The non renewable energy
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The non-renewable energy. The Fossil fuels.

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The fossil fuels
The Fossil fuels

  • There are three major forms of fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. All three were formed many hundreds of millions of years ago before the time of the dinosaurs - hence the name fossil fuels. The age they were formed is called the Carboniferous Period. The Carboniferous Period occurred from about 360 to 286 million years ago.

The coal

  • Coal is a readily combustible black or

    brownish-black rock.

    It is a sedimentary rock, but the

    harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rocks because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure. It is composed primarily of carbon along with assorted other elements, including sulfur. It is the largest single source of fuel for the generation of electricity world-wide, as well as the largest world-wide source of carbon dioxide emissions, slightly ahead of petroleum and about double that of natural gas. Coal is extracted from the ground by coal mining, either underground mining or open pit mining (surface mining).

Types of coal
Types of coal

  • As geological processes apply pressure to dead matter over time, under suitable conditions, it is transformed successively into

  • Peat, considered to be a precursor of coal. It has industrial importance as a fuel in some countries, for example, Ireland and Finland.

  • Lignite, also referred to as brown coal, is the lowest rank of coal and used almost exclusively as fuel for steam-electric power generation. Jet is a compact form of lignite that is sometimes polished and has been used as an ornamental stone since the Iron age

  • Sub-bituminous coal, whose properties range from those of lignite to those of bituminous coal and are used primarily as fuel for steam-electric power generation.

  • Bituminous coal, a dense coal, usually black, sometimes dark brown, often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material, used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation, with substantial quantities also used for heat and power applications in manufacturing and to make coke.

  • Anthracite, the highest rank; a harder, glossy, black coal used primarily for residential and commercial space heating.

  • Graphite, technically the highest rank, but difficult to ignite and is not so commonly used as fuel: it is mostly used as pencil lead and, when powdered, as a lubricant.

Use of coal in the world
Use of coal in the world

  • Coal is primarily used as a solid fuel to produce electricity and heat through combustion. World coal consumption is about 5.3 billion tons annually, of which about 75% is used for the production of electricity. China and India use about 1.7 billion tonnes annually, forecast to exceed 2.7 billion tonnes in 2025.63% of China's electricity comes from coal. The USA consumes about 1.0 billion tons of coal each year, using 90% of it for generation of electricity.

Use of coal in the world1
Use of coal in the world

  • Approximately 40% of the world electricity production uses coal.

  • About 92 percent of the coal used in the United States, is for generating electricity.  Except for a small amount of net exports, the rest of the coal is used, as a basic energy source in many industries, including, steel, cement and paper.  The four major uses of coal are:

  • FOR ELECTRIC POWERCoal is used to generate roughly half of all electricity produced in the United States.  Besides electric utility companies, industries and businesses with their own power plants use coal to generate electricity. Power plants burn coal to make steam. The steam turns turbines which generate electricity.

  • FOR INDUSTRYA variety of industries use coal's heat and by-products. Separated ingredients of coal (such as methanol and ethylene) are used in making plastics, tar, synthetic fibers, fertilizers, and medicines. The concrete and paper industries also burn large amounts of coal. 

Use of coal in the world2
Use of coal in the world

  • FOR MAKING STEELCoal is baked in hot furnaces to make coke,  which is used to smelt iron ore into iron needed for making steel. It is the very high temperatures created from the use of coke that gives steel the strength and flexibility for products such as bridges, buildings, and automobiles.

  • FOR EXPORTIn 2005, 49.9 million short tons, or about four percent of the coal mined, was  exported to other countries from the United States.  Coal is exported to many different countries, but most trade is with Canada, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Italy.  More than half of coal exports are used for making steel. 

  • Coal exports have been generally shrinking in the past 10 years, while the amount of coal imported from other countries has been growing. In 2005, about 30.5  million short tons of coal were imported from other countries.  Most of these imports (from Colombia, Venezuela, and Indonesia) were shipped to electric power producers along the U.S. coastlines. Read about a visit to a coal export facility.

Reserve: Coal is more evenly spread over the Earth’s surface than oil. The principal countries possessing coal reserves are the following (2003 figures):

Reserves of coal (carbon coal + lignite) in 2003, in billions of tonnes.

Importance and use of oil
Importance and use of oil

  • Oil provides 40% of the energy in industrial countries. Oil is especially critical for agriculture, transportation, and the chemical industry. To a significant degree, oil is the engine that has driven the explosion in human population - far more oil than sun energy was used to produce your lunch. The production of food, the price of food, and the availability of food are strongly dependent on oil

Discovery and production
Discovery and production

  • Until 1962, the rate at which we discovered new oil was an upward curve. But 1962 was the peak of oil discovery. Since that year, the discovery of new oil deposits has been in a steady decline

  • Based on their information, the Petroconsultants' report projected that "world oil production peaked in 1999 at 65.6 million barrels per day (mbpd) and then will decline to 52.6 mbpd in 2010."

  • So, the projected production in 2010 is 52 mbpd. On the other hand, based on current consumption trends, the projected rate of consumption in 2010 is in the neighborhood of 94 mbpd

Producers of oil
Producers of oil

  • To make this story more interesting, there are two primary sources of oil: OPEC and non-OPEC. The OPEC countries, mostly in the Middle East, possess the bulk of the world's oil reserves. The production of the smaller non-OPEC reserves has peaked, and is in decline. Within ten years, OPEC will be the world's primary source of oil.


  • OPEC or Organization of Petroleum Exporters Countries

The future of oil
The future of oil

  • Oil was first discovered in the U.S. in 1859. At the beginning of the 20th century it supplied only 4% of the world’s energy; decades later it became the most important energy source.Today oil supplies about 40% of the world’s energy and 96% of its transportation energy. Since the shift from coal to oil, the world has consumed over 875 billion barrels. Another 1,000 billion barrels of proved and probable reserves remain to be recovered. From now to 2020, world oil consumption will rise by about 60%. Transportation will be the fastest growing oil-consuming sector. By 2025, the number of cars will increase to well over 1.25 billion from approximately 700 million today. Global consumption of gasoline could double. The two countries with the highest rate of growth in oil use are China and India, whose combined populations account for a third of humanity. In the next two decades, China's oil consumption is expected to grow at a rate of 7.5% per year and India’s 5.5%. (Compare to a 1% growth for the industrialized countries). It will be strategically imperative for these countries to secure their access to oil.

This chart shows how large coal reserves often exist in regions which have small reserves of oil and gas, thereby offering an alternative to these and reducing the risk of resource wars. For example, the Middle East has two thirds of the world's oil but only 5% of the coal. Asia Pacific, North America and Europe all have little oil and gas but large supplies of coal. Unfortunately, some areas such as Africa and South America lose out on all three resources.