EMSC 100
Freshman Seminar in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Introduction to Fossil Fuels and Products of Combustion


In the first lesson on the world and the U.S. energy supply, we clearly established that the dependence on fossil fuels is high (about 84 percent of the total energy), and this dependence is likely to increase in the next two decades.

In this section, we are going to look at what the fossil fuels are and the consequences when these fossil fuels are burnt.

As you may recall from an earlier lesson, these fuels, which we primarily depend on, were formed over millions of years by compression of organic material (plant and animal sources) prevented from decay and buried in the ground. They include:

  • Coal
  • Natural Gas
  • Petroleum Oil