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What are Some Uses of Natural Gas?

Natural gas may be used in fireplaces.
Fifty-one percent of American homes use natural gas as their main source of heat.
In homes, natural gas powers some appliances.
A propane tank.
Liquefied natural gas can be transported via rolling stock or pipeline.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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Natural gas, also known simply as gas, is a fossil fuel made up of several gases, of which methane is the most prominent. A very similar gas, known as biogas, is produced by swamps, sewage sludge and cattle manure. The gas we have come to know as a source of energy has gone through a series of processes by the time it reaches us. Before natural gas is usable for fuel, it must be extensively processed to remove all secondary components, such as propane and sulfur. The uses of natural gas are many and varied. Consumers, industries, and commerce can all benefit from its use.

Transportation Sector: Natural gas is used in transportation to power everything from cars and trucks to heavy-duty service vehicles. "Clean Air" natural gas buses are popular in Canada and some European countries, and more vehicles are now running on dual fuel, allowing owners to switch between gasoline or natural gas depending on needs and circumstances. The Russian corporation Tupolev is working on the design of an aircraft that would be able to fly on a combination of natural gas and hydrogen.

Residential Uses: Many home appliances run on natural gas, including furnaces, barbecues, fireplace logs, pool and spa heaters, and fire pits. Uses of natural gas at home also include residential heating, with 51% of American homes choosing gas as their main source of heat. Natural gas air conditioning is not as popular as the electrical alternative, but it does exist.

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Industry and Production: The industrial sector uses natural gas for production and energy. Natural gas is used in the making of anti-freeze and plastic. Food processing industries use basically only natural gas to power up their plants, but waste treatment and petroleum refining are also big consumers of natural gas. Because many gases can be extracted as a subproduct of natural gas, the uses of natural gas go beyond what the gas itself can provide.

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Discuss this Article

SilentBlue
Post 6

Nuclear and hydrogen energy sources are the most sustainable and powerful sources of energy out there. They are readily available now, but we are simply not switching to them. Instead, we are wasting time building wind turbines which kill bird life and ruin beautiful views. We are also building massive solar panel facilities, which are unreliable on a rainy day. The world needs to wake up and realize the immense power of hydrogen.

BigBloom
Post 5

@FitzMaurice

Although sudden change could possibly cause harmful corollaries, I think that change is urgent nonetheless. For the world to improve, we need to recognize that our money-driven decisions often have long-term repercussions, as our preoccupation with the housing market demonstrated so clearly. If we do not make a conscious effort to cut back on carbon emissions and save our environment, our children and future generations will be unfairly made to suffer for it.

FitzMaurice
Post 4

@Qohe1et

I think that there is no viable alternative to fossil fuels at this point. If we were to switch suddenly it would cause global upheaval and many upset third world countries. The oil industry is the backbone of the global economy, now that the housing market has failed.

Qohe1et
Post 3

These gases cause pollutants which are not supposed to be released into the environment. When we take dead substance from dung or deceased animals and turn it into a powder in the air, it causes unnecessary pollution and can cause further death. This was the lesson we are learning from the Gulf of Mexico disaster with BP oil company. The shrimp industry and sea life are being poisoned and killed en masse because of the world's preoccupation with the fast money that comes with natural gas.

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