Types of fuel Date: 29/11/2022 | Views: 2951

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Types of fuel
By
Asst. lect. Huda Adil Mohammed

Introduction
Fuels are materials that react with other substances to release heat by way of chemical or nuclear energy:

Substances that react with other proximate substances to release energy, through the process of combustion, are known as chemical fuels. These are divided both by their physical properties (as a solid, liquid, or gas), and by how they occur (as a primary or natural fuel, or as a secondary or artificial fuel).
Substances that can release nuclear energy by fission or fusion, are known as nuclear fuels.
Humans first used wood as a fuel for combustion nearly 2 million years ago. The most common fuel sources today are hydrocarbons.

Solid fuel
Solid materials can be used as fuel to burn and release energy through combustion, which provides heat and light. The most common examples of solid fuels are:

Wood: Includes firewood, charcoal, woodchips, pellets, sawdust, and so on.
Charcoal: Produced by heating wood in the absence of oxygen.
Biomass: Natural plant materials, such as wheat, straw and other fibrous material.
Peat: Organic matter and decayed vegetation that can be burned when dry.
Coal: Combustible sedimentary rock.
Coke: High-carbon material derived from coal.
Waste: Everyday waste can be converted to a fuel source as long as it does not contain toxic materials.

Liquid fuel
Liquids can be used to create mechanical energy, although it is the fumes rather than the fluid of liquid fuels that is flammable. Fossil fuels account for the majority of liquid fuels.

Petroleums
The most common type of liquid fuel is petroleum, formed from dead plants and animals. Examples of petroleum include:

Gasoline/petrol: Produced by removing crude oil from petroleum and distilling it in refineries.
Diesel: A mixture of aliphatic hydrocarbons extracted from petroleum, and processed to reduce the sulphur level.
Kerosene: Extracted from petroleum.
Natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas
Natural gas can be compressed to a liquid and is much 'cleaner' than other hydrocarbon fuels. However, to maintain the fuel in a liquid state it requires a constant high pressure.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a mixture of propane and butane, and is more easily compressed than natural gas.

Biodiesel
This is a diesel fuel based on vegetable oil or animal fat, although it yields around 10% less energy than conventional diesel.

Alcohols
The most common types of alcohol fuels are:

Methanol: Produced from methane, methanol is the lightest and simplest form of alcohol.
Ethanol: Most commonly found in drinks, but can be combined with gasoline for use as a fuel.
Butanol: Usually produced by fermenting biomass using bacteria, butanol has a high energy content.
Hydrogen
Liquefied hydrogen is commonly used as liquid rocket fuel. Large volumes of hydrogen are required for successful combustion.