Examples of Fossil Fuels

Examples of Fossil Fuels

Formed more than 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period, fossil fuels are non-renewable energy sources. Read the Buzzle article to find out the examples of fossil fuels, and its usage in modern time.
Fossil fuels are formed when anaerobic breakdown of dead organisms occur over millions of years. The breakdown of these natural resources give us fossil fuels―coal, oil, and natural gas, all containing hydrocarbons. Obviously, when these fossil fuels are burnt, they release carbon dioxide polluting the atmosphere at a faster pace, thus advancing the effects of global warming. All these fuels are differentiated depending on the state and the hydrocarbons contained. But that was the technical part about fossil fuels. Now let's see some examples of fossil fuels and how they affect us in our day-to-day lifestyle.

The majority of our energy source comes from fossil fuels and they have huge demands all over the world. However, as we all know, these resources are non-renewable and expected to deplete in the near future. The human race has become so dependent on it that we have actually damaged our planet and raised concerns. And to preserve these fossil fuels, many countries, government organizations, big companies, and communities have taken the 'going green' initiative. In the following article, we are going to discuss the main examples and how exactly do we put them into use.

Fossil Fuel Examples and Its Uses

Before we could go over the different fossil fuels, it was important to know what are fossil fuels. As there are three main types of fossil fuels which are used by us today, we will go over each of them one by one.

Coal is formed when trees, plants are buried deep under the earth and start getting slowly decomposed over a period of time. Coal is extracted by mining. It can be mined using surface mining or underground mining after which its treated to remove impurities and make it efficient. The purity of coal is determined by its carbon content. Anthracite is the purest form of coal containing as much as 97 percent of carbon. The second purest form of this type of fossil fuel is bituminous, then sub-bituminous, while the most impure form is lignite.

Usage: Coal is used in a lot of manufacturing industries, in homes, steam trains, etc.

Like coal, when organic material is compressed and heated over a period of time or simply decomposed plants or animals, oil reserves are formed. They are better known as crude oil which usually exist in watery atmosphere. It is found underground (land and sea) and is extracted using huge pumps. Upon extraction it is treated to get various forms of fuel we know, like petrol, diesel, kerosene, processed oil, etc.

Usage: Oil and its many derivatives are used in many ways. They are:
  • Petrol―Usually in cars and bikes, airplanes, helicopters and other modes of transport.
  • Diesel―Mostly in trucks, cars, diesel trains, ships, electricity generators, etc.
  • Kerosene―Lamps, outdoor barbecues, etc.
Natural Gas
Like oil, natural gas is also formed when organic materials are compressed and heated over a long period of time. It is formed from hydrocarbon reactions. The chemical reaction changes the organic materials into a waxy material called Kerogen which is found around the world, upon more heat it further converts into liquid (crude oil) and gaseous hydrocarbons (natural gas).

Usages: It is used for cooking, in automobiles as CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) or LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).

Many are under the misconception, and question if kerosene is a fossil fuel. The truth is, kerosene is not a direct fossil fuel as it is obtained from fractional distillation of petroleum.

Even though fossil fuels have made us dependent on them, there will always be certain debates regarding fossil fuels pros and cons to discuss over. These fossil fuels given above are fast depleting, and we should curtail the use of these natural resources; in other words, conservation of natural resources should be our top priority. There are other renewable energy or resources we could use such as wind energy and solar energy. There is also nuclear energy, reducing the carbon content in the atmosphere, thus saving earth from global warming and stabilizing the earth's atmosphere.
LPG Gas Bottles
Yellow compressed natural gas cylinders with pipes
Beam of light from storm lantern