top of page


"The world economy is still primarily dependent on hydrocarbons"

by Sérgio Granato de Araújo


Hydrocarbons are a group of organic compounds made up of carbon & hydrogen, the main components of petroleum (crude oil) & natural gas (NG).  They're used as fuels & lubricants, as well as raw materials for plastics, fibers, rubbers, solvents, explosives, and industrial chemicals.


High calorific value


Hydrocarbons have high calorific value.  They are easily combustible and the reaction is highly exothermic, making them excellent fuels.  But they can be especially unstable: particularly in hot, dry environments, they can spontaneously combust.  Many of them are also toxic & carcinogens, such as benzene (C6H6).


Essential for the today's economy, but ...


Our economy is still primarily dependent on hydrocarbons and other fossil fuels such as coal.  In the form of fuel, hydrocarbons continue to be the main engine of human activities.  The C6 thru C10 alkanes, alkenes & isomeric cycloalkanes are the top components of gasoline, naphtha, jet fuel, and specialized industrial solvent mixtures.  Unfortunately, extracting and using them pollutes the soil, ocean, and atmosphere, leading to climate change.

The decline of hydrocarbons

World energy outlook shows a drop in demand for hydrocarbons from 2020 to 2050 (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Drop in demand for hydrocarbons from 2020 to 2050

WPESbySource v3.png
Fig 1 decline 203
bottom of page