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The Path to More Sustainable Energy Systems by Daniel M. Martínez, Ben W. Ebenhack

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Chapter 2

“Nonrenewable” Energy Resources

This chapter discusses fossil and nuclear energy resources, the resources that comprise the nonrenewable energy supply.

2.1 Fossil Fuels

Fundamentally, fossil fuels are biomass that has accumulated, been buried under rock sediments, and transformed by heat, pressure, and time. Prevailing geologic theory characterizes fossil fuels as the carbon-laden remains of long dead organisms (hence the term “fossil”). The processes of death, decay, natural burial, and geologic metamorphoses are at work today as they have been for many millions of years. This constitutes a form of natural refining in which water is driven out, while the fuel is compacted and intensified. The resulting product has greater energy and ...

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