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Carbon Based Fuels

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Questions

  1. What are carbon based fuels?
  2. How are these fuels obtained?
  3. What quantities of fuels are available?
  4. How do carbon based fuels compare with other sources of energy?

Lecture Notes

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Background Information

Take Away (Main) Points

This is a vast topic - these points are not comprehensive to this topic.
  1. Fossil fuels are formed over millions of years and are not renewable.
  2. The primary fossil fuels we use are coal, gas and oil (petroleum).
  3. All fossil fuels, when burned with oxygen, producs carbon dioxide and water.
  4. Reactions which release heat are called exothermic.
  5. Energy is not created or destroyed - only transformed.
  6. Energy is the ability to do work - but to harness that energy is not always easy to do.
  7. Energy and work are measured in joules or calories.
  8. Power is the rate that energy is transformed - and is measured in watts.
  9. Examples of energy include: light, electricity, heat.
  10. Coal is never pure. It contains traces of sulfur and other heavy metals. To burn coal for energy these pollutants must be removed.
  11. Oil is a mixtured of many substances - these have to be separated to be useful. This is called oil refining.
  12. Methane, CH4, is natural gas. It is primarily used to heat homes and businesses in this country.
  13. Fossil fuels supply 85% of the energy used in the United States.

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