Fossil Fuels and their Uses


Oil is used widely all over the world in a variety of uses such as gasoline, jet fuel and lubricants, its in Hugh demand and the worlds finite source of oil is running out. America is aiming to take more responsibility for their own oil and are planning a Dakota access pipeline to transport oil underground from the Dakota oil fields to Illinois. However, the development has faced a lot of conflict as it crosses first settlers land and farmers fields. In possibly our lifetime oil will run out and we will have to turn to other sources of fuel such as biomass or wind energy.

The formation of oil

Hundreds and thousands of millions of years ago plants and marine life died and dropped to the depth of the ocean where they lay decaying. There they were covered with a layer of sedimentary rocks. Over long periods of time this layer is then covered by a layer of impermeable rock and more sedimentary rock. Today by using oil rigs we can dig down and access the base layer, which now due to high pressure and intense heat has converted to oil. This oil is dig up and transported and used in a variety of industries.

Oil is sometimes referred to as buried sunshine because the energy in oil was originally in the for, of sunlight. The sunlight was taken in by algae and plants in the sea which were consumed by fish and marine life. When the marine life died the energy was transported with them and trapped under the layers of rock. The energy in our oil was originally sunlight, hence the term buried sunlight.

Should we build th pipeline?


In Obamas term as president he opposed the pipeline due to the disruption it could have caused to the farmland and early settlers land. It was proposed that the pipeline would create 8000-12000 jobs, however it was later shown that this was only during the development of the pipeline. After the pipeline has been developed there will only be 40 jobs needed to maintain and repair the pipeline.

Another big issue is that oil is a finite resource and that in our lifetime possibly and definitely the lifetime of our children it will run out. The earth has to prepare for a time when we will no longer have oil as a resource. Is it worth spending billions on a new pipeline when in reality it may only be needed for around 100 years? It could be a much more sustainable development to invest in solar energy or wind farms or the development of biofuels to prepare ourselves for when oil runs out.

Should we build the pipeline?


During the start of his term of office as president of the United States Donald Trump has declared that the pipeline will be built and the process has begun. An increase in oil production will give America a greater independence. In comparison to transportation by vehicle a pipeline is a safer and more long term solution to transportation issues.

During the production and building of the pipeline 8000 to 12000 jobs will be created not to mention a demand on resources from primary sector industry. It is estimated that the pipeline will bring in $55million annually from services to schools, businesses, roads and emergency services. The pipeline will also ease transportation problems in the South of Dakota, it will ease shortages in agriculture and other industry.

Oil is a linear system, this means that it cannot be replaced. The system is not sustainable and in a few years it will indefinitely run out. By using oil we are opening a once closed loop system. The waste products of the system are not usable by products and are therefore wasted.

The Products of burning Oil

The combustion of oil gives out

  • Sulphur Dioxide - damages the lungs and respiratory system, acid rain, affect acidic levels in lakes, acid rain, stunting the growth of plants, structural damage.
  • Nitrogen Oxides - heart and lung conditions, acid rain, affect acidic levels in lakes, acid rain, forestry damage, stunting growth of plants, structural damage.
  • Carbon Monoxide - headaches nausea and dizziness, lungs nd heart illnesses. Can eventually lead to death.
Biofuels as an alternative

As our oil is a finite source and will eventually run out. Therefore, it is vital that we have a plan to use new and sustainable fuels such as solar energy, hydroelectricity, geothermal power and wind power. One of these sustainable sources and energy is biofuel. Biofuel is derived solely from organic and dead matter. It can come from by products and is easy to grow quickly. Although it seems a good alternative there are some issues, for example to generate enough biofuel for America alone, every single acre of farmland would have to be used which is unrealistic. However, countries such as Russia could have much more open space to designate to growing these crops.

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