Fossil fuels are substances which are made from fossils and can be burned to produce energy. These are actually remains of organisms that died thousands of years ago. However, this natural process may seem simple but it is actually very complicated.
Fossil fuels’ main constituent is carbon which came into existence during the carboniferous period 300-350 million years ago. Fossil fuels include petroleum products, natural gas and coal. Fossil fuels range from low molecular weight volatile materials to high molecular weight non-volatile fossil fuels.
How are Fossil Fuels formed?
Fossil fuels were formed in the carboniferous period, an age even before the existence of the dinosaurs. During that age, the environment and conditions of earth were sufficient to cause the formation of this energy resource. During that period the planet was heavily covered with swamps and massive oceans.
Once plant and organisms died, they sunk to the bottom of the ocean and swamps and gradually started to decompose under layers of sand, clay and other various minerals. Different fossil fuels were formed according to pressure, time, temperature and organic matter. As a result, today there are vast stores of underground fossil fuels around the world which countries are exploiting as an energy resource. There are three main types of fossil fuels; coal, oil and natural gas.
What Products are made from Fossil Fuels?
Fossil fuels have been used to make a wide array of products for the consumers. In most countries, coal is used to generate electricity for the households. However, due to its harmful effect on the environment, many countries are shifting from coal to other energy resources for energy production. Well, no matter what, it is still widely being used to generate electricity for the communities.
Fossil fuel is used in making multiple petroleum products such as petrol, kerosene and diesel. They are used to run automobiles, airplanes, generators and ships. Fossil fuels are also used to make a wide array of makeup accessories such as nail polish, deodorants, mascara and lipstick.
Are there any alternatives to fossil fuels?
Fossil fuel has been a very important discovery for mankind. It has been used as a credible energy resource for years now and the technological advancement has helped humans in identifying reserves of fossil fuels more conveniently and using the potential of these fossil fuels more efficiently. However, we do need to realize that fossil fuels are only available to us in a limited capacity and soon it may run out, leaving us with the huge gap to fill when it comes to a reliable energy resource.
Some of the fossil fuel reserves are consequently not able to be exploited either. It can be due to social and environmental concerns or it can be due to lack of technology or resources available. Fossil fuel is a very reliable energy resource but the fact is that it can only be used once. It is therefore a non-renewable energy resource. This is because it will probably take millions of years and a specific climate to form these fossil fuels again. We cannot unfortunately synthetically form fossil fuels; neither can we recycle them like we recycle other products such as aluminum, paper, metal and plastic. Once fossil fuels are extracted and utilized to make energy they are converted into carbon emissions which can contribute to air pollution.
It is now high-time that we look elsewhere for alternative resources to tackle the energy demand of our planet as fossil fuels cannot be solely relied upon to produce energy. This has prompted many to start using other energy resources which can be replenished, used with efficiency, and have no detrimental impact on the environment.
What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources?
People fail to understand the fact that fossil fuels cannot be restocked, it is because it will need to take a specific climate and environment and not to mention, millions of years to replenish. This practically makes fossil fuel a non-renewable energy resource. Along with their limited amount, we are using them at an astounding rate which makes fossil fuels a non-renewable resource.
On the other hand, it needs to be clarified that fossil fuel is not the only non-renewable energy resource. Gold which is used in mobile, computers and as jewelry is also a non-renewable resource. The same can be said for Uranium, one of the most important elements required for producing nuclear energy. Although nuclear energy is a type of renewable energy resource, Uranium is not, due to its cosmic origin.
However, there are many renewable energy resources at our disposal which can be used consistently without having to worry about its depletion. Biomass is an example of many renewable energy resources. Biomass relies upon feedstock, which are plants that are burned and processed to generate electricity.
Other types of renewable energy include geo-thermal, hydropower and solar energy which all have the luxury to replenish, even in the wake of high demand and usage.