NATuRAL GAS IS a fossil fuel existing in deposits in the Earth over wide regions of the globe. It is composed of hydrocarbons, which are molecules of hydrogen and carbon of up to five different combustible gases, and traces of other gases such as nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and helium. The type of hydrocarbon gas depends on the number of carbon atoms in the molecule. Methane is the primary gas of natural gas, having just one carbon atom per molecule. As a result, it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, with less carbon than the equivalent amount of oil or coal. The greenhouse gases of natural gas are methane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and minor amounts of nitrous oxide.

The combustion of natural gas releases CO2 and nitrous oxide. Combustion is a rapid form of oxidation in which carbon will bond with oxygen as carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. Gasoline is not natural gas, but is instead refined from oil. By contrast, gasoline has 8-11 carbon atoms, so produces more CO2 per unit of energy. Therefore, using natural gas as a fuel, from a greenhouse gas point of view, is better than other fossil fuels. However, this does not take into account cost and practicality. CO2 by volume is not considered as significant a greenhouse gas as methane. Methane is reported as 21 times stronger in its entrapment of heat in the atmosphere. Methane in the atmosphere has other sources besides natural gas. Living organisms, such as livestock, are considered major sources of methane in the atmosphere.

Natural gas exists in large portions of the globe. In many regions, it is trapped as large deposits in rocks deep beneath the Earth's surface. It is also found in deposits of crude oil and coal, and in ice crystals in permafrost regions. Natural gas is found at shallow depths, less than 100 ft. (30 m.), to depths of over 20,000 ft. (6,096 m.) Shallow depth gas is typically biogenic gas, meaning generated by the bacterial decay of organic matter. It is generated over a relatively short period of time. Methane from landfills and swamps are examples of biogenic gas. Another type of shallow depth natural gas is hydrates—gas trapped in ice crystals in permafrost.

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

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