Coal and Petroleum

12/16/2014 CBSE

Coal and Petroleum

Natural Resources:

There are two types of natural resources:

Inexhaustible Natural Resources and Exhaustible Natural

Inexhaustible Natural Resources: Resources which do not
exhaust and which are available in plenty in nature are known as inexhaustible
natural resources. For example � air, sunlight, etc.

Exhaustible Natural Resources: Resources which get exhausted
and are not available in nature in plenty and are known as exhaustible natural
resources. They take longer to get replenished. For example � coal, petroleum,
forest, minerals, etc.

Coal and Petroleum: Coal and petroleum are exhaustible natural
resources as their availability is limited in nature. Coal and petroleum are
used mainly as fuel. Coal is used as fuel, petroleum products are used to run
vehicle and for many other purposes. Coal and petroleum are known as fossil
fuels since they are formed from remains of living organism.


Coal is a black coloured stone-like material. Coal is used to
produce electricity in thermal power stations. Coal was used to run steam engine
till recent years in India. Coal gives carbon dioxide when burnt in air.

Formation of Coal

About 300 millions year ago, dense forest in low lying lands
of earth got buried because of many natural processes. In the due course, they
sank deeper and deeper. Inside the earth, because of high pressure and
temperature they slowly converted into coal. Such slow process of conversion of
dead vegetation into coal is called carbonization.

Coal is considered as fossil fuel as it is formed because of
carbonization of dead remains of living organism.

Coal is mined from earth and processed to obtain many useful
products, such as coal, coke, coal tar, etc.


Coke is almost pure form of carbon. Coke is a porous, black
and similar to coal. Coke has high percentage of carbon and very low percent of
impurities. It is obtained from destructive distillation of a particular type of
coal. Coke is used as fuel, as reducing agent in the smelting of iron ore in
blast furnace. It is used in the manufacturing of steel and in the extraction of
many types of metals.

Coal Tar : -

Coal tar is obtained as one of the by-products while obtaining
the coke or coal gas. Coal tar is a highly viscous liquid and brown-black in
colour. It is a variable mixture of many substances.

Coal tar is used in the manufacturing of many products; such
as synthetic dyes, drugs, explosive, perfumes, plastics, roofing material, etc.
as starting material.

Till about two decades ago, coal tar was used as binding
material in the making of roads. Now-a-days bitumen is used in making of roads
in the place of coal tar.

Coal gas

Coal gas is also one of the by-products in the processing of
coke. Coal gas is used as fuel mainly for heating in many industries.


The word petroleum is used for both naturally occurring crude
oil and other petroleum products which are obtained after refining of crude oil,
such as petrol, diesel, etc. Petrol and diesel are highly consumed fuel today as
these are used to run vehicles.

Petroleum is a dark oily liquid having unpleasant odour.

Formation of Petroleum

Petroleum is formed from the dead remains of living organisms
which lived in sea and were buried millions of year ago below the sea bed.
Because of high pressure and temperature those dead remains were transformed
into petroleum. Since, petroleum is the product of dead remains, so it is known
as fossil fuel.

Extraction of petroleum

Petroleum is extracted from the reservoir usually found in sea
beds and river basin by drilling through pipe lines. Such places where reservoir
of petroleum are found and extracted out by drilling are known as oil well.

Refining of Petroleum

After extraction, petroleum is refined to obtain petrol,
diesel, lubricating oil, wax, paraffin, bitumen, kerosene, etc. Place where
refining process of petroleum is done is called petroleum refinery.

Some of the petroleum products and their uses

Petroleum products
Petrol Fuel in motor car, aviation,
solvent for dry cleaning
Diesel Fuel for heavy vehicle, such as
trucks, rail engine, small vehicle, such as jeep car, for jet air
crafts, small generators, etc.
Liquid Petroleum
Fuel in households, and in
Kerosene Fuel for stoves, jet aircrafts,
lamps, etc.
Lubricating oil Used as lubricants mainly in
Paraffin wax Used in manufacturing of ointment,
candles, cosmetics, etc.
Bitumen Used in making of paints, road,

Natural Gas

Natural gas is naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas. Natural
gas is a mixture of methane, higher alkanes, carbon dioxide, etc. Natural gas is
found in deep underground rock formation as fossil fuel. It is one of the most
important fuel.

Natural gas can be transported through pipeline and can be
compressed to smaller volume. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is used for running
vehicle. Natural gas can be used directly for burning as fuel. It is a clean
fuel as it creates least pollution.

Natural gas is used as starting material in many industries,
such as fertilizer and chemical.

In India natural gas reserves are found in Tripura, Rajasthan,
Maharashtra, and Krishna and Godavari delta.

Some Natural Resources are Limited

Petroleum, coal, natural gas, etc. are natural resources but
available in limited amount. Thus, it is necessary to use them with care.

Some steps to conserve
fossil fuels (Natural Resources):

  • Switch off the engine of vehicle when waiting on signals
    or at other places.
  • Drive the vehicle with constant and moderate speed.
  • Maintain the correct tyre pressure for low consumption of
  • Maintain the vehicle by regular checking to ensure less
    consumption of fuel

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