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Fossil fuels are made from plants and animals. Natural Gas is a Fossil Fuel. The energy in natural gas came from energy stored in plants and animals. That energy came from the sun.
The plants and animals lived millions of years ago. They were alive before the dinosaurs! When they died, they were buried on the ocean floor.
Over the years, layers of mud built up, covering the dead plants and animals. Heat and pressure turned the plants and animals into natural gas.
The main ingredient in natural gas is methane. Methane is also produced by rotting garbage!
Natural gas is found underground in pockets of rock. It is trapped in these pockets, just like water is trapped in a sponge!
So how do we reach it? Natural gas is found thousands of feet underground.
We drill down through layers of sand and sedimentary rock to reach the rock formations that contain natural gas deposits.
We drill wells into the ground. These wells pump out the natural gas, and bring it to the surface.
Moving Natural Gas We move natural gas in pipes under the ground.
There are more than a million miles of pipelines in the United States alone.
Where do we find natural gas?
Texas is the top producer of natural gas!
We use natural gas every day. Most homes, schools, and hospitals use natural gas for heat.
Many stoves and water heaters use natural gas, too.
Factories use natural gas. Factories burn natural gas to make products like paper and cement.
Natural gas is also an ingredient in paint, glue, fertilizer, and many other products!
Sometimes, natural gas is used to run cars, trucks, and buses. Most mail trucks use natural gas instead of gasoline!
Power plants also use natural gas. Power plants burn natural gas to make electricity.
Natural gas use in the United States.
Natural gas has NO color or smell. You cant see it, smell it, or taste it.
Natural gas companies add a smell like rotten eggs so that we can detect any natural gas leaks in our homes.
Compared to coal and petroleum, natural gas releases much less sulfur, carbon, and ash when burned. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel.
However, burning ANY fossil fuel, including natural gas, releases emissions into the air, as well as carbon dioxide- a greenhouse gas.
Natural gas is Non-Renewable. Natural gas formed over millions of years. We cant make more in a short amount of time. Thats why it is a non- renewable energy source.
Someday, most of the natural gas we can reach by drilling underground will be gone!
Discussion Questions What types of appliances use natural gas in your house? Have you ever had a natural gas leak in your house? What can happen to you if you breathe in natural gas?
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