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Fossil Hydrocarbons - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780120910908, 9780080531885

Fossil Hydrocarbons

1st Edition

Chemistry and Technology

Author: Norbert Berkowitz
Hardcover ISBN: 9780120910908
eBook ISBN: 9780080531885
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 12th August 1997
Page Count: 351
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Fossil hydrocarbons form a continuous series whose"heavy"members--heavy oils, bitumens, oil shale kerogens, and coal--are important sources of conventional lighter fuels. These hydrocarbons are much more abundant and easier to extract than natural gas and oil. This book discusses the origins and compositions of fossil hydrocarbons and shows how the"heavies"can be chemically transformed into environmentally clean gas, liquid transportation fuels, and an almost unlimited range of petrochemicals.
Dr. Berkowitz explodes the entrenched dichotomy between"petroleum hydrocarbons"and coal that has shaped popular perceptions of energy, showing that it is feasible to develop new technologies that capitalize on the availability of"synthetic"natural gas and light oils.
Fossil Hydrocarbons: Chemistry and Technology is a comprehensive treatment of fossil hydrocarbons, covering the source materials, biosources, metamorphic histories, geochemistry, classification, and molecular structure. It discusses the use of fossil hydrocarbons as a viable energy source in our future, detailing the preparation, processing and conversion technologies, as well as discussing the environmental issues that arise from production, processing, and use of various fossil hydrocarbons.

Key Features

  • Approaches various fossil hydrocarbons as chemically related entities, thus dispelling the unwarranted distinctions between crude oils and coal
  • Explains how heavy fossil hydrocarbons can be processed by much the same methods as crude oils for good economic and environmental purpose
  • Illustrates how bitumens, oil shales, and coals are convertible into synthetic natural gas and oils
  • Shows a path for reasonable energy self-sufficiency, through conversion of heavy hydrocarbons into synthetic natural gas and oils
  • Augments each chapter with end-of-chapter notes and a detailed bibliography
  • Provides more than 200 useful tables, schematics, and figures


Graduate students, researchers, and professionals with interests in fuel science and technology and/or responsibility for energy policy and development. Useful as a reference for organic geochemists, petroleum chemists and engineers, chemical engineers and mechanical engineers, and economists. Useful as a text in advanced university courses in fuel science and technology, fuel chemistry, and combustion.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Family of Fossil Hydrocarbons. Origins. The Host Rock Geochemistry. Classification. Composition and Chemical Properties. Physical Properties. The Heavy Hydrocarbons. The Molecular Structure of Heavy Hydrocarbons. Preparation. Processing. Conversion. Environmental Aspects. Index.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1997
12th August 1997
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Norbert Berkowitz

Norbert Berkowitz's many awards and accomplishments include the Confederation Medal from the Government of Canada, the Order of Canada, and the Queen Elizabeth Medal. Dr. Berkowitz has been the Head of the Fuel Sciences Division on the Alberta Research Council, a board member and vice-chairman for the Energy Resources Conservation Board in Alberta, and a professor of fuel science at the University of Alberta. He has served as a visiting professor at several universities including the University of Utah; Technicion in Haifa, Israel; and Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel, and in Kyoto, Japan. Dr. Berkowitz is the author of An Introduction to Coal Technology and is currently Emeritus Professor of fuel science at the University of Alberta.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Alberta


"Berkowitz integrates material often found in standard professional handbooks on this subject, with discussion and examples that make for a readable work for professionals and students...a major goal of the book, and one that Berkowitz is successful in delivering, is for the reader to recognize that the future of heavy hydrocarbons is not merely a function they can be prepared, processed, and converted into products." --J.J. Winebrake, James Madison University CHOICE

"[The book] is comprehensive and deals with all aspects of the origin, chemical and physical properties of and industrial uses for fossil hydrocarbons...From a chemist's viewpoint, the text brings together wide-ranging facets of the overall subject and is a very useful reference text. However, it is not just a book aimed at one particular discipline and the breadth of the subject is such that anyone who wants to know how fossil hydrocarbons are formed and how they are used will find this book unbeatable. The ideas are presented in a most readable style, and the case for giving coal more serious consideration as a source of hydrocarbons is well made." --Graham J. Hutchings, Chemistry Department at University of Wales Cardiff, CHEMISTRY AND TECHNOLOGY

"Berkowitz has written both an excellent text and reference book on the origins of fossil hydrocarbons and on the processing of petroleum products. important contribution to illustrating the relationship among the full spectrum of hydrocarbons. The book also provides original materials on the processing and enhancement of fossil hydrocarbons, and on universal environmental issues. The net result is a valuable text book that fills an important information gap in understanding fossil hydrocarbons." --Michael J. King, The Hydrodynamics Group, ENVIRONMENTAL & ENGINEERING GEOSCIENCE, May 2000

Ratings and Reviews