Part One - Introduction Fossil Fuels are the most important energy sources in our world today. The overwhelming majority of the huge amount of energy used in the world comes from the burning of three major fossil fuels: coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are a non-renewable source of energy, and there is no other . They are formed over a very long period of time; the fossil fuels on earth today were formed from plants and animals that lived up to 300 million years ago. These fossil fuels are found in deposits deep beneath the earth. The fuels are burned to release the chemical energy that is stored within this resource. Energy is essential to modern society as we know it. Over 85% of our energy demands are met by the
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Combustion is the process of breaking atomic bonds to release energy in the form of light and heat. Fossil fuels have many hydrocarbons, each with numerous bonds. When they undergo combustion, they release a great deal of heat. This is the main reason why natural gas and heating oils are used extensively in the world today. However, energy in the form of heat is by nature very chaotic and disorganized. Simply burning fossil fuels is wonderful for keeping the winter chill at bay, but setting oil on fire in your washing machine won't get your clothes clean. Likewise, we can't put petroleum directly out of the ground into our cars and expect them to operate. To make use of the resource of fossil fuels, humans have developed drilling, refining, and methods to harness fossil fuel energy.
Early oil explorers relied heavily on intuition and guesswork to find the precious 'black gold.' These daring entrepreneurs were known as 'wildcatters.' A fabled technique used by the wildcatters is the 'old hat.' They would basically toss their hat up in the air and wherever it landed, they drilled. When the wildcatters got lucky, and struck oil, it would typically gush up the drill pipe, hence, a gusher. Because gushers are a safety hazard and environmental concern, oil companies today contain them. After discovering an oil field, it is the task of the oil company's engineers and technicians to get it out. Not all oil fields turn out to be gushers and even the ones