The end of fossil fuels The end of fossil fuels Fossil fuels, as the name suggests, are very old.
Written and designed by Roy Shepherd. Special thanks to my wonderful wife Lucinda Shepherd, friend Robert Randell and various experts for their support. What are Fossil Fuels? An oil rig - pumps oil from deep underground. A coal mine - large quarry diggers carve out the resource.
What is a fossil fuel? Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons such as coal, oil and natural gas, sourced from the organic remains of prehistoric organisms.
When these fuels are burnt, the energy released can be harnessed to produce electricity, power vehicles, heat homes, cook food and much more.
They are also used in the production of important materials such as plastics. In order to answer this question, we must first distinguish oil and gas from coal. Generally speaking, oil and gas are formed from the organic remains of marine organisms which become entrained within sea-floor sediments.
Coal, by contrast, is typically formed in non-marine settings from the remains of land vegetation. Oil and gas formation begins with the accumulation of organics on the sea-floor; these are the dead remains of organisms living in the water column, such as microscopic plankton, which rain down on the sea floor below.
This will only occur in rather unusual settings, where the sea floor is stagnant such that there is no oxygen present to break the organic remains down and no sea-floor dwelling organisms present that might feed on the organics.
A high sediment accumulation rate of may also help to bury the organics before the action of decay can break them down.
As the sediment pile becomes deeper the organics within it are subjected to heat and pressure which leads to formation of oil and then gas.
For oil and gas extraction, it is important that the source rock is not 'over-cooked' or the hydrocarbons will be destroyed. There must be suitable reservoir-rock, such as a porous sandstone, into which the hydrocarbons can migrate and accumulate.
This must be overlain by an impervious cap-rock, such as a clay, which prevents the hydrocarbons from escaping to the surface.
Finally, the geometry of the reservoir and cap-rock bodies must be such that the hydrocarbons become trapped; usually folding will suffice. Diagram explaining the generation and entrapment of oil and gas.
Fossil ferns within a sheet of coal. Coal typically forms on land from vegetation in lowland, swampy, mire environments.Fossil fuel dependence poses 'direct existential threat', warns UN chief Published: 11 Sep Global demand for fossil fuels will peak in , says thinktank.
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The miracle of the Green Revolution was made possible by cheap fossil fuels to supply crops with artificial fertilizer. The world is waking up to the danger posed by single-use plastics to the environment.
But consumer pressure is not enough to reverse the decades of plastic waste that litter the globe and clog up. Fossil fuels are sources of energy that formed from the accumulated remains of living organisms that were buried millions of years ago.
Pressure, heat and time allow the organic matter to. Fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) have, and continue to, play a dominant role in global energy systems.
Fossil energy was a fundamental driver of the Industrial Revolution, and the technological, social, economic and development progress which has followed.