Natural gas is a fossil fuel that can be used to power the economy of the present and the future. Currently, natural gas is being used in households across the country to provide heat and light. It can also be used as a primary fuel in different sectors of the economy such transportation, manufacturing industry and agriculture. There is also potential for natural gas to be utilized as a raw material for the petrochemical industry.
Most people are already aware of these facts. But there are plenty of things about natural gas that we bet you didn’t know:
1) Natural Gas is 100 Million Year Old
Natural gas predates human existence. The remains of plants and animals that were deposited beneath the Earth’s surface turned into fossil fuels due to millions of years of change in temperature, pressure and humidity. Some of these fossils solidified into coal. Others produced liquid oil. Then, there were those that were converted into natural gas. It is also worth noting that natural gas is still being formed today. Plants and animals have not stopped dying. As long as there is life on Earth, natural gas will continue to be produced. However, the rate at which this fossil fuel is produced is very slow, which means that you will not see a drastic rise in natural fuel production anytime in the near future.
2) United States has a 2.1 Million Mile Long Pipeline Network
Natural gas is distributed across the country from the production fields to the users through an extensive and highly complicated network of pipelines. The gas pipeline in the United States has an overall length of 2.1 million miles. Why can’t you see these pipes? Well, the pipeline was constructed underground. However, it’s not the only means of transporting natural gas from one place to the other. Across large distances, it is more feasible to liquefy the gas and transport it through containers on a truck.
3) More than Half of All Households Use Natural Gas
Natural gas is one of the most commonly used fossil fuels in the world. The United States is one of the largest consumers of it. More than half of all households in the country have access to natural gas consumption. That is around 62 million American families!
4) Natural Gas Has Been in Use Since 200 B.C.
Natural gas gained real popularity as an energy resource during the late 19th and early 20th century. This does not mean that people had no idea what natural gas was before this period of time. As a matter of fact, natural gas has been used for thousands of years in different parts of the world. People in China used natural gas to make salt in 200 B.C. That is approximately 2,200 years ago. The ancient Greeks and Persians have used natural gas throughout the course of history to produce flames.
5) Natural Gas Was Used for Lighting in the 19th century
As mentioned previously, natural gas is used to provide heat and light. This is something that was put into motion 200 years ago in Baltimore, Maryland. In the year 1816, gas was first used to light street lamps in that city. You can imagine how amazed people were to witness the introduction of what turned out to be the future of lighting.
6) Natural Gas Has No Color or Odor
You may find this strange if you have ever tried to smell natural gas. A lot of people describe the smell of natural gas similar to that of rotten eggs. What they don’t know is that the rotten egg smell is not the odor of natural gas at all. It is the smell of a commercial odorant that is added to natural gas to make it easier for people to detect the gas in the event of a leakage. Natural gas on its own has no color or odor.
7) Britain was the First Country to Commercialize Natural Gas
The widespread use of natural gas was first seen in Britain. Around 1785, lighthouses were powered by natural gas produced from coal. Natural gas was also used to power streetlights in Britain. This is the reason why natural gas is measured in British thermal unit, which measures the heat content of natural gas.
8) Natural Gas Can Be Cooled to a Liquid
There are many reasons why natural gas is liquefied. One reason is to ease the process of storing and transporting it. When natural gas turns into a liquid, it takes up much less storage space. In order to cool natural gas, you need to lower the temperature below 260 degrees and then store the gas at high pressure.
9) Natural Gas Provides “Cleaner” Electricity
The amount of carbon dioxide emitted from natural gas during the production of electricity is 45% less than what coal emits when it is burned to produce electric power.