|Look up fossil fuel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
A fossil fuel is a fuel formed by natural processes, such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms, containing organic molecules originating in ancient photosynthesisthat release energy in combustion. Such organisms and their resulting fossil fuels typically have an age of millions of years, and sometimes more than 650 million years. Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include petroleum, coal, and natural gas. Peat is also sometimes considered a fossil fuel. Commonly used derivatives of fossil fuels include kerosene and propane. Fossil fuels range from volatile materials with low carbon-to-hydrogen ratios (like methane), to liquids (like petroleum), to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal. Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates.
As of 2018, the world's main primary energy sources consisted of petroleum (34%), coal (27%), and natural gas (24%), amounting to an 85% share for fossil fuels in primary energy consumption in the world. Non-fossil sources included nuclear (4.4%), hydroelectric (6.8%), and other renewables (4.0%, including geothermal, solar, tidal, wind, wood, and waste).The share of renewables (including traditional biomass) in the world's total final energy consumption was 18% in 2018. Compared with 2017, world energy-consumption grew at a rate of 2.9%, almost double its 10-year average of 1.5% per year, and the fastest since 2010.
Although fossil fuels are continually formed by natural processes, they are generally classified as non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form and known viable reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are generated.
Most air pollution deaths are due to fossil fuel combustion products, it is estimated to cost over 3% of global GDP,and fossil fuel phase-out would save 3.6 million lives each year.
The use of fossil fuels raises serious environmental concerns. The burning of fossil fuels produces around 35 billion tonnes (35 gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. It is estimated that natural processes can only absorb a small part of that amount, so there is a net increase of many billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that increases radiative forcing and contributes to global warming and ocean acidification. A global movement towards the generation of low-carbon renewable energy is underway to help reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions.
The theory that fossil fuels formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over millions of years was first introduced by Andreas Libavius "in his 1597 Alchemia [Alchymia]" and later by Mikhail Lomonosov "as early as 1757 and certainly by 1763".The first use of the term "fossil fuel" occurs in the work of the German chemist Caspar Neumann, in English translation in 1759. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that in the phrase "fossil fuel" the adjective "fossil" means "[o]btained by digging; found buried in the earth", which dates to at least 1652, before the English noun "fossil" came to refer primarily to long-dead organisms in the early 18th century.
Aquatic phytoplankton and zooplankton that died and sedimented in large quantities under anoxic conditions millions of years ago began forming petroleum and natural gas as a result of anaerobic decomposition. Over geological time this organic matter, mixed with mud, became buried under further heavy layers of inorganic sediment. The resulting high temperature and pressure caused the organic matter to chemically alter, first into a waxy material known as kerogen, which is found in oil shales, and then with more heat into liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons in a process known as catagenesis. Despite these heat driven transformations (which increase the energy density compared to typical organic matter by removal of oxygen atoms),the energy released in combustion is still photosynthetic in origin.
Terrestrial plants, on the other hand, tended to form coal and methane. Many of the coal fields date to the Carboniferous period of Earth's history. Terrestrial plants also form type III kerogen, a source of natural gas.
There is a wide range of organic compounds in any given fuel. The specific mixture of hydrocarbons gives a fuel its characteristic properties, such as density, viscosity, boiling point, melting point, etc. Some fuels like natural gas, for instance, contain only very low boiling, gaseous components. Others such as gasoline or diesel contain much higher boiling components.
Fossil fuels are of great importance because they can be burned (oxidized to carbon dioxide and water), producing significant amounts of energy per unit mass. The use of coal as a fuel predates recorded history. Coal was used to run furnaces for the smelting of metal ore. While semi-solid hydrocarbons from seeps were also burned in ancient times,they were mostly used for waterproofing and embalming.
Commercial exploitation of petroleum began in the 19th century, largely to replace oils from animal sources (notably whale oil) for use in oil lamps.
Natural gas, once flared-off as an unneeded byproduct of petroleum production, is now considered a very valuable resource.Natural gas deposits are also the main source of helium.
