We always hear references to fossil fuels and the greatness of them as energy sources. But what are fossil fuels exactly? They are fuels that have been formed by natural processes. These processes will typically take thousands of years, in some instances, it could take millions of years. Fossil fuels are in abundance right now because they are a relatively newly discovered energy source. However, they are not renewable and when all have been extracted, there will be no more for thousands of years.
Some common advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels are described below.
Advantages of Fossil Fuels
Some say that the advantages of fossil fuels outweigh the disadvantages. Fossil fuels are gaining popularity as energy sources. They are relatively inexpensive and clean. Fossil fuels are comprised of three substances: coal, oil and gas. Here are some of the common advantages of fossil fuels.
- They are easily available. More and more extractions are occurring all over the world and therefore resulting in a large amount of readily available energy sources.
- Fossil fuels are easily combustible. In other words, they produce larger amounts of energy.
- Although fossil fuels are considered a relatively new energy source, in reality they have been around for hundreds of years.
- Every machine that is not run by electricity relies on fossil fuels. Vehicles, machines, devices, etc. are powered by coal, petroleum or natural gas.
- They are considered to be very stable.
- Fossil fuels are easy to store and transport because they are so stable. They are easily distributed.
- The price of fossil fuels is inexpensive.
Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels, for all their advantages, have many disadvantages that have major concerns for humans, animals and the environment. The biggest disadvantage of fossil fuels is the pollution that many are claiming is causing global warming. It is claimed that with global warming, the Earth’s climates are changing. Below is a list of the disadvantages of fossil fuels.
- Pollution and its affects on the Earth and environment. This includes the concepts of global warming and climate shifts.
- Greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere with the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide are harmful gases that are released in large quantities when fossil fuels are used.
- Coal mining is a very dangerous and many workers have been killed in the mines as well as becoming ill with lung diseases after working the coal mines.
- Most facilities that are powered by coal require large quantities of coal to have on hand for use. Storage facilities for the coal are required, this can be pricey.
- While fossil fuels are relatively inexpensive, the prices are rising due to middle eastern countries holding large reserves of oil such as petroleum.
- The production of acid rain from burning fossil fuels.
- Coal mining has created destroyed lands and the mines are creating hazards in the event of natural disasters.
- The extraction of natural gas is leaving large craters within the Earth’s surface.
Fossil fuels are used for many applications despite these limitations. It is better to have a research on both advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels under circumstances to get the best out of it.