What is a fossil fuel?
Natural gas, coal and oil are hydrocarbons that are formed from decayed plants and animals, millions of years ago. Since these are formed from the remains of organisms, they are called fossil fuels.
Burning of these fossil fuels releases heat that is used to produce electricity, power vehicles, heat homes, cook food and much more.
However, burning of fossil fuels releases a number of harmful pollutants into atmosphere that cause health and environmental problems. Burning of these fuels is the major cause of global warming problem which is a major concern for the whole world. When fossil fuels are burnt they release harmful gases such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide etc.
Advantages of Fossil Fuels
- Easily Available: the modern advancements in technology have made the extraction of fossil fuels very easy. This has made the availability of fossil fuels very easier.
- Produce Large Amount of Energy : Fossil fuels are easily combustible and produce large amount of energy when burnt. This energy is used for various purposes from cooking food to running gigantic machines like ships. Fossil fuels have high calorific value in terms of energy. That is why they are preferred over other sources of energy.
- Transportation : Oil, gas and coal can be easily stored and transported from one place to another. Since they are composed of carbon and hydrogen primarily, they are quite stable and this makes them easy to transport. Transporting oil and gas to the power stations can be made through the use of pipes making it an easy task.
- Abundantly Available: Since these are abundantly available, these are common ones to use. Oil, gas and coal are found all over the globe.
- Low Cost : The procedure of extraction of fossil fuels is not expensive which eventually means that these will be available at low cost.
- Easy Set Up : easy availability makes the construction of fossil fuel power plant easy as long as there is a consistent and sufficient quantities of fossil fuel available which is require to generate large amount of power at a single location.
Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels
- Burning of fossil fuels it the major cause of air pollution currently. When they are burnt they release carbon dioxide which causes greenhouse effect which is the cause for global warming today.
- Burning of coal release sulphur dioxide, which creates acid rain.
- Coal mining results in destruction of landscape and this harms the enviromment. Also, coal mining is a very dangerous job for miners.
- Oil releases toxic gases which pollute the air and makes in harmful for humans and other life forms.
- The increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because of burning of fossil fuels is damaging the ozone layer that surrounds the earth. The ozone layer protects us from harmful UV rays of the sun and the holes created in ozone layer allow these rays to pass through and harm organic life humans and animals altogether.