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What are Fossil Fuels?

Fossil fuels are formed over millions of years from the fossils, or remains, of dead animals and plants that were buried under dirt and rock. Heat from inside the earth and pressure from dirt and rock changes these fossils into oil, natural gas and coal. Because it takes millions of years to make or “renew” more fossil fuels, we call them “nonrenewable fuels.” We are currently using the fuels that were made more than 65 million years ago. Once this fuel is gone, it is gone for good.
There are three major forms of fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. All three were formed many millions of years ago during the time of the dinosaurs.
Coal: Coal used in power plants is found abundantly in the northeastern United States and Canada. It is mined in deep mines or in strip mines closer to the surface.
Oil or Petroleum: To find oil and natural gas, companies drill through the earth to deposits deep below the surface. The oil and natural gas are then pumped from below the ground by oil rigs. Before it can be used the petroleum or crude oil must be changed or refined into other products. At oil refineries, crude, thick black oil is split into various types of products through heating. These products include gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel, propane gas, ship oil and oil to burn in power plants to make electricity.
Oil is also made into many different products from fertilizers and clothes, to toothbrushes and plastic bottles. In fact, almost all plastic products come from oil.
Natural Gas: Natural gas is lighter than air and is mostly made up of a highly flammable gas called methane (chemical formula CH4). Methane is a simple chemical compound made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
Natural gas is usually found near underground petroleum deposits. The natural gas is pumped from below ground and sent out in large pipelines. Natural gas is not used in Bermuda as it would not be economically feasible to transport it here by underground pipeline from the United States.
However, the propane gas (chemical formula C3H8) made from crude oil or natural gas can safely be shipped to Bermuda because it becomes an easily transportable liquid under high pressure. Like methane, propane is also made of carbon and hydrogen atoms, but is a more complex chemical compound. Propane gas is used for cooking, barbecuing, hot water heating, clothes drying and for home heating.

Fossil fuels are formed over millions of years from the fossils, or remains, of dead animals and plants that were buried under dirt and rock. Heat from inside the earth and pressure from dirt and rock changes these fossils into oil, natural gas and coal. Because it takes millions of years to make or “renew” more fossil fuels, we call them “nonrenewable fuels.” We are currently using the fuels that were made more than 65 million years ago. Once this fuel is gone, it is gone for good.

There are three major forms of fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. All three were formed many millions of years ago during the time of the dinosaurs.

Coal: Coal used in power plants is found abundantly in the northeastern United States and Canada. It is mined in deep mines or in strip mines closer to the surface.

Oil or Petroleum: To find oil and natural gas, companies drill through the earth to deposits deep below the surface. The oil and natural gas are then pumped from below the ground by oil rigs. Before it can be used the petroleum or crude oil must be changed or refined into other products. At oil refineries, crude, thick black oil is split into various types of products through heating. These products include gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel, propane gas, ship oil and oil to burn in power plants to make electricity.

Oil is also made into many different products from fertilizers and clothes, to toothbrushes and plastic bottles. In fact, almost all plastic products come from oil.

Natural Gas: Natural gas is lighter than air and is mostly made up of a highly flammable gas called methane (chemical formula CH4). Methane is a simple chemical compound made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

Natural gas is usually found near underground petroleum deposits. The natural gas is pumped from below ground and sent out in large pipelines. Natural gas is not used in Bermuda as it would not be economically feasible to transport it here by underground pipeline from the United States.

However, the propane gas (chemical formula C3H8) made from crude oil or natural gas can safely be shipped to Bermuda because it becomes an easily transportable liquid under high pressure. Like methane, propane is also made of carbon and hydrogen atoms, but is a more complex chemical compound. Propane gas is used for cooking, barbecuing, hot water heating, clothes drying and for home heating.

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