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.
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.