High Altitude Energy: A History of Fossil Fuels in Colorado

By Lee Scamehorn | Go to book overview
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Preface

A nontechnical history of fossil fuels in Colorado, this book examines the origin, evolution, and some aspects of the social and economic impact of Colorado's coal, petroleum, natural gas, and oil-from-shale resources. The production and distribution of some of these abundant fuel resources became major industries.

The first was the production and sale of coal. The early producers were located mainly along the Eastern Slope of the Rocky Mountains, from Trinidad in the south to Erie and Marshall in the north. By 1900, coal had contributed, in one way or another, to virtually every aspect of human activity in the state.

Consumers of fuel, with some exceptions, used coal. It was burned in cooking ranges, water heaters, and stoves and furnaces in homes and businesses. In addition, it was the primary fuel for firing boilers to generate steam to drive the machinery of industry and commerce, including railroad locomotives. Furthermore, it was the raw material for making three important secondary forms of energy—coke, manufactured gas, and electricity.

All three played important roles in the evolution of the state's energy history. Coke, which was coal transformed in ovens to almost pure carbon, was consumed in the smelting of metallic ores. Manufactured gas, made

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