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Coal (previously referred to as pitcoal or seacoal) is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by underground mining or open-pit mining (surface mining). It is a readily combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock. It is composed primarily of carbon along with assorted other elements, including sulfur.
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Methane hydrate, or methane ice, is a form of water ice that contains a large amount of methane within its crystal structure (a clathrate hydrate). Originally thought to occur only in the outer regions of the solar system where temperatures are low and water ice is common, extremely large deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of Earth. This resource also may have important implications for climate change. When released to the air, methane is a greenhouse gas that traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide (another greenhouse gas). When burned, methane releases up to 25% less carbon dioxide than the combustion of the same mass of coal and does not emit the nitrogen and sulfur oxides known to damage the environment.
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Oil and gas are considered among the world's most important fossil energy resources. The oil and gas industry plays a critical role in driving the global economy. Petroleum itself is used for numerous products, in addition to serving as the world's primary fuel source. The processes and systems involved in producing and distributing oil and gas are highly complex, capital-intensive and require state-of-the-art technology.
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Fossil fuels, also known as mineral fuels, are hydrocarbon-containing natural resources such as coal, oil and natural gas. The utilization of fossil fuels has enabled large-scale industrial development and largely supplanted water driven mills, as well as the combustion of wood or peat for heat.
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Last update: Saturday, November 26, 2011 6:24:42 AM EST - edit