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Natural Gas

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Natural gas is a fossil fuel extracted directly from the ground, processed to remove impurities, and then compressed and stored in a pipeline. [1]. As a combustible fuel, natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbon gases formed mostly of methane with the addition of ethane, propane, butane, and pentane. Carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen sulphide are also components of natural gas.[2] However, in its most ideal state, natural gas is comprised primarily of methane.[3] Natural gas is considered "dry" when it is almost pure methane with the majority of other hydrocarbons being removed and "wet" when the other hydrocarbons are also present.[4]

Natural gas is also colorless, odorless, and shapeless in pure form and very combustible when burned, giving off a great deal of energy. However, unlike other gases such as gasoline, natural gas is clean burning and emits lower levels of harmful by-products into the air.[5]

The uses for natural gas are broad. It is used commercially for heating and cooking, and air conditioning or cooling in both residential and commercial properties.[6] Natural gas is also utilized in a number of industrial applications. In addition to heating, cooking, and cooling, natural gas is used for waste treatment and incineration, metals heating (iron and steel), drying and dehumidification, glass melting, food processing, and fueling large industrial boilers.[7] Other types of gases such as propane, butane, and ethane are also extracted from natural gas for use in things like fertilizer and pharmaceutical products. It used as a fuel source for vehicles specifically designed to run completely on natural gas.[8] As well, because natural gas is a clean burning fuel, it is widely utilized in the generation of electrical power. Power plants that were traditionally fueled by the use of coal or nuclear energy have been switching to natural gas, especially new power plants being developed. Natural gas is now the primary fuel that drives steam turbine engine units, gas turbine engine units, or a combination of the two, known as combined cycle units, in electrical power plants.[9]

[edit] References

  1. Natural Gas. Nr Can. 2008-09-29.
  2. Background. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.
  3. Background. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.
  4. Background. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.
  5. Background. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.
  6. Residential Uses. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.
  7. Industry Uses. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.
  8. Transportation Uses. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.
  9. Electrical Uses. Natural Gas Org. 2008-09-29.