Coal and Petroleum

Natural Resources

Resources include everything provided by the nature. They form the wealth of a country.

Types of Natural Resources:

(i) Inexhaustible: There are some resources that are present unlimited in nature and will not be exhausted even if used continuously. Ex: Sunlight, Air. (ii) Exhaustible: These resources are limited and can soon get exhausted because of their excessive use. Ex: Forests, wildlife, minerals, coal, petroleum, etc.

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels were formed from the dead remains of living organisms millions of years ago. Fossil fuels are exhaustible resources. Coal, petroleum and natural gas are fossil fuels.

1. Coal

Coal, one of the most important primary fossil fuels, a solid carbon-rich material that is usually brown or black and most often occurs in stratified sedimentary deposits. Coke, coal tar and coal gas are the products of coal.

i. Coke

It is a tough, porous and black substance. It is an almost pure form of carbon. Coke is used in the manufacture of steel and in the extraction of many metals.

ii. Coal Tar

It is a black, thick liquid with an unpleasant smell. It is a mixture of about 200 substances.

Uses of Coal Tar:

Used as starting materials for manufacturing various substances used in everyday life and in industry, like synthetic dyes, drugs, explosives, perfumes, plastics, paints, photographic materials, roofing materials, etc. Naphthalene balls used to repel moths and other insects are also obtained from coal tar.

iii. Coal Gas

Coal gas is obtained during the processing of coal to get coke. It is used as a fuel in many industries situated near coal processing plants.

2. Petroleum

Petrol and diesel are obtained from a natural resource called petroleum. The word petroleum is derived from petra (rock) and oleum (oil) as it is mined from between the rocks under Earth. Petroleum was formed from organisms living in the sea. As these organisms died, their bodies settled at the bottom of the sea and got covered with layers of sand and clay. Over millions of years, the absence of air, high temperature and high pressure transformed the dead organisms into petroleum and natural gas. Petroleum gas, petrol, diesel, kerosene, paraffin wax, lubricating oil are obtained by refining petroleum. Refining: Petroleum is a mixture of various constituents such as petroleum gas, petrol, diesel, lubricating oil, paraffin wax, etc. Refining is the process of refracting the various constituents/fractions of petroleum. It carried out in a petroleum refinery.

3. Natural Gas

A very important fuel as it easy to transport through pipes and can be compressed and stored under high pressure as Compressed Natural Gas. It causes no pollution and has a high calorific value. The great advantage of CNG is that it can be used directly for burning in homes and factories where it can be supplied through pipes. Natural gas is also used as a starting material for the manufacture of a number of chemicals and fertilisers.

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