OWOE - Fossil Fuels - How do the different types of fossil fuels compare for generating electricity?
How do the different types of fossil fuels compare for generating electricity?
Topic updated: 2015-09-01
Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, and the amount of energy released when they are burned depends on the ratio of hydrogen to carbon atoms. Coal is the least efficient fuel on a weight basis, followed by petroleum, and then natural gas. Depending on quality, coal has between 30% and 60% of the energy content of natural gas. Also, compared to natural gas, burning coal generates solid waste and airborne pollutants that have to be captured and puts approximately twice as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.