of this Page.

Africa must add value to her energy minerals to optimize value from these minerals. MADI is strategically positioned to advise and support African countries to maximize benefit from these resources through value addition before they are depleted or they become stranded.

Coal and its by -products: Coke, Tar and Coal Gas

Coal is one of the most useful fossil fuels. It has many applications, some of which include the production of heat for households, firing of industrial generators, manufacturing of cast iron, etc. It can also be processed industrially in order to obtain products like coke, tar and coal gas. These by-products are beneficial to us too.

Coke is a high-carbon product obtained by the destructive distillation of coal. The amount of carbon content in coke is so high that it is said to be an almost pure form of carbon. Coke is greyish-black in colour and is a hard, porous solid.
Uses of Coke: The most common use of coke is as a fuel for stoves, furnaces and blacksmithing. It is sometimes preferred over coal because burning coke produces very little smoke. It is also used to produce iron in a blast furnace. Coke is used to manufacture steel and many other materials.

Coal tar is obtained as a by-product in the process of making coke. Though its colour is the same as coke, tar is a highly viscous liquid. It also has an extremely unpleasant smell. Uses: Coal tar is widely used to manufacture paints, perfumes, synthetic dyes, photographic material, drugs and explosives. It can be utilized to make insecticides and pesticides. Naphthalene balls that are commonly used to keep moths away are made from tar. Coal tar is an ingredient of anti-dandruff and lice-repelling shampoos, soaps and ointments.

Coal gas is also obtained as a by-product while producing coke, and again, just like tar, its smell is not very pleasant. It is a highly flammable gas as the main component of it is methane. Thus, if not regulated carefully, it can form mixture with air resulting in explosions. Uses: It is mainly used as a fuel in industries situated near coal processing plants, Earlier, it was used as a source of light. In the year 1820, it was used in London for the first time as street lighting. Now, it is more commonly used to provide heat for domestic and industrial purposes.

Renewable Energy Resources

Energy is an inevitable requirement where we want development to take place. All these power generation techniques can be described as renewable since they are not depleting any resources to create the energy. Renewable sources of energy are the ones which can be generated continuously in nature and are inexhaustible. These are the top 10 Renewable Energy Resources:

1. Biomass
Biomass or bio-energy, the energy from organic matter for thousands of years, ever since people started burning wood to cook food. Wood is still our largest biomass energy resource even today. Other sources of biomass can be used including plants, residues from agriculture or forestry and the organic components. Plants and animal matters are used for production of fibers, chemicals or heat. The net emission of carbon dioxide will be zero as long as plants continue to be replenished for biomass energy purposes. Burning of plant or animal matters causes’ air and water pollution. The burning of dung destroys essential nitrogen and phosphorus. Therefore, it is more useful to convert the biomass into biogas or bio fuels.

2. Biogas
Biogas is a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphite, the major constituents being methane. Biogas is produced by anaerobic degradation of animal and plant wastes in the presence of water. Anaerobic degradation is to break down the organic matter by bacteria in the absence of oxygen. It is a non-polluting, clean and low cost fuel which is very useful for rural areas. Biogas plants used in our country are of two types; fixed dome biogas plant and floating drum biogas plant.

3. Tidal Energy
Tidal energy is not a very popular energy source, but has immense potential of becoming one in the near future. Tidal energy can be generated in two ways, tidal stream generators or by barrage generation. The power created through tidal generators is generally environmental friendly and causes less impact on established ecosystems. It is similar to the wind energy. Tidal energy is the only form of energy that derives directly from the motions of the Earth-Moon system. The tidal forces produced by the Moon-Sun in combination with Earth’s rotation are responsible for the tides.

4. Wind Energy
Wind energy is a conversion of wind energy by wind turbines into a useful form, such as electricity or mechanical energy. Wind farms are installed on agricultural land or grazing areas, have one of the lowest environmental impacts of all energy sources. The principal application of wind power today is the generation of electricity, historically; it has been used directly to propel sailing ships or converted into mechanical energy for pumping water or grinding grains.

5. Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy is the heat from Earth. It’s clean and sustainable. Resources of geothermal energy range from the shallow ground to hot water and hot rock found a few miles beneath the Earth’s surface and down even deeper to the extremely high temperatures of molten rock called magma. The steam or hot water comes out of the cracks in the Earth and when it doesn’t find any way to come out, holes are drilled with pipes in it to gush the hot water out due to high pressure which turn the turbines of a generator to produce electricity.

6. Radiant Energy
Ninety-nine percent of the cost of normal electricity can be saved by the use of radiant energy. It performs the same functions, but doesn’t possess behavior similar to electricity. Nikola Tesla’s magnifying transmitter, T Henry Moray’s radiant energy device, Edwin Gray’s EMA motor & Paul Baumann’s Testatika machine all ran on radiant energy. Nikola Tesla built one of the earliest wireless telephones to be based on radiant energy.

7. Hydro Electricity
This is the most widely used form of renewable energy. The gravitation force of falling water is the key point in hydroelectricity generation. Small scale hydro or micro-hydro power has been an increasingly popular alternative energy source, especially in remote areas where other power sources are not viable. The hydro power sites has a few major environmental problems like water logging and siltation, Causes loss to biodiversity of fish population and other aquatic animals. It also displaces local people and creates problems of rehabilitation and related socio-economic problems.

8. Compressed Natural Gas
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a substitute for gasoline, diesel or propane fuel. It is cleaner and safer to use as it diffuses easily into the surroundings if leaked. However, burning it does release a few greenhouse gases in the air. CNG is used in traditional gasoline internal combustion engine cars that have been converted into bi-fuel vehicles.

9. Solar Energy
The sun offers an ideal energy source, unlimited in supply, expensive, which does not add to the earth’s total heat burden and does not produce air and water pollutants. Solar installations in recent years have also largely begun to expand into residential areas with government offering incentive programs to make “green” energy a more economically viable option.

10. Nuclear Energy
Proponents of nuclear energy contend that nuclear power is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions and increases energy security by decreasing dependence on foreign oil. Nuclear fission is used to extract energy from atomic nuclei via controlled nuclear reactions. Utility scale reactors are use to produce steam which is then converted into mechanical work for the purpose of generating electricity or propulsion.


One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like the list of 144 of 6,000 products made from Petroleum, presented in the Table below:


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