Any matter which is burnt to produce heat energy is known as a fuel, and their are many different types of fuels. I’ll explain you about them in this article.
Any matter which is burnt to produce heat energy is known as a fuel. Wood, coal, domestic gas (LPG), kerosene, diesel and petrol are used as fuels. Fuels are used in homes, industries and transportation. Most of the fuels are carbon and hydrogen compounds. So, when a fuel is burnt, it combines with the oxygen of air to form carbon dioxide and water vapours. A lot of heat and light is produced during this process.
Calorific Value of a Fuel
All the fuels produce heat on burning. Some fuels produce more heat, whereas others produce less heat. The usefulness of a fuel is measured in terms of its calorific value. The higher the calorific value, the better the fuel will be. The calorific value indicates the amount of heat a fuel liberates when it is burnt.
The amount of heat produced by burning one gram of a fuel completely is known as its calorific value. It is usually expressed in kilo joules per gram (kJ/g)
Characteristics of a Good Fuel
A good fuel should have the following characteristics :
- It should have a high calorific value.
- It should not produce any harmful products like soot and poisonous gases on burning.
- It should cause minimum pollution of air.
- It should be cheap and readily available.
- It should be easy to store, transport and handle.
- It should have a low kindling temperature.
Gaseous fuels are excellent fuels as they satisfy most of the requirements of a good fuel.
Types of Fuels
There are three types of fuels classified on the basis of their physical state:
1) Solid Fuels
Wood, charcoal, coal , coke paraffin and tallow are some of the commonly used solid fuels. Solid fuels require much space for storage and emit smoke and ash on burning.
A Very important solid fuel is Coal. To read more about coal, Click Here.
2) Liquid Fuels
Most of the liquid fuels are obtained from petroleum. Petrol, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil, benzene, alcohol, are some of the most common used liquid fuels. They require less storage space than solid fuels and leave no residue when burnt.
A very important liquid fuel is Petroleum. To read more about petroleum, Click Here.
3) Gaseous Fuels
Gaseous fuels are used for domestic as well as industrial purposes. Some important gaseous fuels are:
(i) Natural Gas
Natural gas is obtained from petroleum wells, and mainly contains methane and small quantities of ethane and propane. It is the cheapest available gaseous fuel.
Biogas is a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide. The major constituent of biogas is methane. It is produced by degradation of plants and animal wastes.
(iii) Water Gas
Water gas is mainly a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It is prepared by passing steam over red hot coke.
(iv) Coal Gas
Coal gas is a mixture of methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It is obtained by the destructive distillation of coal.