Heavy crude oil, which is much more viscous than conventional crude oil, and oil sands, where bitumen is found mixed with sand and clay, began to become more important as sources of fossil fuel in the early 2000s.Oil shale and similar materials are sedimentary rocks containing kerogen, a complex mixture of high-molecular weight organic compounds, which yield synthetic crude oil when heated (pyrolyzed). With additional processing, they can be employed in lieu of other established fossil fuels. More recently, there has been disinvestment from exploitation of such resources due to their high carbon cost relative to more easily processed reserves.
Prior to the latter half of the 18th century, windmills and watermills provided the energy needed for industry such as milling flour, sawing wood or pumping water, while burning wood or peat provided domestic heat. The wide-scale use of fossil fuels, coal at first and petroleum later, in steam engines enabled the Industrial Revolution. At the same time, gas lights using natural gas or coal gas were coming into wide use. The invention of the internal combustion engine and its use in automobiles and trucks greatly increased the demand for gasoline and diesel oil, both made from fossil fuels. Other forms of transportation, railways and aircraft, also require fossil fuels. The other major use for fossil fuels is in generating electricity and as feedstock for the petrochemical industry. Tar, a leftover of petroleum extraction, is used in construction of roads.
Levels of primary energy sources are the reserves in the ground. Flows are production of fossil fuels from these reserves. The most important primary energy sources are carbon-based fossil energy sources.
This section needs to be updated.February 2020)(
P. E. Hodgson, a senior research fellow emeritus in physics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, expects the world energy use to double every fourteen years and the need to increase faster still, and he insisted in 2008 that the world oil production, a main resource of fossil fuel, was expected to peak in ten years and thereafter fall.
The principle of supply and demand holds that as hydrocarbon supplies diminish, prices will rise. Therefore, higher prices will lead to increased alternative, renewable energy supplies as previously uneconomic sources become sufficiently economical to exploit. Artificial gasolines and other renewable energy sources currently require more expensive production and processing technologies than conventional petroleum reserves, but may become economically viable in the near future. Different alternative sources of energy include nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, and geothermal.
One of the more promising energy alternatives is the use of inedible feed stocks and biomass for carbon dioxide capture as well as biofuel production. While these processes are not without problems, they are currently in practice around the world. Biodiesels are being produced by several companies and are the subject of research at several universities. Processes for converting renewable lipids into usable fuels include hydrotreating and decarboxylation.
This section needs to be updated.April 2020)(
The United States holds less than 5% of the world's population, but due to large houses and private cars, uses more than 25% of the world's supply of fossil fuels.As the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 from fossil fuel combustion accounted for 80 percent of weighted emissions in 1998. Combustion of fossil fuels also produces other air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals.
According to Environment Canada:
"The electricity sector is unique among industrial sectors in its very large contribution to emissions associated with nearly all air issues. Electricity generation produces a large share of Canadian nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide emissions, which contribute to smog and acid rain and the formation of fine particulate matter. It is the largest uncontrolled industrial source of mercury emissions in Canada. Fossil fuel-fired electric power plants also emit carbon dioxide, which may contribute to climate change. In addition, the sector has significant impacts on water and habitat and species. In particular, hydropower dams and transmission lines have significant effects on water and biodiversity."
According to U.S. scientist Jerry Mahlman, who crafted the IPCC language used to define levels of scientific certainty, the new report will blame fossil fuels for global warming with "virtual certainty," meaning 99% sure. That's a significant jump from "likely," or 66% sure, in the group's last report in 2001. More than 1,600 pages of research went into the new assessment.
Combustion of fossil fuels generates sulfuric and nitric acids, which fall to Earth as acid rain, impacting both natural areas and the built environment. Monuments and sculptures made from marble and limestone are particularly vulnerable, as the acids dissolve calcium carbonate.
Fossil fuels also contain radioactive materials, mainly uranium and thorium, which are released into the atmosphere. In 2000, about 12,000 tonnes of thorium and 5,000 tonnes of uranium were released worldwide from burning coal.It is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island accident.
Burning coal also generates large amounts of bottom ash and fly ash. These materials are used in a wide variety of applications, utilizing, for example, about 40% of the US production.
Harvesting, processing, and distributing fossil fuels can also create environmental concerns. Coal mining methods, particularly mountaintop removal and strip mining, have negative environmental impacts, and offshore oil drilling poses a hazard to aquatic organisms. Fossil fuel wells can contribute to methane release via fugitive gas emissions. Oil refineries also have negative environmental impacts, including air and water pollution. Transportation of coal requires the use of diesel-powered locomotives, while crude oil is typically transported by tanker ships, requiring the combustion of additional fossil fuels.
