Fuel

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Fuel is any material that can be used to generate energy to produce mechanical work in a controlled manner. In other words, it is a substance that produces energy, mostly usable heat. Most fuels produce energy when they are burnt in air. The processes used to convert fuel into energy include chemical reactions, such as combustion, and nuclear reactions, such as nuclear fission or nuclear fusion. Fuels are also used in the cells of organisms in a process known as metabolism. Hydrocarbons are by far the most common source of fuel in current use, but many other substances can be used as well.

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Chemical

Chemical fuels are substances that generate energy by reacting with substances around them, most notably by the process of oxidation.

Biofuels

Biofuel can be broadly defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel consisting of, or derived from biomass. Biomass can also be used directly for heating or power—known as biomass fuel. Biofuel can be produced from any carbon source that can be replenished rapidly e.g. plants. Many different plants and plant-derived materials are used for biofuel manufacture.

Perhaps the earliest fuel employed by humans is wood. Evidence shows controlled fire was used up to 1.5 million years ago at Swartkrans, South Africa. It is unknown which hominid species first used fire, as both Australopithecus and an early species of Homo were present at the sites.[1] As a fuel, wood has remained in use up until the present day, although it has been superseded for many purposes by other sources. Wood has an energy density of 10–20 MJ/kg.[2]

Recently biofuels have been developed for use in automotive transport (for example Bioethanol and Biodiesel), but there is widespread public debate about how carbon efficient these fuels are.

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