Q:

What are types of fossil fuels?

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Quick Answer

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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Oil is extracted from the ground as crude oil and refined into products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Though the use of oil has been essential to human technological, economic and social development, there are many problems associated with this fossil fuel. Drilling for oil destroys natural habitats, and the refining process is energy intensive and uses toxic chemicals. Burning oil emits carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere, and the transport of oil can lead to oil spills.

Coal is generally extracted through mining, and its use has historically been a factor in raising standards of living around the world through providing jobs and electricity. However, mining for coal is detrimental to human health, and when unregulated, it can be a dangerous and deadly job. Burning coal releases carbon dioxide and is known to cause ozone pollution and acid rain.

Natural gas is a mixture of methane and other hydrocarbons. It is used for heating and to make a variety of products, including paints, plastics, glass and paper. It also produces carbon dioxide when burned but has a lower carbon output compared to coal and oil. Natural gas extraction can be very damaging to the environment.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are disadvantages of fossil fuels?

    A:

    Disadvantages of fossil fuels include contributions to global warming, environmental pollution and their finite supply. Fossil fuels, which include coal, oil and natural gas, are the primary source of energy in the United States, accounting for 85 percent of the country's fuel usage, as of 2014.

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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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  • Q:

    How do fossil fuels produce energy?

    A:

    Fossil fuels are natural fuels made up of decomposed organic materials that are typically burned to produce steam to turn a turbine, which then produces AC power through a generator. Fossil Fuel energy plants burn either coal, oil or gas in specifically designed combustion chambers to produce the steam.

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  • Q:

    What are examples of fossil fuels?

    A:

    Common examples of fossil fuels include natural gas, oil, peat and coal. These fuels are organic biomass extracted from the remains of primitive organisms that roamed the planet millions of years ago.

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