Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

8: Energy from Fossil Fules

  • Page ID
    • 8.1: Energy
      Energy is the ability to do work and uses the unit joule. The law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system does not increase or decrease.
    • 8.2: Electricity Generation
      Electricity is produced at a an electric power plant. Some fuel source, such as coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear energy produces heat, which is used to boil water to create steam. The steam under high pressure is then used to spin a turbine that interacts with a system of magnets to produce electricity. The electricity is transmitted as moving electrons through a series of wires to homes and business.
    • 8.3: Fossil Fuels
      Fossil fuels is the term given to energy sources with a high hydrocarbon content (see Chapter 1 for a review of hydrocarbon molecules) found in the Earth’s crust that formed in the geologic past and can be burned to release their energy.
    • 8.4: Hydrocarbons
      The simplest organic compounds are hydrocarbons and are composed of carbon and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons can be aliphatic or aromatic; aliphatic hydrocarbons are divided into alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes. The combustion of hydrocarbons is a primary source of energy for our society.
    • 8.5: Branched Hydrocarbons
      A unique name can be given to branched hydrocarbons. A unique structure can be drawn for the name of a hydrocarbon.
    • 8.6: Coal
      Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock with a high amount of carbon and hydrocarbons. For us to use the potential energy stored in coal, it first must be mined from the ground.
    • 8.7: Acid Rain
      The pH of "normal" rain has traditionally been given a value of 5.6. However scientists now believe that the pH of rain may vary from 5.6 to a low of 4.5 with the average value of 5.0. Acid rain or acid snow is a direct result of the method that the atmosphere cleans itself. The tiny droplets of water that make up clouds, continuously capture suspended solid particles and gases in the atmosphere. The gases of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides are converted into sulfuric and nitric acids.
    • 8.8: Acid Rain Transport
      The reactions of sulfur oxides to form sulfuric acid are quite slow. Sulfur dioxide may remain airborne for 3-4 days.As a consequence acid rain derived from sulfur oxides may travel for hundreds of miles or even a thousand miles. Nitrogen oxides may persist for only about one half day and therefore may travel only tens or hundreds of miles.
    • 8.9: Acid Snow
      The impact of acid precipitation on aquatic ecosystems may be intensified by melting snow. When snow melts rapidly in the spring, the stream or lake may be "shocked" with an excessive amount of acid. In the spring, at the time of acid snow melting, the various aquatic organisms are reproducing and are the most sensitive increases in acid.
    • 8.10: Oil
      Petroleum Oil is currently the most widely used fossil fuel and accounts for about one third of global energy consumption. Unlike coal, which is primarily used as a fuel for electricity generation, oil is primarily used as a fuel for transportation. Oil is also used to manufacture plastics and other synthetic compounds ubiquitous to our everyday life.
    • 8.11: Natural Gas
      Technology has been developed to capture the natural gas and either reinject it into the well or compress it into liquid natural gas (LNG). Natural gas is predominately composed of methane (CH4).
    • 8.12: Outdoor Air Pollution
      Air pollution refers to the introduction, into the atmosphere, of substances that have harmful effects on humans, other living organisms, and the environment either as solid particles, liquid droplets or gases. Air pollution can result from natural processes such as dust storms, forest fires, and volcanic eruptions, or from human activities such as biomass burning, vehicular emissions, mining, agriculture, and industrial processes.
    • 8.13: Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health
      The World Health Organization (WHO) and other international agencies recognize air pollution as a major threat to human health. Numerous scientific studies have linked air pollution to a variety of health problems

    • Was this article helpful?