What is Natural Gas?
As the name suggests, natural gas comprises of a mixture of gases made up of mainly methane and small amounts of butane and propane1. Methane, by itself is odourless, colourless and tasteless. However a chemical odorant called mercaptan, which smells like rotten eggs, is added by chemical companies to aid detection in times of gas leaks.
How is Natural Gas extracted?
Natural gas can be extracted from two main locations either offshore or onshore. Some countries that have large deposits of natural gas include the United States, Russia and European countries like Norway. Offshore extractions of natural gas is pretty much like those landbased rigs though there is the creation of artificial drilling platfroms
Why… and What are the Advantages of Natural Gas?
The advantages of natural gas are many and include that fact that it is the cleanest fossil fuel as presented in the Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s data below from EIA 19982: Natural Gas Issues and Trends. Natural gas comprises mainly of methane, with emissions comprising mainly of carbon dioxide and water vapour. Emissions from the combustion of natural gas also contain minute amounts of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, with almost no ash or particulate matter, and close to 30 percent lesser and 45 percent lesser carbon dioxide emission as compared to oil and coal.
These harmful emissions from combustion of fossil fuels like coal and oil have caused damages to the environment in the form of smog, acid rain and global warming in the long run.
Higher concentrations of incombustible ash particles released together with the emissions also pose a health hazard to people especially for those with respiratory diseases like asthma and emphysema.
Another advantage of natural gas is its reliability in terms of supply. Natural gas pipes are buried safely underground; so you aren’t likely to lose service during stormy weather.
Therefore usage of natural gas will help to reduce the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Natural gas is used widely in countries like United States where natural gas is available and can be obtained at a reasonable cost.