ELI5-How are fossile fuel made?

72 views
0

ELI5-How are fossile fuel made?

In: 1

Im pretty sure fossil fuel is a natural resource that isn’t manufactured. Im sure there’s an answer into how the scientific process played out millions of years ago, but that’s all I know we are getting organic earth juice

“Fossil fuel” is a very large term in that it applies to many types of substances we would refer to as “fuel”, such as coal, oil, gasoline and so on.

I’m assuming you’re only talking about products derived from oil, like gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and so on.

The process of creating these fuels is called “refining” and involves lots of steps, mostly centered around heating the oil and breaking it down into fractions- each successive step generates another kind of fuel, with the worst- bunker fuel oil, basically one step above road tar at one end and the most refined- like kerosene and jet fuel- at the other.

The process is complicated, but it basically comes down to “boil it in successive stages and skim off part of it each time”.

Plants, often tiny algae, grow in the light of the Sun. When they die, they get buried. The soil builds layers on top of the dead plants, eventually sealing them between clay layers. As tectonic plates collide the sedementary layers are folded. Millions of years of. Heat and pressure transform the hydrocarbons in the plants into oil and/or gas.

Depends on the fuel.
Generally it’s living material that was buried and broken down with heat and time. Living material has long chains of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen for things like proteins and cells. Over time the oxygen gets pushed out since it wants to react with other things. Leaving behind carbon and hydrogen, which is why they’re called hydrocarbons.

Coal is plant matter that decomposed and became buried.
Oil is plankton from about 200 million years ago that died and sank to the bottom. Covered in mud, and then decomposed with their long proteins breaking down into hydrocarbons.