Natural Gas, Advantages and Disadvantages
What is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is a fossil energy source that can be used as a source for cooking, heating, and generating electricity and is formed deep beneath the earth’s surface. Natural gas is a non-renewable fuel that contains many different compounds. It is colorless and odorless with the largest portion being Methane, which is composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4).
Natural gas is formed when the decomposed plants and animals are exposed to extreme heat and pressure when they are under the earth’s surface for many years (about a million years). Natural gas also contains smaller amounts of natural gas liquids (NGL, which are also hydrocarbon gas liquids), and non-hydrocarbon gases, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor. Natural gas is easily flammable, which is extensively used as an energy source around the world, and also used as a fuel and to make materials and chemicals.
What are the sources of Natural Gas?
Natural gas is derived from the earth’s surface. It is made up of decomposed plants and animals found under the earth. Experts aim for a certain kind of rock structure on the field when collecting natural gas and this gas is plentiful in these areas. Experts use sound waves tracking techniques and gravitational pulls to pinpoint locations where natural gas is abundant.
If the location has been identified, experts will dig 6000-foot-deep wells around the area and extract the gas through pipelines. The extracted gas is then transported to power plants where it is stored and ready for use.
What are the features of Natural Gas?
Natural gas has been represented by ecologists and environmentalists for decades. Natural gas has many prominent features that include:
- Since the natural gas’s density is lower than that of the air, it is lighter than air. Therefore, it can easily dissipate into the air, in case of leakage.
- Due to low carbon content and high methane, natural gas is less corrosive.
- Natural gas is readily accessible and plentiful because it is a byproduct of nature.
- Due to the excessive level of methane, Natural gas is extremely flammable.
- Natural gas has no color, taste, or odor.
Advantages of Natural Gas
- Abundantly Available: Experts now believe that the amount of natural gas available is greater than that of crude oil or other similar products.
- More Efficient: As compared to propane gas, natural gas produces more energy when burned, making it more powerful.
- Easy to Deliver: Looking at the new method of delivering gas to homes in India, we see a lot of metal cylinders change hands. If natural gas was the chosen cooking fuel, its distribution will be much simpler because all that is needed to supply natural gas is a network of pipes.
- Environmentally Clean: Natural gas is the cleanest of the many fossil fuels available on the planet. Natural gas is considered pure, because when to other gases, it releases relatively little byproduct into the environment as contaminants. This helps to make the air we breathe healthier.
- Convenient: If consumers use natural gas for cooking or electricity, pipelines may be used to link it to the consumer’s place. This avoids the time-consuming method of gathering, sorting, packaging, and shipping the finished goods to the consumers.
- Economical: Natural gas is cheaper than the other burning fuels.
- Safe to Use: The risk of leakage is one of our greatest concerns when using LPG cylinders or some other form of gasoline. Gases have the ability to burn objects and people in their vicinity and can be very toxic. On the other hand, natural gas is lighter than air. In case of a leakage, it dissipates immediately into the air preventing fire.
Disadvantages of Natural Gas
- Long Processing Process: Natural gas has other elements that must be replaced before it can be used for domestic or industrial uses, so processing it requires a long time and a lot of manpower.
- Emits Carbon Dioxide: One of the most significant drawbacks to natural gas is that it releases carbon dioxide, which is harmful to our environment. The continuous release of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere will result in climate change and global warming.
- Storage: One of the most serious drawbacks of natural gas is that it releases carbon dioxide (CO2), which is harmful to the environment. Constant CO2 addition to our atmosphere would result in climate change and global warming.
- Leakage: Even if it is lighter than air and disperses quickly, a major risk of natural gas is that it is colorless, odorless and tasteless, making identification of a leak very hard.
- Limited Quantities: The challenge in India is that we do not have large supplies of natural gas, which means that we must import the majority of the natural gas we consume from other countries. Constant acquisitions will quickly add up to be a costly proposition.
- Highly Combustible: Despite the fact that natural gas is lighter than air, it is highly flammable. Since natural gas has no odor, it is, therefore, difficult to detect a leak.
- Non-Renewable Source of Energy: Aside from the benefits of natural gas, it is important to note that it is a non-renewable source of electricity. According to the experts, natural gas will be depleted in the future, forcing us to buy it from other countries.
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