Fossil fuel

Unlike solar energy, fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gass and oil, are not renewable. By burning the fossil fuels, we are able to use the chemical energy released to power our cities. Over 80% of the energy we used today is supplied by the combustion of fossil fuels.

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Formation of Oil

It is believed that fossil fuel comes from plants and animals' dead bodies million years ago. The majority of these life forms were phytoplankton and zooplankton. When they died, their bodies sunk down to the bottom of the seabed. The actual transformation is a mystery; however, scientists know that pressure, heat and large amount of time are needed.
Geologists believe that the beds of the organic bodies are mixed with silt and mud. Minerals, over time, formed above the organisms due to sedimentation. The organisms are covered with hard minerals and rocks. With helps of gravity, the rocks increased the pressure and temperature of the organisms. This condition caused the organic material to break down into the simpler form of hydrocarbons, chains of carbon and hydrogen ranging from simple configuration to complex compounds. Oil and gas are various mixtures of hydrocarbons. The high pressure also caused the oil and gas to rise. But they can not penetrate the rock formations so they are trapped underground.

Formation of Coal

Coal is formed through coalification. Coal is made of decomposed plant matter in conditions of high temperature and pressure. Its formation is similar to oil’s but it takes less time to form.

History of usage of Fossil Fuel

Before steam engines were invented, heavy industry depended on mechanical water power to grind flour, saw wood, and so forth. Industrialization led to a higher rate of energy usage. Fossil fuel led to development and it played a crucial rule as energy sources, inputs for agriculture, and feedstocks for chemical manufacture.

The Industrial Revolution marked a big change for people of the world. Many of the agriculture based societies that used human and animal labor forces switched to use machines to do work. Coal was commonly used in the early era of industrialization until internal combustion engine and the automobile were invented. Oil and gas became the most common fossil fuel people used.


"Chapter 1The Development of Energy." Scienceclarified. 2 Apr. 2009
Chughtai, Osman, and David Shannon. "Fossil Fuels." 10 Mar. 2009
"Fossil fuels and industrialization." 24 Jan. 2009. 10 Mar. 2009