Coal, Petrol and Gas || 7+ Important information of fossil fuels

Fossil Fuel:

Non-renewable energy is generated from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and crude oil) and radioactive material, i.e., uranium. Fossil fuels are mostly composed of Carbon-based compounds. Three hundred million years ago the Earth was much dissimilar than its present landscape, known as ‘Carboniferous Period’ fossil fuels had been formed from various complex method.

Fossil fuels are usually found in similar locations as their formation is from a similar process. Notice that not all non-renewable energy originates from fossil-fuels. There is also radioactive material like uranium, which is also used for energy production.

How fossil fuels are formed ?

Fossil fuels are found in one place as their originated procedure may be similar. Let us take a look.

  • Millions years back, plants, dead sea creatures, and creatures settled on the seafloor and porous stones. Those natural organic objects had stored energy from sun to prepare foods (proteins) for themselves (photosynthesis) before it’s death.
  • The movement of the mantle is the cause of shift to the Earth plates. As Earth layer moves during and rock layer create spaces in between or interchanges which induce those natural organic objects to accumulate their energy in to distinct spaces like sea-bed or in porous rock layer. With the assistance of technology, engineers may well drill down from the layer of sea-bed to exploit the power, generally called crude oil.
  • These sand, sediments, and impermeable stone porous rock are hence trapping the energy inside its different layer of it depending upon the composition and age of minerals. These forms pockets of natural gas, oil, and coal.

Advantages of fossil:

  • Fossil fuels are moderately cheap and price and availability may be reason for higher demand as it tends to be a cost-effective energy source compare to other resource like nuclear and biomass.
  • Technology for power production is readily available and less complex.
  • Fulfill the base load demand as compare to renewable energy. As Solar and Wind is highly dependent on weather.

Disadvantages of fossil fuel:

  • Fossil fuels are compound of carbon. Once they’re burned (used), these create a whole lot of carbon-based composites (carbon dioxide and green-house gas like Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)) that affect the atmosphere in more than a few ways and impacted in atmospheric air, contaminate water reserve, and land pollution, etc. So, these impacts are all consequences of fossil fuels.

What is coal?

Coal (“Combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock composed mostly of carbon and hydrocarbons”) originated from ancient plants and trees, which grew in jungles in moist climates countless millions of years back. To become coal a compound natural process referred to as Carbonization has been followed during generation. The coal is rated as per a very high Carbonization period. Anthracite is one of them. Coal, which hasn’t undergone an excessive amount of Carbonization, is rated low, i.e., Peat. Numerous forms of coal exist in a natural reserve such as Anthracite, bituminous, lignite, and sub-bituminous coal are used by people.

coal
Coal

How is coal converted into electricity?

  • In coal based thermal power plant, coal is then milled to granule or powder form, enabling it to better burn. It’s burnt at high temperatures at the combustion chamber of a boiler.
  • The gases and heating energy generated converts water of the boiler.
  • The steam is flown into the turbine comprising a huge number of blades.
  • The steam thrusts the blades initiating the turbine shaft to rotate at high proportional speed. The steam is condensed in condenser and pumped back to the boiler chamber where it is heated again to make it closed cycle.
  • The rotating shaft spin involves coils at a generator. Rotation in the magnetic field produces electricity as per electrodynamics
  • Electricity is delivered to the switchboard (transformer) in which it’s controlled and delivered via on-land wires to houses.
  • Utilizing coal to generate energy causes many issues, generally on a larger scale than gas or oil usage. These power productions may give SOx, NOx productions may create acid rain, hazardous waste, and many others pollutants.
Coal ranking system used by the United States Geological Survey
Coal ranking system used by the United States Geological Survey

Mining

Mining is the extraction of valued minerals or other natural resources from the Earth within the ore-body, layer, reef, constituents, lode or placer deposit. These deposits produce a package that is of attention to the mining sector as per profitability. Mining must acquire any material created in a laboratory or factory, or feasibly cannot be grown through processes. Mining in a broader sense covers extraction of practically all conventional non-renewable reserve such as coal, crude oil, natural gas etc.

Mining of metal and stone proved to be a distinct action from the historic times. Contemporary mining processes include searching for ore bodies, evaluation of their profit potential of a coalfield, extraction of the desired materials, and reclamation of the property after it’s closed.
Mining operations normally create an undesirable environmental impact, both during the mining operation and after the mine has shut down. The majority of the world’s countries have passed laws to decrease the consequence. Work safety was an issue, and contemporary practices have enhanced security in mines.

Open-pit mining
Open-pit mining
Image Credit: stafichukanatoly (pixabay.com)

What is Natural Gas?

