Fuels are a substance of great importance today and, as such, fulfill a relevant function since they are the means by which machines can function properly and vehicles can transport materials or people from one place to another. Fuels are a type of material that has a wide variety of properties , which can easily burn and give off heat .
A fuel is any type of substance or material that has the great ability to release potential energy at the time it oxidizes , in other words, when it faces a combustion process .
- What is fuel for?
- Fuel types
- How is it obtained
- How does it work
- Importance of fuel
What is fuel for?
Fuel is a type of liquid , solid or gas that is used to produce heat . They are also an important source of primary energy and the means by which potential energy can be released , so that it is later transformed into usable energy which can have different types. It is very useful for a large number of functions that are carried out in everyday life, in the field of electricity , transport and machinery .
During the first years in the history of the automobile, hydrocarbons were the favorite fuels of car designers because they had a better performance, however, with the passage of time, they were left aside. Since 1806, they began to create engines that used coal as a propulsion system and later, diesel , was used exclusively for today’s cars with the same name.
Coal has too high a density , it was too dirty to be transported from one place to another and also had a tendency to explode , in addition to this, when burned it produced large amounts of pollution , for this reason, it stopped being a viable fuel option. In 1886 , Karl Benz presented his Motorwagen car , and as an energy source he used gasoline , thereby giving way to the use of hydrocarbons. From that moment, gasoline began to be used even more in internal combustion engines due to the availability of the hydrocarbon that was made with oil .
Regarding the term of fuels, there are a great variety of types, which can be classified as follows:
- Gasoline : this type of fuel results from the mixture between hydrocarbons which is obtained through the distillation of oil . It is used primarily as a fuel medium for internal combustion engines.
- Diesel : in this case, it is a hydrocarbon of liquid consistency which is composed of paraffins . It is used as a form of fuel in heating and in engines that use the diesel cycle, in other words when it is activated by means of compression.
- Liquefied Petroleum Gas – This is a mixture that is made with various liquefied gases that are present in natural gas or that are dissolved in petroleum. It is made up of primarily propane and butane and is used as a substitute for gasoline.
- Natural gas: this gas is a type of non-renewable energy source. It is created from a mixture of light gases that have a natural origin and the main component is methane . It is considered as the fuel that causes the least amount of damage to the environment, it is much cheaper than other types of fuels but its distribution is more difficult.
- Bio-diesel : this type of fuel is considered an important source of renewable energy because it is made up of various oils of vegetable origin and because its components do not have any type of petroleum derivative.
- Ethanol : ethanol is a type of chemical compound that is obtained through the fermentation of sugars. It is sometimes used as a type of fuel and can be used alone or in combination with gasoline . It is generally used as a replacement for derivatives that come from oil.
- Biofuels : they are a series of substances generated from the plant kingdom . It is a type of renewable fuel and can be presented in solid , gaseous or liquid state .
Among the main characteristics of fuels are the following:
- It is characterized by giving off heat through combustion.
- The potential energy that originates from fuels is transformed into thermal energy .
- When burned they have the ability to produce waste in the environment .
- They have a certain ignition point .
- They can produce large amounts of energy thanks to their great calorific potential .
- Some of them are renewable .
How is it obtained
Fuels can be obtained in several ways, the main one, which is gasoline, can be obtained through crude oil which is born in the subsoil of the earth or in underwater deposits . After the oil is extracted, they are stored in tanks and taken to the refineries where the process known as fractional distillation is applied , which consists of heating the crude until it reaches its boiling point and then is subjected to several refining processes that purify it.
How does it work
A fuel system is the means by which it can function properly. This tank is made up of a pump , a filter , injectors also known as a carburetor and all these components must work properly in order to achieve the performance that is needed.
In the case of alternative fuels, the following advantages are presented:
- They occur less amounts of carbon dioxide .
- It is a good way to recycle .
- They are renewable and therefore inexhaustible .
- You can preserve your reserves .
- They are biodegradable .
- They are cheaper .
Fossil fuels such as methane , oil and coal have the advantage of being more energetic, of being more easily stored and transported, and their energy can be more easily extracted.
Among the main disadvantages of fuels are the following:
- They produce a large number of products that pollute the environment .
- May general depletion of soils .
- The fossil fuels also has its disadvantages , because of its shape extraction can cause an increased amount of greenhouse gases , the combustion process releases in the atmosphere several toxic elements also are resources that have a high economic value and its distribution in the planet is not homogeneous.
Importance of fuel
Fuel is of the utmost importance for daily life because through it it is possible to obtain a large number of benefits , from transportation in buses, airplanes, ships, cars and buses to various tasks that are carried out at home . In addition, it turns out to be of vital importance for the formation of energy . Due to its many uses, fuel is a fundamental component of the world economy . Countries with good oil deposits tend to be richer and more developed, while those without them are forced to import fuel at a high price.
Some fuel examples are mentioned below:
- Natural gas
- Alternative fuels