Fossil fuels come from the sedimentation of organic matter (bodies, animals, wood, rocks, metals, etc.). Generally non-renewable, fossil fuels have above all become at risk. We tell you all about the origin of the expression “fossil energy”.
Some expressions get bad press. This is the case with fossil fuels, which are generally rightly opposed to renewable energies. Once decked out with all the promises of comfort for man, coal, gas and oil are now experiencing a serious setback. Unlike hydraulic, wind, solar and geothermal energy, renewable at will, fossil fuels are found in limited quantities on our planet. That isn’t their only downside. In addition to the environmental scourge created by their extraction and then their combustion, there is a direct impact on the health of humans and animals. But let’s first answer the question of the origins of these energies, which are very old…
What is fossil energy?
Fossil energy is a source of energy derived from the methanization of dead plants and animals, buried in the ground for several hundred million years, 350 million for oil, approximately 650 million years for the gas and coal! This natural degradation of oxygen-deprived organic species gradually forms sedimentation, mostly absorbed by bacteria or recomposed into gaseous or rocky matter essentially present at the bottom of oceans and lakes. These fossils are mainly made up of hydrogen carbon, hence their name of hydrocarbons. Fossil energy today represents only 1% of the earth’s biomass.
From fossil fuels to the formation of greenhouse gases
Man has been using hydrocarbons for a long time. The Babylonians exploit oil to pave the roads. The Chinese have been using natural gas since the 4th century BC. AD to create light. The kerosene lamp replaced the oil lamp in the middle of the 19th century. But fossil fuels mainly served the Western industrial revolution, in particular the production of electricity, from the second half of the 19th century. Beyond the mismatch between resources and exploitation, the methane emitted during the extraction of sands and even more lhe combustion of fossil fuels, necessary for the production of energy, emit sulfur and nitrogen oxides, then carbon dioxide, in an exponential way, forming this famous greenhouse gas, at the origin of global warming climate change and ecosystem degradation.
What are fossil fuels?
Coalpetroleum, natural gas : before becoming fuel, these organic matter residues underwent a succession of transformations over tens of millions of years. Originally, living organisms (trees, plankton, etc.) found themselves trapped in sedimentary rocks in formation, during their decomposition. Under the action of anaerobic bacteria (which capture nitrogen and oxygen), they are transformed into kerogen, rich in carbon and hydrogen. Then plate tectonics caused the sedimentary layers to sink into the earth’s crust, leading to a rise in temperature conducive to further decomposition, pyrolysis, at the origin of these hydrocarbons.
What are the 3 fossil fuels?
As mentioned above, natural gas, oil and coal make up 80% of the world’s energy and are therefore the 3 fossil fuels. For what ? Indeed, on a daily basis, we use electricity in which one of the three aforementioned fuels intervenes. When we use the fuels, still one of the three. And, in coal-fired power plants, coal is used the most. Clearly, gas provides electricity, oil, fuel and coal is used for heating. All these fossil fuels contribute to the establishment of a range of services and products in the world.
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