Environmental regulation uses a variety of approaches to limit these emissions, such as command-and-control (which mandates the amount of pollution or the technology used), economic incentives, or voluntary programs.
An example of such regulation in the USA is the "EPA is implementing policies to reduce airborne mercury emissions. Under regulations issued in 2005, coal-fired power plants will need to reduce their emissions by 70 percent by 2018.".
In economic terms, pollution from fossil fuels is regarded as a negative externality. Taxation is considered as one way to make societal costs explicit, in order to 'internalize' the cost of pollution. This aims to make fossil fuels more expensive, thereby reducing their use and the amount of associated pollution, along with raising the funds necessary to counteract these effects.[ citation needed ]
According to Rodman D. Griffin, "The burning of coal and oil have saved inestimable amounts of time and labor while substantially raising living standards around the world".Although the use of fossil fuels may seem beneficial to our lives, it plays a role in global warming and it is said to be dangerous for the future.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(April 2020)
Moreover, this environmental pollution impacts humans because particulates and other air pollution from fossil fuel combustion cause illness and death when inhaled by people. These health effects include premature death, acute respiratory illness, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function. The poor, undernourished, very young and very old, and people with preexisting respiratory disease and other ill health, are more at risk.
This section needs to be updated.April 2020)(
In 2014, the global energy industry revenue was about US$8 trillion,with about 84% fossil fuel, 4% nuclear, and 12% renewable (including hydroelectric).
In 2014, there were 1,469 oil and gas firms listed on stock exchanges around the world, with a combined market capitalization of US$4.65 trillion.In 2019, Saudi Aramco was listed and it touched a US$2 trillion valuation on its second day of trading, after the world's largest initial public offering.
Air pollution from fossil fuels in 2018 has been estimated to cost US$2.9 trillion, or 3.3% of global GDP.
The International Energy Agency estimated 2017 global government fossil fuel subsidies to have been $300 billion.
A 2015 report studied 20 fossil fuel companies and found that, while highly profitable, the hidden economic cost to society was also large. CO
2 emissions was greater than their after‐tax profit, with the single exception of ExxonMobil in 2008." :4 Pure coal companies fare even worse: "the economic cost to society exceeds total revenue in all years, with this cost varying between nearly $2 and nearly $9 per $1 of revenue." :5 In this case, total revenue includes "employment, taxes, supply purchases, and indirect employment." :4
Fossil fuel prices generally are below their actual costs, or their "efficient prices," when economic externalities, such as the costs of air pollution and global climate destruction, are taken into account. Fossil fuels are subsidized in the amount of $4.7 trillion in 2015, which is equivalent to 6.3% of the 2015 global GDP and are estimated to grow to $5.2 trillion in 2017, which is equivalent to 6.5% of global GDP. The largest five subsidizers in 2015 were the following: China with $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies, United States with $649 billion, Russia with $551 billion, the European Union with $289 billion, and India with $209 billion. Had there been no subsidies for fossil fuels, global carbon emissions would have been lowered by an estimated 28% in 2015, air-pollution related deaths reduced by 46%, and government revenue increased by $2.8 trillion or 3.8% of GDP.
There are 1,469 oil and gas firms listed on stock exchanges around the world, worth a combined $4.65 trillion.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Fossil fuel|
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements; chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is formed when dead plant matter decays into peat and is converted into coal by the heat and pressure of deep burial over millions of years. Vast deposits of coal originate in former wetlands—called coal forests—that covered much of the Earth's tropical land areas during the late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) and Permian times.
Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage prior to its delivery to end users or its storage.
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons are examples of group 14 hydrides. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups called hydrocarbyls. Hydrocarbons are generally colourless and hydrophobic with only weak odours. Because of their diverse molecular structures, it is difficult to generalize further. Most anthropogenic emissions of hydrocarbons are from the burning of fossil fuels including fuel production and combustion. Natural sources of hydrocarbons such as ethylene, isoprene, and monoterpenes come from the emissions of vegetation.
