Management Of Natural Resources


Coal and Petroleum

Keshav Bhatia, Academic Content Writer at Edumarz

We know that forest, water and wild-life are resources that we can use as long as we like and they won’t get exhausted only if we use them in a sustainable manner. Coal and Petroleum are important sources of energy and have been since the industrial revolution.

We need it for our basic energy needs and also for the huge number of significant products that are made from them. Use as well as our dependency on coal and petroleum has increased gradually over the years.
We derive these from the coal and petroleum reserves.

Why we need to approach Coal and Petroleum differently than renewable forms of energy:

  1. These resources cannot be renewed and will get exhausted no matter how carefully we use them.

  2. It takes millions of years for coal and petroleum to form, the coal and petroleum we are currently using is a result of the degradation of bio-mass millions of years ago.

  3. After we run out of these resources we’ll have to look for alternative forms of energy,=.

  4. There are various estimates about the lifespan of our current coal and petroleum reserves at current rate of usage, estimates say that coal will last 200 years and Petroleum will last only 40 years.

Pollution and GreenHouse effect

  1. Coal and petroleum are made from biomass, this means that they have hydrogen, sulphur, nitrogen and majorly carbon in them.

  2. When coal and petroleum undergo combustion they produce carbon dioxide, water vapour, oxides of sulphur and nitrogen. 

  3. When these undergo combustion in environments with insufficient air, they produce Carbon Monoxide gas instead of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide gas is poisonous at high concentrations. 

  4. It also produces Carbon dioxide gas, which is a greenhouse gas.

  5. The oxides of Nitrogen and sulphur are poisonous at higher concentrations

  6. If we look at it simply, coal and petroleum are nothing but huge stores of carbon, when they burn they release carbon dioxide causing the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere to increase, which causes global warming. 

  7. This is why judicious use of coal and petroleum is important.

Fuel is used in internal combustion engines and research is going on to eliminate incomplete combustion in these engines and ensure complete combustion to minimise the pollution caused and increase the efficiency of such engines.

The simple choices we make can help us make a difference in our energy consumption patterns. Think of the environment friendliness, pros and cons of the below given choices:

  • Using public transport or your personal automobile or walking on foot or cycling

  • Using bulbs, Led bulbs or fluorescent tubes in your home

  • Walking the stairs or using the lift

  • Wearing warm clothes or using an electronic or coal operated heating device

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