18 uses of fossil fuels

18 uses of fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are formed from the remains of dead plants and animals. Fossil fuels are non-renewable as they can take up to a million years to get renewed. Fossil fuel is divided into three forms, namely coal, oil/petroleum, and natural gas. Petroleum is the type of fossil fuel that is used widely. The word petroleum is derived from Latin, where the word “petro” means rock and “oleum” to mean oil. Natural gas and coal are also important as they are used in a good number of activities. The following are the uses of these fossil fuels.


1. Electric power generation

Electricity can be generated using natural gas with steam and gas turbines. Coal and petroleum are also used to produce electric power, but natural gas emits less carbon dioxide in every amount of energy produced. Moreover, natural gas also emits a low amount of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, and particulates as compared to oil and coal. Due to deep concern in climate change, natural gas will be used at large in the production of electricity in countries like the United States.

2. Heating rooms

In the USA, almost half of all homes use natural gas for heating. Natural gas is preferred over electric heating pumps because it is more effective. The average amount of heat produced by natural gas is between 50-60 degrees Celsius. The electric pump delivers the heat of 30-35 degrees Celsius, which can heat a room but cooler than the human body temperature of 36-37 degrees Celsius. The main uses of natural gas are heating and electric generation, but there are other uses apart from that.

3. Water heating

Apart from making our rooms warm, natural gas is also used in heating water. The advantage of using natural electricity is that natural gas is cheap and heats faster. I will recommend you to use natural gas in heating if you consider reducing the electric cost.

4. Transportation

In transportation, we mainly use petroleum and diesel, but natural gas is also developing for automobiles. Over 90% of cars in the world use petroleum and diesel. Gasoline is also used in running lawnmowers and other maintenance equipment.

5. Cooking

In cooking, we can use lighter grades of oil like kerosene is used in stove cooking. We can also use natural gas directly. The advantages of natural gas are, it uses less energy than an electric oven, and it is easy to control the temperature.

6. Air conditioning

This is also a cooling method. In many cases, we use natural gas both directly and indirectly. In most cases, it is used directly; however, there are some natural gas models and products that use it directly.

7. Lighting fire

Natural gas is widely used in homes. For example, it can also be used in fireplaces as wood burning can be messy. No reason to worry about your fire even after going to sleep.

8. Lubricants

Lubricates are crucial in many kinds of machines. It is used in both homes and industries to lubricate machines and make them work efficiently. All kinds of vehicles and machines require lubricants to reduce friction. Apart from the mentioned, the lubricant is also used in cooking, ultrasound examination, medical examinations, and bio application in humans. About 90% of lubricants are made up of base oil.

9. Pharmaceuticals

Petroleum products like petrolatum and mineral oil are required in the manufacture of topical pharmaceuticals and creams. Pharmaceuticals are made up of complex organic molecules; however, it has simple organic molecules which are mostly products of petroleum.

10. Agriculture

In this sector, petroleum is widely used. For instance, in the production of ammonia, this is a source of nitrogen in fertilizers. It is also used in the production of pesticides, which has a great impact on crop yields. Moreover, other machines that are used in agriculture consume petroleum to perform agricultural tasks. In conclusion, agriculture is among the major consumers of petroleum.

11. Production of steel

Coal is required in making a steal. Here, coal is not used directly. The coal is used in the form of coal coke that is formed when coal is baked in furnaces. The coke is used by manufacturers to make steel and smelt iron ore into iron. Hopefully, ammonia gas that is regained from the coke oven is used in the manufacture of fertilizers, ammonia salts, and nitric acid.

12. Electronics

Many electronics components have heat-resistant properties and are insulated. Here, plastics are used as well as petroleum-based products. Most electronics, for example, your smartphone, computers, television, cameras, and speakers, have components from oil.

13. Textiles

Petroleum is used in making fibers like nylon, acrylic, rayon, polyester, vegan leather, and spandex used in making clothing. Moreover, purses and shoes require petrochemicals for durability, lightweight, and water-resistant properties.

14. Sporting goods

A good number of sporting equipment are made up of some petroleum, for example, golf balls, football helmets, skis, fishing rods, tennis rackets, basketballs, and surfboards.

15. Household products

Many products in our homes are produced by petroleum. It is used in construction materials like housing insulation and roofing. Also, furniture, appliances, linoleum flooring, and home décor, for example, curtains, rugs, and pillows. Kitchen items like dishes, dish detergent, dishes cup, and non-stick pans depend on oil during their creation.

16. Detergents, dyes, and others

When petroleum undergoes distillation, it produces benzene, xylene, toluene, and others. These products are then used as raw materials to make synthetic detergents, fabrics, and dyes. For instance, toluene and benzene yield polyurethanes that are frequently used in surfactants and oils. Moreover, it can also be used to varnish wood.

17. Roadway construction

Asphalt bitumen is useful in road construction. It is the best inroads since it has useful properties like waterproof, biding capacity, weather-resistant, and it gives a flexible surface. Asphalt is from the distillation of petroleum or natural deposit. Bitumen serves as a binder that holds asphalt during road construction. Asphalt bitumen is extensively used in the construction of roads due to its properties.

18. Plastic paints and more

Mostly, plastics are made from petrochemicals. Plastics like nylon and others are products of this element. Some plastics are usually made from olefins, and this is ethylene and propylene. Petrochemicals can also be used to make oil-based paints and paint additives. Lastly, petrochemical is found in the film of photographs.

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