Energy Energy is the ability to cause change. Nonrenewable energy resources are being used up faster than they can be replaced by Earth processes. Most electricity comes from nonrenewable energy.
FOSSIL FUELS Fossil fuels are fuels that form from the remains of once living organisms that were buried and altered over millions of years. Coal Oil Natural Gas
COAL The most abundant fossil fuel in the world Estimated to last between 125 and 250 years. Contains at least 50% plant remains
How Coal Forms 1. Plants die in a swampy area, forming peat. 2. Dead plants are covered by more plants, water, and sediment, keeping oxygen from it. 3. Plants decay slowly. 4. Bacteria consume the plant material, leaving carbon and impurities behind. 5. Over time, the material compacts, forming different grades of coal. http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es0701/es0 701page01.cfm?chapter_no=07
Types of Coal Peat (also known as “peat moss”) can be burned, but creates a lot of smoke. Irishmen cutting and throwing peat to burn later
Types of Coal (continued) Heat and pressure change peat into lignite coal. It doesn’t burn well, but it does burn better than peat.
More heat and pressure morph the lignite as it gets buried deeper. After time, bituminous coal is formed. Bituminous coal also contains a lot of sulfur, which pollutes the air when burned. Types of Coal (continued)
Anthracite coal is heated and squeezed during metamorphism and is a very dense coal. It contains the highest content of carbon and is the rarest form of coal due to the amount of time it takes to form. Types of Coal (continued)
Synthetic Fuels Synthetic fuels are made from coal natural gas oil shale or biomass. It may also refer to fuels derived from other solids such as plastics or rubber waste. Hydrocarbons (molecules of hydrogen bonded with carbon) are extracted from these materials to create: liquid fuels such as synthetic gasoline for cars. fuel oil for heating homes. gaseous fuels to generate electricity heat homes
More About Oil Oil is a hydrocarbon, meaning it is a molecule of hydrogen bonded with carbon. Hydrocarbons burn very well to release a lot of energy. Oil, or petroleum is refined to form many products.
Products from Refined Oil Products from crude oil include: Gasoline Kerosene Diesel Candle wax Motor oil Asphalt Oils for making plastics Oils for lip balm and types of make-up.
Natural Gas Forms from the buried remains of tiny marine organisms (called plankton) in a gaseous, instead of liquid, state. Found in layers of rock that have become tilted or folded. Some rock layers, like shale, trap the less dense gas and oil. The rock layer above gas and oil is the roof (or cap) rock and the layer below is called reservoir rock. These pockets of gas and oil can be located and drilled, then pumped out of the ground.
Coal Mining Coal is removed from the ground using several methods. The two most common are: Strip mining Open-pit mining
Strip Mining Layers of soil and rock are removed. Exposed coal is removed and loaded on trucks and trains to transport. Soil is returned and vegetation is replanted. Strip mining is only used if coal layer is close to surface.
Underground Mining Drift mining is one method of underground mining. Coal is removed this way when it is buried deep underground. A horizontal entrance is dug into the side of a mountain to remove coal.
More Underground Mining Slope mining obtains coal that is deep underground as well. An angled opening is dug downward to access the coal. Considered one the most dangerous forms of mining only after shaft mining (vertical access).
Drilling for Oil and Gas Geologists and engineers locate and plan drilling. Roughneck crews set up drilling rigs and line the hole as it’s drilled to prevent cave-ins. Rock is fractured to allow oil and gas to flow into the well. Pumping units are set up to remove the oil and gas. Drilling Rig
Fossil Fuel Reserves While there may be great amounts of fossil fuels still in the earth, not all of it can be reached easily and removed at a profit. The amounts that CAN be accessed and removed at a profit are known as reserves. Natural gas reserves are estimated at between 60 and 150 years. Oil reserves are estimated at 4.1 billion barrels. Approximately 90 million barrels are used daily worldwide. One barrel is 42 US gallons.