Glossary:Fossil fuel

Fossil fuel is a generic term for non-renewable energy sources such as coal, coal products, natural gas, derived gas, crude oil, petroleum products and non-renewable wastes. These fuels originate from plants and animals that existed in the geological past (for example, millions of years ago). Fossil fuels can be also made by industrial processes from other fossil fuels (for example in the oil refinery, crude oil is transformed into motor gasoline).

For decades fossil fuels satisfy most of the human energy requirements. Fossil fuels are carbon-based and their combustion results in the release of carbon into the Earth's atmosphere (carbon that was stored hundreds of millions years ago). It is estimated that roughly 80% of all manmade CO2 and green-house gas emissions originate from fossil fuels combustion.

In energy statistics, fossil fuels cover:

  • Coal (Solid fossil fuels)
    • Patent fuels
    • Anthracite
    • Coking coal
    • Other Bituminous coal
    • Sub-bituminous coal
    • Coke oven coke
    • Gas coke
    • Coal tar
    • Lignite/Brown Coal
    • BKB (brown coal briquettes)
    • Peat
    • Peat products
    • Oil shale and oil sands
  • Gas
    • Natural gas
    • Coke oven gas
    • Blast furnace gas
    • Gas works gas
    • Other recovered gases
  • Oil
    • Crude oil
    • Natural gas liquids
    • Refinery feedstocks
    • Additives/Oxygenates
    • Other hydrocarbons
    • Refinery gas
    • Ethane
    • Liquified petroleum gas (LPG)
    • Motor Gasoline
    • Aviation gasoline
    • Gasoline type jet fuel
    • Kerosene type jet fuel
    • Other kerosene
    • Naphtha
    • Gas/diesel oil
    • Fuel oil
    • White Spirit and SBP
    • Lubricants
    • Bitumen
    • Petroleum coke
    • Paraffin waxes
    • Other oil products
  • Non-renewable waste
    • Industrial waste
    • Non-renewable municipal waste


Further information

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Statistical data