Fossil fuels are remains of dead plants and animals buried deep under the earth’s crust. Fossil fuels power our life, and have for over a century. They are non-renewable sources of energy that take millions of years to develop and provide us with power to light and heat our homes, drive our vehicles and develop our modern lifestyles. Fossil fuels come in the form of coal, oil or natural gas. They are the cheapest and easiest of all fuels to acquire and use.
There is a lot of debate about the continued exploration and mining rates for. Considering that almost all of our systems of power are designed to work with them – changing to another energy source is expensive and complicated. That isn’t the real problem with fossil fuels. The real problem is getting people to see that talking in terms of 100 years, or a thousand years, means it is important to consider now in what we do. It is hard to get people to connect to a sense of responsibility for the future, but with education it can be done.
Below are 25 Interesting Facts About Fossil Fuels
Fact 1: All fossils fuels are the result of plant decomposition that happened millions of years ago – under water. The most recent discovery of an untapped oil field was discovered in Alaska. The ice is thought to have covered a sea that existed millions of years ago.
Fact 2: Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas and oil. The current statistics show that globally, fossil fuels provide for over 85% of all the energy we consume.
Fact 3: Prospecting for oil requires measuring the type of rock that is beneath the Earth’s surface. Scientist drill to remove a core sample, and then examine the strata levels to determine if there is evidence of the plant decomposition needed to have created the crude oil.
Fact 4: Crude oil is found in underground areas called reservoirs that can be turned into products such as gasoline and electricity.
Fact 5: Coal is a combustible rock that is black in color. It runs in veins through the rock beneath the surface of the Earth. Coal mines allow miners to go underground to remove the veins from the rock itself.
Fact 6: Natural gas is a form of methane. It gets trapped in pockets where plant decomposition has occurred. It can be underground, but it can also be above ground if the organic compounds in the water source of are the right type. New experiments are working to discover how to harvest methane from the waste products of animals such as cows.
Fact 7: Fossil fuels are not a renewable resource even though we have not located all of the reserves there are in the world. They take millions of years to produce. It is estimated that given our current trend in consumption, and the predictive discovery of new sources of fossil fuels, that the world will run out of them within 100 to 200 years.
Fact 8: Fossil fuels, when burned, can be used to generate electricity or power vehicles.
Fact 9: Fossil fuels cannot be produced by humans and must first be burned to be used as electricity.
Fact 10: Natural gas is transported to houses using underground pipelines that connect directly to natural gas source.
Fact 11: Fossil fuels are such a common source of energy in our world because they are so easy to convert into energy. All of them are based in hydrocarbons, which only have to be burned to release their energy.
Fact 12: Americans use about 18 millions barrels of oil everyday.
Fact 13: It takes almost 26 tons of raw petroleum to produce 1 liter of gas. It takes almost 800 pounds of coal to power a light bulb 24/7 for an entire year. It would take the natural process of decomposition of materials 422 years to replace what we currently consume in a year in fossil fuels.
Fact 14: Today, fossil fuels supply more than 90% of the world’s energy.
Fact 15: When fossil fuels are burnt, they release toxic gases into the atmosphere and can cause air pollution and serious health problems.
Fact 16: Mining and processing fossil fuels is also very cheap to do compared to the cost of converting them to energy. This is one reason that it is hard to make renewable energy sources successful, all of them require a heavy investment to even get the raw materials to turn into energy we can use.
Fact 17: Coal is only as good as the amount of carbon in it. The best coal, Anthracite, is 95% carbon. It also took 300 million years to produce it. If nothing changes about the rate of coal consumption there is enough to last over a thousand years. However, if the rate of consumption rises even 5%, there is less than hundred years supply.
Fact 18: Fossil fuels are responsible for majority of environmental issues like global warming, acid rain, air pollution, water pollution that we are dealing with today. Their production and consumption is one of the biggest contributors to pollution in the world.
Fact 19: As compared to non-renewable sources of energy, renewable sources of energy are neat, clean and do not pollute the environment.
Fact 20: Fossil fuels are made up of hydrocarbons which store energy in the form of atomic bonds. To release energy, you just need to burn them.
Fact 21: The burning of natural gas releases less carbon dioxide than other than other fossil fuels per energy unit.
Fact 22: Fossil fuels get their energy from the sun. Plants that turned into fossil fuels used photosynthesis to capture energy from the sun.
Fact 23: Natural gas is tasteless and cannot be detected. Therefore, a chemical called mercaptan is added so that leaks are easily detected.
Fact 24: Texas, Alaska and California are top 3 oil producing states in US.
Fact 25: Drilling for oil in sea can disturb marine life, specially when there is oil spill. Leaking storage tanks can create toxic fumes and pollute groundwater.