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Fuel is material that reacts with other substances to release heat by way of chemical of nuclear energy.
Humans have used various types of fuel throughout history, first using the combustion of wood nearly 2 million years ago. The most common fuel source today is hydrocarbons and other oxygen-containing molecules.
Substances that react with other proximate substances to release energy, through the process of combustion, are known as chemical fuels.
These are divided both by their physical properties (as a solid, liquid, or gas), and by how they occur (as a primary or natural fuel, or as a secondary or artificial fuel).
Substances that can derive nuclear energy by being ‘burned’ by nuclear fission or fusion, are known as nuclear fuels.
 Solid fuel
Solid materials can be used as fuel to burn and release energy through combustion, which provides heat and light.
The most common examples of solid fuels are as follows:
- Wood: Includes firewood, charcoal, woodchips, pellets, sawdust, and so on.
- Charcoal: Produced by heating wood in the absence of oxygen.
- Biomass: Natural plant materials, such as wheat, straw, other fibrous material.
- Peat: Organic matter and decayed vegetation that is burnt when dry.
- Coal: Combustible sedimentary rock formed in rock strata.
- Coke: High-carbon material derived from coal.
- Waste: Everyday waste can be converted to a fuel source as long as it does not contain toxic materials.
 Liquid fuel
Energy-generating molecules are used to create mechanical energy, although it is the fumes rather than the fluid of liquid fuels that is flammable. Fossil fuels account for the majority of liquid fuels that are used.
The most common type of liquid fuel is petroleum, formed from dead plants and animals that have been fossilised. Examples of petroleum include:
- Gasoline/petrol: Produced by removing crude oil from petroleum and distilling it in refineries.
- Diesel: A mixture of aliphatic hydrocarbons extracted from petroleum, and processed to reduce the sulphur level.
- Kerosene: Extracted from petroleum, commonly used in jet engines.