What Fossil Fuels Are • Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources. Non-renewable resources are not replenished at the rate that they are used. Fossil fuels are made up of hydrocarbons. Carbon and hydrogen atoms are in hydrocarbons. When fossil fuels are burned chemical energy is realized that can be used to produce energy, for example heat, light, motion, or electricity. Fossil fuels are made from the remains of organisms. The most common types of fossil fuels are coal, oil and natural gas.
Oil • Oil is located deep underground, finding oil sometimes can be challenging. Oil is composed of remains from small sea-life creatures, algae, and other small marine organisms. Sound waves are used to find oil. Pumped oil right out of the ground is called crude oil. When crude oil first is sucked out of the ground, it comes out as a thick, black liquid. In order to use the oil, the oil then needs to be refined. • Petrochemicals are compounds that come from oil which are used to make: Plastic, paints, medicines, and cosmetics.
Coal • Before coal is coal, it is peat that has been pressurized under the ground. Peat is the more pressurized remains of dead plants and land/swamp animals. Peat can be burned and used as a fuel, but coal burns more efficiently. Coal makes up approximately 23 percent of the fuel used in the United States. Before the Industrial Revolution wood was a used more than coal. Coal needs to be mined or removed from the ground before it can be used to produce energy. A side effect from using coal is that it can increase erosion. Coal Types “Lignite: Dark brown; layered; may contain recognizable fragments of plant remains Bituminous coal: denser then lignite; black; may have bands Anthracite: hardest type of coal; black; shiny” -Science Explorer Environmental Science
Natural Gas • Natural gas is made up of methane and other gases. Natural gas is transported through pipes. There are more than 2,500,000 kilometers of natural gas pipelines run underground in the United States. Oil is more dense compared to natural gas. “Natural gas often raises above an oil deposits, forming a pocket of gas in the rock.” –Science Explorer. The benefit of natural gas is that it produces large amounts of energy without as much air pollution as oil and coal. Natural gas however is extremely flammable. A result from a gas leak can lead to a severe fire or explosion.