Fossil fuels are an energy rich resource which is converted to electricity in power stations. The main and primary fossil fuels are coal, oil and natural gases. All fossils are mainly composed of hydrocarbons, but some fossil fuels contain more of it than others. Fossil fuels are found underground, and are combustible deposits of decayed animals, micro organisms and plants.
Fossil fuels are formed from animals and plants that had died millions of years ago. When they died, they got buried under many layers of sediment that accumulated. They were also subjected to steadily increasing heat and high pressure from the weight of the sediment above them. Through these conditions, and after millions of years, they eventually got chemically transformed into hydrocarbons from the organic material that died. This doesn't happen with all organisms that die, as most get destroyed by oxidation, and by micro organisms that feed on them. Organisms that don't get destroyed either get buried under sediment or get deposited in areas of low oxygen. One of the main places where it would survive would be if it died along the continental shelves or in a sedimentary basin, which is a depression in the Earth’s crust where sediment is able to accumulate. Sediment may be several thousand feet deep in a basin, and would exert pressures of over tens of thousands of pound per square inch and temperatures of several hundred degrees.
Advantages[edit | edit source]
- Produces lots of energy
- Cheap to produce
Disadvantages[edit | edit source]
- Produces greenhouse gases which affect climate change
- Supply of fossil fuels is limited