Alternative fuels, known as non-conventional and advanced fuels, are any materials or substances that can be used as fuels, other than conventional fuels like; fossil fuels, as well as nuclear materials such as uranium and thorium, as well as artificial radioisotope fuels that are made in nuclear reactors.
Sustainable energy is energy produced and used in such a way that it "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
A fossil fuel power station is a thermal power station which burns a fossil fuel, such as coal or natural gas, to produce electricity. Fossil fuel power stations have machinery to convert the heat energy of combustion into mechanical energy, which then operates an electrical generator. The prime mover may be a steam turbine, a gas turbine or, in small plants, a reciprocating gas engine. All plants use the energy extracted from expanding gas, either steam or combustion gases. Although different energy conversion methods exist, all thermal power station conversion methods have efficiency limited by the Carnot efficiency and therefore produce waste heat.
Coal pollution mitigation, sometimes called clean coal, is a series of systems and technologies that seek to mitigate the health and environmental impact of coal; in particular air pollution from coal-fired power stations, and from coal burnt by heavy industry.
The energy policy of the United States is determined by federal, state, and local entities in the United States, which address issues of energy production, distribution, and consumption, such as building codes and gas mileage standards. Energy policy may include legislation, international treaties, subsidies and incentives to investment, guidelines for energy conservation, taxation and other public policy techniques.
World energy consumption is the total energy produced and used by humans. Typically measured per year, it involves all energy harnessed from every energy source applied towards activity across all industrial and technological sectors, in every country. It does not include energy from food. World energy consumption has implications for the socio-economic-political sphere.
Ensuring adequate energy supply to sustain economic growth has been a core concern of the Chinese government since 1949. The country is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and coal in China is a major cause of global warming. However, from 2010 to 2015 China reduced energy consumption per unit of GDP by 18%, and CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 20%. On a per-capita basis, it was the world's 51st largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2016.
Fossil fuel phase-out is the gradual reduction of the use of fossil fuels to zero. It is part of the ongoing renewable energy transition. Current efforts in fossil fuel phase-out involve replacing fossil fuels with sustainable energy sources in sectors such as transport, and heating.
Energy subsidies are measures that keep prices for consumers below market levels or for producers above market levels, or reduce costs for consumers and producers. Energy subsidies may be direct cash transfers to producers, consumers, or related bodies, as well as indirect support mechanisms, such as tax exemptions and rebates, price controls, trade restrictions, and limits on market access.
Energy in Finland describes energy and electricity production, consumption and import in Finland. Energy policy of Finland describes the politics of Finland related to energy. Electricity sector in Finland is the main article of electricity in Finland.
A fuel is any material that can be made to react with other substances so that it releases energy as heat energy or to be used for work. The concept was originally applied solely to those materials capable of releasing chemical energy but has since also been applied to other sources of heat energy such as nuclear energy.
The environmental impact of the energy industry is diverse. Energy has been harnessed by human beings for millennia. Initially it was with the use of fire for light, heat, cooking and for safety, and its use can be traced back at least 1.9 million years. In recent years there has been a trend towards the increased commercialization of various renewable energy sources.
The energy mix is a group of different primary energy sources from which secondary energy for direct use - such as electricity - is produced. Energy mix refers to all direct uses of energy, such as transportation and housing, so it is not be confused with power generation mix, which refers only to generation of electricity.
Petroleum has many uses, and the environmental impact of the petroleum industry is correspondingly extensive and expansive. Crude oil and natural gas are primary energy and raw material sources that enable numerous aspects of modern daily life and the world economy. Their supply has grown quickly over the last 150 years to meet the demands of rapidly increasing human population, creativity, and consumerism.
The carbon bubble is a hypothesized bubble in the valuation of companies dependent on fossil-fuel-based energy production, because the true costs of carbon dioxide in intensifying global warming are not yet taken into account in a company's stock market valuation. Currently the price of fossil fuels companies' shares is calculated under the assumption that all fossil fuel reserves will be consumed. An estimate made by Kepler Chevreux puts the loss in value of the fossil fuel companies due to the impact of the growing renewables industry at US$28 trillion over the next two decades-long. A more recent analysis made by Citi puts that figure at $100 trillion.
Worldwide energy supply is the global production and preparation of fuel, generation of electricity, and energy transport. Energy supply is a vast industry.