Hydrocarbon combustion refers to the chemical reaction where a hydrocarbon reacts v oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, water, and heat. Hydrocarbons are molecules consist of of both hydrogen and also carbon. They are most famed for being the primary constituent of fossil fuels, namely natural gas, petroleum, and coal. Because that this reason, fossil fuel sources are regularly referred to as hydrocarbon resources.

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<1> power is derived from fossil fuels through burning (burning) the the fuel. Although impurities exist in fossil fuels, hydrocarbon combustion is the primary process in the burn of fossil fuel. An instance of hydrocarbon combustion is illustrated in number 1. Watch simulation at the bottom of the web page for more examples.


Figure 1. Methane combining v 2 oxygen to type carbon dioxide, water and heat.<2>


1 Description


Regardless that the type of hydrocarbon, combustion with oxygen produce 3 products: carbon dioxide, water and heat, as shown in the basic reaction below. The energy required to break the bonds in the hydrocarbon molecules is substantially much less than the energy released in the formation of the bond in the CO2 and H2O molecules. For this reason, the process releases significant amounts of thermal power (heat). This thermal energy can it is in used directly (perhaps to heat a home) or else it have the right to be converted to mechanically energy, making use of a warm engine. However, this is topic to performance losses, leading to necessary far-ranging energy accident (as waste heat) administer by the 2nd law that thermodynamics. The resulting advantageous mechanical energy will it is in a lot less than the initial thermal energy detailed by the hydrocarbon combustion.

General Reaction Equation:

C_xH_y + N(O_2)leftrightarrow x(CO_2) + fracy2 (H_2O)x describes the number of carbon atom in the hydrocarbony describes the variety of hydrogen atoms in the hydrocarbonN refers to the number of oxygen atoms forced in the hydrocarbon combustion reaction

Hydrocarbon Combustion and also Fossil Fuels

Note that CO2 is always produced in hydrocarbon combustion; that doesn"t matter what form of hydrocarbon molecule. Producing CO2 and also H2O is actually how helpful energy is obtained from fossil fuels. Because that this reason, it is crucial to distinguish in between carbon dioxide and other "waste" commodities that arise from impurities in the fuel such as sulfur and nitrogen compounds.<1> Wastes the arise native impurities can be removed with the right technology; CO2 can not be eliminated unless the fossil fuels space not melted (used) in the an initial place.

Not all fossil fuels have the very same composition. Natural gas is composed of end 90% methane (CH4) which is the smallest hydrocarbon molecule. Oil often tends to be written of tool sized molecules, although ingredient varies substantially from one class of crude to the next. In general, the denser the oil, the much longer the carbon chains in the molecules. Finally coal consists of the largest and also most complex hydrocarbon molecules.<1>

Since various hydrocarbons have different ratios that hydrogen to carbon, they develop different ratios of water come carbon dioxide. In general, the longer and more facility the molecule, the higher the proportion of carbon come hydrogen. Because that this reason, burning of equal quantities of various hydrocarbons will certainly yield various quantities the carbon dioxide, relying on the ratio of carbon come hydrogen in molecules of each. Since coal consists of the longest and also most facility hydrocarbon molecules, burning coal releases much more CO2 보다 burning the very same mass the oil or organic gas. This also changes the energy thickness of every of these fuels.

Carbon dioxide emissions

Below is a chart of the CO2 emitted indigenous the manufacturing of 293.1 kWh (1,000,000 BTUs) of power from assorted hydrocarbon fuels.

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Fuelkg the CO2 emissions
Anthracite Coal104
Bituminous Coal93.5
Lignite Coal97.9
Subbituminous Coal97.4
Natural gas53.2

Combustion Animation

Choose a fuel indigenous the drop down food selection to view the net reaction the occurs throughout combustion.