Natural gas primarily consists of methane gas which is integrated with 0 to 20% higher hydrocarbons namely ethane. Natural gas is formed by methanogenic microorganisms in marshes, bogs as well as landfills. Natural gas is a major livestock feedstock and the most important source of fuel.
Natural gas has to undergo several steps of processing in order to remove all the other materials present except methane. The other byproducts include ethane, propane, butane, pentane and hydrocarbons with high molecular weight and elemental sulfur, carbon dioxide, water vapor and at times helium and nitrogen.
Natural gas is undoubtedly the major source for the generation of the electricity via gas and steam turbines. Natural gas burns more cleanly as compared to the other fossil fuels like coal and oil. In addition, it produces lesser carbon dioxide in relation to the energy that is released per unit.
Today, the technology of utilizing natural gas has become popular worldwide since gas is easily available at a very reasonable price. Nowadays, natural gas is supplied in major quantities to homes to be widely used not only in cooking but also in the electrical home appliances like ovens and cloth dryers which are invariably powered by natural gas.
Moreover, compressed natural gas which is specifically methane is cleaner alternative for automotive fuels in relation to the petrol and diesel. In fertilizer production the major feedstock for ammonia production via process of Haber is natural gas.
Natural gas is even widely used as an optimum option to produce hydrogen by the hydrogen reformer method. It is important to be mentioned that being utilized for different applications; in chemical industry, as a hydrogenating agent, an essential commodity for various refineries and a source of fuel primarily in hydrogen vehicles.
Natural gas is also being effectively used for the production of paints, fabrics, steel, glass and other essential products. Because of its very low density it is invariably very easy to transport natural gas. In the present era, the gas pipelines are extensively being used in most of the developing countries.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is being transported across oceans via LNG carriers whereas the tank trucks carry either liquefied or compressed natural gas for the shorter distances. CNG carrier ships comprising the sea transport are highly under development and are truly a competitive option as compared to the LNG transport.
Natural gas is even used for the heat generation basically for desalination. Similarly, the projects have been extensively set up to capture the methane gas that is being discharged by some landfills and in turn lead to the generation of electricity.
Natural gas is even a green house gas that is being emitted in lesser quantities as compared to the carbon dioxide. It is being estimated that the residence lifetime of natural gas in atmosphere is 12 years which is very minute in relation to carbon dioxide which is for 100 to 500 years. It is evident that explosions due to the natural gas are much less.
Last but not least natural gas is found to be quite cost effective and European Union is considered as the largest natural gas importers. In fine, today, it is being highly proved that natural gas has become the most viable source of energy globally.