What is fossil fuel

Fossil Fuel Meanings

What is fossil fuel?

Fossil fuel is a non-renewable energy resource that is generated from the decomposition of organic matter from animal and plant remains. When combined with oxygen, organic matter produces energy. Oil, coal, and natural gas are fossil fuels, as well as their derivatives.

In order for fossil fuel to form, it was necessary for organic matter to undergo a natural transformation process, which involved, first, the fossilization of matter, then decomposition and sedimentation. This process took millions of years, and was possible because in those ages, the proportions of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other gases available in the atmosphere were different from today.

Types of fossil fuel


It is an oily and heavy liquid composed of carbon and hydrogen. It is formed through the sedimentation of organic remains, hundreds of meters deep from the earth, thanks to the pressure and high temperatures that affect the biomass.

It is highly valued because from it not only different types of fuels are extracted after refining, but also materials for the industry.

Among its derived products are: gasolineliquefied petroleum gaslubricantsparaffinsasphaltsynthetic fibersplasticscosmetics, etc.

Natural gas

Natural gas is made up of carbon, hydrogen and methane. The gas comes off the oil, so that its fields are close to it. This gas is odorless, that is, it has no odor. Since the gas is highly toxic and flammable, an aroma is added to the extraction process to identify a possible leak.


Coal is a sedimentary rock formed by accumulated plant remains in shallow marshy or marine areas. The plant remains involved are so varied that it gives rise to different types, such as peat, lignite, coal and anthracite. Its chemical composition is, essentially, sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

Fossil fuel uses

Fossil fuel is the main source of energy that is used today, both in the public and home environments. On this depends:

  • Fuel for industrial machinery of all kinds;
  • Transportation fuel;
  • Heating / air conditioning of rooms;

Environmental impact of fossil fuel

Fossil fuel extraction and refining processes can be highly polluting. For example, oil spills may occur during oil extraction processes, which not only contaminate it but also cause the destruction of species in that habitat. Another example is the explosions of gas quarries, which often cannot be controlled and continue to burn and produce carbon dioxide emissions.

The daily use of these fuels also has an impact on the environment, especially those derived from petroleum, such as gasoline or diesel (diesel). The machinery mobilized by these fuels increases the concentration of gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, intensifying global warming and favoring the greenhouse effect.

What is fossil fuel