Natural Gas is shapeless, colourless, and odourless in its original form. It’s thus known as “Clean Gas’. It’s one of those gases which are formed by the same formation method like fossil fuels. The core component in natural gas is methane, composed of an only carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.
Natural gas provides around 25% planet’s energy. Drilling wells extract gas deep through residue or layers.

Natural gas comes in two forms:
The initial and conventional form is located in permeable sandstone layers. The next, unconventional categories are located in different areas like coal deposits (e.g. Recently, shale gas has gotten highly well known in many places and is largely drilled. It’s eminent since its carbon dioxide portion is roughly half as compare to coal and is rightly regarded more environmentally friendly.
Such as other energy forms, natural gas is used as fuel to generate steam, which thrust the turbine blades to rotate. The shafts hence rotate within magnets and some metallic coils at a generator create an electrical current provided to houses and connected to the transformer.

What is Petroleum (Crude Oil)?

Crude oil is typically found in basin and natural oil reservoirs. It is thick liquid in nature and yellowish black in colour. It is contains primarily hydrocarbons and organic compounds. Petroleum prospecting scientists generally discover them.
Sometimes, crude and petroleum oil are utilized to imply the identical thing, but oil itself is a vast assortment of petroleum products, such as crude petroleum. The term ‘oil products’ is used after crude oil is distinguished and segregated within refineries into various by-products. These segregation are dependent on different heat and chemical separation techniques.

Crude oil possibly will exist deep inside the Earth’s surface or underneath the sea beds. Oil drills mounted from the seawaters are known as offshore drills overseas in petroleum drilling, a construction referred to as ‘derrick’ moving downward and then bringing the oil into the surface from a basin or reservoir.
Saudi Arabia, USA, China, Russia, Qatar and Iran are the top crude oil manufacturers worldwide, and the USA is the world’s major customer of crude oil, followed by China. The practice of producing energy from crude oil is extremely analogous to that of thermal coal as explained below.

Electricity from Crude oil or petroleum:

  • Oil is used in power stations to generate extreme heat by burning, that is used to create pressurized hot steam.
  • These steams are excelled to run the rotatable turbine by generating thrust to metal blades. Turbine operate in three stage.
  • The blades rotate the shaft connected rotor of a generator comprising magnets, and this changing magnetic field generates electricity.
  • The electricity then flows into a grid via high conductive cable
  • The power transformer correspondingly regulates the quantity of electricity by step up and step down as per requirement and demand supply etc.
  • Electricity is delivered to households, industry, and official areas.

Others Application of Crude oil :

A superb chunk of all of the overall crude oil on earth is processed as gasoline, which we utilize for our automobiles. These may also be processed to a lot of different products i.e. spirits or items like roofing, water pipes, sneakers, wax and crayons, nail polish, vitamin supplements, paint colour and hydro-carbons items etc.
Crude oil is extracted from overseas gas and drilling tankers, badly affect the atmosphere particularly aquatic life-cycle and sea animals.

Drilling Rig Head Hole Shale Gas image credit : pixabay
Oil tanks for train transport image credit : Wikipedia

What is Propane?

  • Propane is a high energetic fuel. Its chemical formula is C3H8.
  • It’s the liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) which are available in mixed with natural gas and oil. Liquefied LPG gases, with butane and ethane separated from natural gas and crude oil in specialized gas processing plants called refineries. The sum of propane gas generated from natural gas and petroleum is roughly equal.
  • LPG provides a handy way of powering cooking, heating, and other processes, regardless of wherever your home is situated.

How does LPG compare with other fuels?

Advantages of LPG:

  • Generates no dangerous or pollutant residue.
  • produces less carbon dioxide than coal and petroleum during burning.
  • burns off without chunk and dust so less SOx and NOx productions.
  • causes no soil and water contamination like traditional coal-based fuel.
  • Substantial fuel cost investments and is roughly fifty percent cheaper than Petrol
  • LPG is a by-product so absolutely no surplus or waste.
  • LPG less costly as its boiler is economical than petroleum boilers to keep install maintenance.
  • May be utilized with renewable technologies.

About Dr. Subrata Jana

I am Subrata, Ph.D. in Engineering, more specifically interested in Nuclear and Energy science related domains. I have multi-domain experience starting from Service Engineer for electronics drives and micro-controller to specialized R&D work. I have worked on various projects, including nuclear fission, fusion to solar photovoltaics, heater design, and other projects. I have a keen interest in the science domain, energy, electronics and instrumentation, and industrial automation, primarily because of the wide range of stimulating problems inherited to this field, and every day it’s changing with industrial demand. Our aim here is to exemplify these unconventional, complex science subjects in an easy and understandable to the point manner.
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