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Natural Gas /gas/index.html _glance/natural_gas.html s/non-renewable/naturalgas.html uickfacts.pdf energy/2009/eia-slow-fuel-consumption htm html
Overview Natural gas is a nonrenewable fossil fuel formed deep in the earth much like oil and coal. It is mostly methane which is a natural compound that forms when plant and animal matter decays. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.oil and coalmethane It is not gasoline which is made from petroleum. For most of the history of the petroleum industry, natural gas was considered a nuisance due to the difficulties of transporting it. With the development of a pipeline structure, it now makes up approximately 23 percent of the energy consumption in the U.S.
Uses About 1/3 of all U.S. natural gas usage is to produce electricity by 3 methods: electricity Natural gas is burned in a boiler to produce steam. The steam turns a turbine to produce electricity. Another method burns the gas in a combustion turbine. Gaining popularity is a technology which burns the natural gas in a combustion turbine and the exhaust is used to make steam to drive a steam turbine. This combined cycle is more efficient because it uses the same fuel source twice.
Uses Uses Continued –About another 1/3 of natural gas is used in industry as a heat source to make products such as steel, glass, paper, and bricks. –The chemicals in natural gas are used for products such as petrochemicals, paints, fertilizer, plastics, medicines and explosives. –Propane from natural gas is the fuel many of us use in barbecue grills.Propane
UsesUses Continued –There is potential for more use of compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas for our transportation uses as a bridge to renewable energies.natural gas for our transportation –More than 62 percent of homes use natural gas to fuel stoves, furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers and other household appliances.
Natural Gas Use (2007)
Natural gas is measured in cubic feet and in Btus (British thermal unit). One Btu is the amount of natural gas that will produce enough energy to heat one pound of water by one degree at normal pressure. One cubic foot of natural gas contains about 1,027 Btus.
AdvantagesAdvantages of Natural Gas Natural gas burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel. It burns about half the amount of carbon dioxide as the equivalent amount of coal.equivalent amount of coal Natural gas is easily transported to end users in pipelines. Its a dependable energy source not dependent on weather conditions.dependable energy source Most natural gas we use is domestic.domestic Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas stored at temperatures low enough to change it from vapor to liquid form which makes it possible to deliver natural gas by tanker. In 2008, the United States imported 0.4 tcf (trillion cubic feet) of LNG.Liquefied natural gas
Disadvantages Natural gas is nonrenewable so there is a limited amount. Natural gas can be toxic and if breathed for a long time can be fatal because it takes away your supply of oxygen.toxic A natural gas leak in an enclosed space is potentially hazardous because it removes the oxygen. It must have mercaptan added so that it will smell to warn people of a gas leak. It is highly combustible so precautions are imperative.natural gas leak mercaptan
Disadvantages Continued Natural gas must be transported through pipelines which require installation and maintenance.pipelines
Technical Considerations Drilling for natural gas is just like drilling for oil. It can be found in pockets with oil or by itself.
Technical Considerations Continued The natural gas industry is depending more and more on unconventional wells which are harder to produce than conventional wells. unconventional wells It is estimated that natural gas resource estimates increased 39% from due to advances in exploration, well drilling, and completion technologies.natural gas resource estimates One of the newest developments in natural gas production is the ability to extract gas from shale using horizontal drilling.shale –Although most natural gas is found in remote areas, the largest natural gas shale play in the U.S. is the Barnett Shale under the city of Fort Worth, Texas.Barnett Shale
Technical Considerations Continued Natural gas called coal bed methane is found in seams of coal. It is also created in landfills as the garbage decays. Gas from coal beds and landfills accounts for almost 10% of the total gas supply.landfills After coming out of the ground it is cleaned in a processing plant of impurities and separated into various gases – 90% methane, and the rest mostly propane and butane.processing plant
Economic Considerations The U.S. produces about 25% of the worlds natural gas and is second in consumption after Russia.worlds natural gasconsumption Natural gas is produced in 32 states; the top 5 are Texas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. Pipelines must be used to transport the gas from the ground to the plants and then to homes and businesses. There are approximately 300,000 miles of pipelines in the U.S.300,000 miles Like most energy sources, the cost of natural gas is affected by supply and demand. Weather plays a role in the cost of natural gas because in the winter when the demand is high, the cost goes up.cost of natural gas
Environmental Considerations Natural gas produces less carbon dioxide then other fossil fuels because its composition is so simple.composition When burned it produces less smog and sludge then coal. Increased use of natural gas as a source of transportation fuel will reduce pollution.
Legal/Regulatory Considerations Regulations Under the current regulatory environment, only pipelines and local distribution companies (LDCs) are directly regulated with respect to the services they provide. Natural gas producers and marketers are not directly regulated. This competition and market based prices in the natural gas industry has allowed increased efficiency and technological improvements.not directly regulated
Anticipated Status Natural gas will be the transition energy from nonrenewables to renewables. The current Annual Energy Outlook predicts a dip in demand from 2009 – 2010 until 2023 – 2024, then demand for natural gas will continue to grow.Annual Energy Outlook Most new electric power plants will be fueled by natural gas - to be used more to meet peak electricity generation demands as a base load source to phase out coal by Huge quantities of natural gas exist in the form of methane hydrates offshore and on land in arctic regions (hydrates require a combination of high pressure and low temperature to form). However, as of 2009 no technology has been developed to produce natural gas economically from hydrates. It is estimated that the production of methane hydrates could double the source of natural gas in the U.S.methane hydratesarctic regions
Anticipated Status Continued The use of natural gas in fuel cells holds great potential to produce electricity.fuel cells The process of an electrochemical reaction in a fuel cell as opposed to combustion of fossil fuels holds promise to be a clean and efficient electricity producing method.
Summary Natural gas has been basic to U.S. energy usage and contributed to the growth of the U.S. economy. It will continue to increase in production and use due to its lower pollution output than other fossil fuels. Its domestic availability makes it a vital player in reducing our reliance on foreign fuels.U.S. energy usage Future improvements in the natural gas industry include: Increased use for electricity generation Production from shale Use as a transportation fuel Transporting made easier by LNG R&D in methane hydrates