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Hydrocarbon fuels

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Nadira Chowdhury 12g 1st November 2005 Hydrocarbon Fuels Fuels are substances that burn in reactions with oxygen on a large scale, with transfer of energy to the surroundings. Fossil fuels are the most common and widely used fuels around today. The essential reaction for any chemical fuel includes: Fuel + Oxygen Oxidation + Energy transfer products Fossil fuels are a non renewable source of fuels and include coal, oil and gas. These are raw materials that supply feedback for most of our chemical industry. These have been produced over millions of years and are being consumed rapidly. If we run out of fossil fuels they cannot be reproduced which is why it is important to use them efficiently. Crude oil and natural gas provide fuel for heating, electricity generation and transport. Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons with small molecules. These molecules are made of atoms of carbon and hydrogen. For example, natural gas used in the home is mainly methane, CH4. Crude oil is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, with a varying composition depending on its source. ...read more.


Transporting oil and gas to the power stations is also very easy. Gas-fired power stations are very efficient and a fossil-fuelled power station can be built almost anywhere, so long as you can get large quantities of fuel to it. However there are many disadvantages the most common and serious being pollution. Spillage of fuels can cause great damage in streams and ponds resulting in immense loss of animal and plant life and an enormous cost of cleaning it up. Oxidation of carbon-based compounds produces vast amounts of carbon dioxide which contributes to the green house effect causing an increase in atmospheric temperatures which is then likely to cause changes in climate and weather patterns. A large variety of compounds, including carcinogens, appear in the smoke from burning coal and wood. Inefficient burning of carbon-based fuels in defective furnace and domestic gas fires produces poisonous gas carbon monoxide. This can cause problems in health as if it is breathed in it can take up the oxygen space in hemoglobin and react with the iron, this would mean that the body would not function properly and death will follow. ...read more.


not produce a lot of carbon monoxide when burnt Disadvantage: mixture of methanol and petrol absorb water and may cause corrosion of car engines * NUCLEAR FUELS: when the nuclei of atoms of isotopes of uranium undergo fission (splitting) in a chain reaction very large amounts of energy is released Advantage: there are no carbon, nitrogen and sulphur produced. Disadvantage: Radioactive waste products are difficult to store and treat. * MOVING AIR: WIND The energy of moving air is transferred into the motion of windmills and wind turbines Advantage: no pollution is produced and it is renewable Disadvantage: can be expensive to generate electricity for a large scale. Is not very reliable as it needs wind which is not always available. * MOVING: WATER Stored water behind dams or from waterfalls can be released through turbines and generate electricity Advantage: can be used on large scale and is quite predictable Disadvantage: quite costly * SUNLIGHT: Solar panels are used to heat water and photovoltaic cells are used to convert light into electricity Advantage: pollution free with no waste products Disadvantage: the sun is not always available in countries like the UK and also there is no sun at night time. ...read more.

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