Q:

How does fossil fuel work?

A:

Quick Answer

Coal, oil and natural gas all produce heat energy when burned. These fuels were formed by the remains of organisms that existed millions of years ago. Heat from these fuels is used to convert water into steam, which is then used to power turbines that generate electricity.

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Full Answer

Fossil fuels are created over a period of millions of years when the remains of plants and animals are subjected to the intense heat and pressure that is found within the earth's crust. Fossil fuels have been a key energy source for widespread industrial development and are commonly used to power many vehicles, in addition to serving as a fuel source for the generation of electrical power. Fossil fuels are also used to create asphalt, plastics and other materials.

Despite their widespread usage, fossil fuels have several disadvantages that can limit their desirability and usefulness. Coal, oil and natural gas are considered nonrenewable resources because the creation of new fossil fuels requires millions of years. Because they are composed of hydrocarbons, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide gas, which contributes to global warming, into the atmosphere when they are burned. Oil and coal also produce sulfur dioxide, a gas that contributes to respiratory problems and acid rain.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are types of fossil fuels?

    A:

    Coal, oil and natural gas are three main types of fossil fuels. Fossils fuels are combustible materials that are formed over millions of years by the decomposition of plant and animal life.

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  • Q:

    What are the four fossil fuels?

    A:

    Four types of fossil fuels include the traditional fossil fuels of oil, coal and natural gas, and a third propriety fuel developed by British Petroleum known as Orimulsion. Fossil fuels are found within the Earth and are used to produce energy.

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  • Q:

    What are some examples of limited resources?

    A:

    Some examples of limited resources include coal, nuclear, natural gas, metal ores and oil. Limited resources are basically those resources that take a relatively long time to replenish. Unlimited resources or renewable resources, such as water, wind and soil, are the opposite of limited resources.

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  • Q:

    Where do fossil fuels come from?

    A:

    Fossil fuels come from organic matter that has decomposed under the intense pressure and heat of the Earth's crust. Fossil fuels are primarily carbon based, although some fuels, such as methane, have higher ratios of hydrogen to carbon. The production of fossil fuels usually takes millions of years to complete. Coal, natural gas and petroleum are all examples of fossil fuels.

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