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Conventional Energy - Fossil
 

Fossil Fuels

Developed countries use mostly fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the result of living material being buried and compressed over millions of years. They contain the following %:

  • carbon (coal 85% gas 80% oil 85%)

  • hydrogen, (coal 5% gas 20%, oil 12%)

Other constituents are mainly oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur. Some coal 'brown coal' has a high sulphur content and its use in power generating stations is a major contributor to acid rain.

Our reliance on oil imports grew to the point where we became dependent on it for private transportation. The Arab Oil Embargo and subsequent fuel crises in the 1970s and 1980s caused the price of oil to quickly rise.

This led to the exploitation of a limited oil reserve in Alaska, and ultimately led to the Exxon Valdez disaster. In March 1989 a Supertanker owned by Exxon ran a ground in the early morning hours in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Approximately 15 million gallons of oil were deposited in a pristine natural area and cleanup was both slow and difficult.


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2002 Edition