Coal and Petroleum

Coal and Petroleum 

 

  • Various materials fulfill our basic needs, some from nature and others through human efforts. 
  • Essential resources like air, water, soil, and minerals are obtained from nature and are termed natural resources. 
  • Natural Resources Classification:

1. Inexhaustible Natural Resources:

- Inexhaustible natural resources are present in unlimited quantity (e.g., sunlight, air).

- They are unlikely to be depleted by human activities. 

2. Exhaustible Natural Resources:

- Exhaustible natural resources are limited in nature (e.g., forests, wildlife, minerals, coal, petroleum, natural gas).

- They are prone to exhaustion due to human activities. 

  • Fossil Fuels:

- Fossil fuels, including coal, petroleum, and natural gas, originate from the remains of ancient living organisms. 

Coal 

 

  • Appearance: Hard as stone, black in color. 
  • Usage: Traditional fuel for cooking, historically used in railway engines for steam, and a vital resource in thermal power plants for electricity generation. 
  • Industrial Application: Employed as a fuel in various industries. 
  • Formation of Coal:

- Historical Context: Approximately 300 million years ago, Earth hosted dense forests in low-lying wetland areas. 

- Natural Processes: Forests buried under soil due to phenomena like flooding. 

- Compression and Temperature: Over time, accumulating soil compresses the buried forests, increasing temperature with depth. 

- Carbonisation: The slow transformation of dead plants into coal under high pressure and temperature. 

- Mainly Carbon: As coal primarily consists of carbon, the conversion process is termed carbonization. 

- Fossil Fuel Origin: Since formed from ancient vegetation, coal is categorized as a fossil fuel.

 

 

  • When heated in air, coal burns and primarily produces carbon dioxide gas. 
  • Derived Products: In industries, coal is processed to obtain useful products such as coke, coal tar, and coal gas. 
  • Coke:

- Characteristics: Tough, porous, and black substance. 

- Composition: Almost pure carbon. 

- Usage: Essential in steel manufacturing and extraction processes for various metals.

 

 

 

  • Coal Tar:

- Nature: Black, thick liquid with an unpleasant smell. 

- Composition: A complex mixture of about 200 substances. 

- Applications: Products derived from coal tar serve as raw materials for manufacturing various everyday and industrial items—synthetic dyes, drugs, explosives, perfumes, plastics, paints, photographic materials, roofing materials, etc.

 

 

 

- Naphthalene balls, used to repel moths and insects, are also obtained from coal tar.

 

 

 

- Bitumen, a petroleum product, now replaces coal tar for road construction. 

  • Coal Gas:

- Origins: Produced during coal processing to obtain coke. 

- Usage: As a fuel in industries near coal processing plants. 

- Historical Use: First employed for street lighting in London in 1810 and in New York around 1820. 

- Currently employed more for heat than light.

 

Petroleum 

  • "Petroleum" derived from petra (rock) and oleum (oil), mined from beneath Earth's rocks. 
  • Petroleum Characteristics: Dark, oily liquid with an unpleasant odor. 
  • Mixture of various constituents: petroleum gas, petrol, diesel, lubricating oil, paraffin wax, etc. 
  • Common Uses: Petrol for light automobiles, diesel for heavy vehicles obtained from petroleum. 

 

 

 

  • Formation of Petroleum:

- Origins: Formed from marine organisms' remains settled at the sea bottom. 

- Transformation Process: Over millions of years, absence of air, high temperature, and pressure converted dead organisms into petroleum and natural gas. 

 

 

 

  • Geological Deposits: Figure illustrates petroleum and natural gas deposits above water layers. 
  • Density Difference: Oil and gas, being lighter than water, stay above and do not mix with it.

 

 

 

  • First Oil Well: Drilled in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1859. 
  • Oil Discovery in India: Oil struck in Makum, Assam, in 1867. 
  • Indian Oil Deposits: Found in Assam, Gujarat, Mumbai High, and river basins of Godavari and Krishna. 
  • Refining: Separation of various constituents/fractions of petroleum and is conducted in a petroleum refinery. 
  • Constituents of Petroleum and Their Uses:

- Petroleum Gas (LPG): Liquid form used as fuel for home and industry. 

- Petrol: Motor fuel, aviation fuel, solvent for dry cleaning. 

- Kerosene: Fuel for stoves, lamps, and jet aircraft. 

- Diesel: Fuel for heavy motor vehicles, electric generators. 

- Lubricating Oil: Used for lubrication. 

- Paraffin Wax: Utilized in ointments, candles, vaseline, etc. 

- Bitumen: Used in paints and road surfacing.

 

 

 

  • Petrochemicals: Useful substances derived from petroleum and natural gas. Used in manufacturing detergents, fibers (polyester, nylon, acrylic, etc.), polythene, and other synthetic plastics. 
  • Due to its immense commercial importance, petroleum is often referred to as "black gold.

 

Natural Gas 

  • Natural gas is a vital fossil fuel, known for easy transportation through pipelines. 
  • Under high pressure, stored as compressed natural gas (CNG). 
  • Applications:

- Power Generation: CNG utilized for power generation. 

- Transportation: Increasingly used as a fuel for vehicles due to its lower environmental impact and cleaner nature. 

- Advantage of CNG: Can be directly used for burning in homes and factories through pipeline supply networks. 

  • Examples: Existing pipeline networks in Vadodara (Gujarat), some parts of Delhi, and other locations. 
  • Industrial Use:

- Chemical and Fertilizer Manufacturing: Natural gas serves as a starting material for the production of various chemicals and fertilizers. 

  • Indian Reserves:

- India possesses substantial natural gas reserves. 

- Discovered in Tripura, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and the Krishna Godavari delta.

 

Some Natural Resources are Limited 

  • Exhaustible resources like fossil fuels (coal, petroleum), forests, and minerals have finite availability. 
  • Formation of fossil fuels took millions of years, but known reserves will last only a few hundred years. 
  • Environmental Impact and Pollution:

- Burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to air pollution. 

- Linked to global warming, emphasizing the need for responsible use. 

  • Sustainable Practices:

- Encourages using fossil fuels only when absolutely necessary. 

- Advocates for better environmental conditions, reduced global warming, and prolonged availability. 

  • Petroleum Conservation in India:

- PCRA's Role: The Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) in India guides on petrol/diesel conservation. 

- PCRA recommends driving at a constant, moderate speed, switching off engines at traffic lights or waiting areas, and maintaining correct tyre pressure. 

-Regular vehicle maintenance is emphasized for efficient fuel use.