Fossil fuels consist of coal, petroleum and natural gas that are found under the earth’s surface, formed from billions of years of compression and decomposition of dead plant and animal matter. They are the leading source of energy for the mankind and are used for various purposes like energy for transportation, electricity, manufacturing process and also used in the manufacturing process of day to day items like plastic. Main fossil fuels are.
Coal is a combustible black or brown organic sedimentary rock. It’s mostly carbon and is typically found in layers or coal seams.
2. Natural gas
Natural gas is a combustible mix of hydrocarbon gases. It’s colourless and consist mainly of methane. Conventional gas is easily extracted, unconventional gas requires sophisticated extraction technologies.
Oil is mostly known as crude oil or condensate but include all liquid hydrocarbon fossil fuels. Petroleum and liquefied petroleum gas are the most common types of fuel obtained from oil extraction and refining.
Uses for fossil fuels
1. Power generation for electricity – Most of the power generation are done in thermal power plants using coal as the burning fuel. Coal is cheap, hence it is used but it’s a highly polluting source of energy. The lone power plant in Kerala that uses fossil fuel is the Kayamkulam thermal plant under NTPC that uses Naptha , a derivative of petroleum.
2. Transportation purposes and household purposes – Petroleum products like petrol, diesel, jet fuel and to a small extent liquefied petroleum gas are used for powering transportation purposes as internal combustion vehicles use them as energy source. They are tha mian energy source and serve as the backbone of our economy. Liquified petroleum gas is used for majority of households for cooking purpose as cooking gas.
3. Manufacturing process. Heavier fractions of petroleum obtained during the processing of petroleum have excellent lubricant purposes and are used as lubricants like motor oil, hydraulic oil, petroleum jelly etc. Petrochemicals are also obtained from different fossil fuels as a source of making plastic and polyster materials. Plastics are used for making bottles, containers, plates, boxes, bags and many other items. Polyester is a strong and durable fabric material which is used for clothing and other purposes. Benzene is a chemical extracted from from fossil fuel which is a vital ingredient in the manufacture of synthetic rubber, dyes, solvents, pesticides etc. It’s also a component of several medicins and food products also.