Natural Gas – The Answer to Our Energy Problems?


At the mention of the term natural gas, most of us come to think of it as a gas that, as the name might suggest occurs naturally. Right to an extent, but quite vague in the true sense of it, actually natural gas is a mixture of about eight gases, mainly methane, ethane, butane, propane, carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide all in the order of proportion in which they make up natural gas. The gas is normally colorless and odorless but for safety reasons odorants, small insignificant chemicals which have the property of adding odors, are added to give it a distinct smell.

The gas that we are more familiar with, that is delivered to our homes for domestic purposes, in its purest most processed form is mostly methane. Many of us don’t realize the huge role that natural gas already plays in our homes and everyday lives. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) natural gas boilers which is a blend of propane and butane is now widely used in the US as a source of heating for ovens, clothes dryers, boilers and central heating for our homes in harsh weather. An increasing number of power plants that provide the electricity with which we power our homes and light up our cities worldwide are dependent on gas, hydrogen obtained from natural gas is increasingly becoming popular as an alternative source of fuel to power our vehicles, countries like Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, India and Sweden have already taken giant strides in the quest to considerably lower their reliance on petroleum or gasoline. thermal oil boiler

Natural gas is formed naturally through the same process that produces the crude oil the earth is so heavily dependent upon as an energy source today. They both are formed by the process of chemical decomposition of dead organic matter in the absence of oxygen over time. The natural gas is often found trapped together with the oil in wells underground. The manner of their formation places them in the class of fuels known as fossil fuels. Surprisingly even though their origins are very much the same they have quite different properties and practical applications.

Oil in previous times was thought to be the only useful source of energy in the wells, Technology Essays gas was mostly regarded as an unwanted by product and was mostly burned in the atmosphere in a process known as flaring. Flaring of gas was a major source of concern to environmentalists because it had been proven to be a major source of pollution, causing huge damage to the environment and even bigger costs in efforts to try rectify the damage already done in the process.

All this until, someone discovered that gas could also be used as an energy source with great economic advantages over crude oil in terms of costs of production, environmental friendliness, and availability. Natural gas has been proven to burn very efficiently leaving little to waste, it burns 43% more efficiently than petrol and 60% more than coal. Some molecules in coal and oil do not burn completely and are released into the atmosphere contributing greatly to pollution but it’s not the same for gas. It gives off relatively less harmful carbon byproducts when compared to coal and oil. Many experts also believe that there are far more reserves of gas than the quantity of crude oil ever discovered. The middle east, specifically Qatar and Iran, is reputed to have the world’s largest natural gas reserves estimated at about 900 trillion and 500 trillion cubic feet respectively in those countries.

But you haven’t heard the good news yet, natural gas can be produced artificially! No more worries and panic about global reserves declining, we haven’t learned to produce petroleum yet and there’s little hope we’ll ever be able to do that, but that’s not the case with natural gas. Methane is its major component and can be produced biologically from agricultural waste and other organic waste materials like dead plants and animal waste that otherwise go to landfills and other waste disposal processes. Specifically these waste products are chemically broken down by tiny methane producing microorganisms known as methanogens, in relatively the same way in which gas is formed naturally.

However, there are some concerns about the nature of methane itself, it is recognized as one of the most potent greenhouse gases, i.e. gases that occur naturally in the atmosphere to regulate the temperature of the planet constantly to habitable levels, however man’s adventurous exploits over the years HP Envy x360 Price in America have increased the levels of these gases over the normally occurring levels making them trap and seal increasingly higher levels of heat within the earth’s surface. There are fears in some quarters that increased use of Natural gas as a fuel source would inevitably worsen this problem. However that is left to be proven. A lot of the environmentally conscious believe that there is a need to seek much more environmentally friendly sources of energy but till those sources are fully developed to a commercially attractive level natural gas should be a good alternative to take us on our quest for a cleaner healthier planet.


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