Ecology

What is natural gas and what is it for

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that is widely used today because it has a number of advantages when compared to those derived from oil or coal. However, this does not mean that it is clean or renewable energy. However, for some, natural gas could be what is called ” transition energy ” during the period in which polluting energies are phased out and replaced by clean energies. In reality, it is an energy that has both advantages and disadvantages.

What is the natural gas

Natural gas is a type of gas that occurs naturally when large amounts of plant matter are buried underground and remain that way, under high pressure, for thousands of years. This process is similar to the one that gives rise to oil. In fact, it is so similar that it is usual to find oil and natural gas fields together, since, if the conditions exist for a fuel to exist, the most common is that they also exist so that the other exists in the same place.

This gas can be extracted in a similar way to how it is done with oil and, although it is made up of different gases, for the most part, its composition is made up of methane , a gas that burns when it is set on fire. In this way, it is a gas that can be burned to produce energy that can be used by humans, which makes it one of the rest of fossil fuels , along with oil and coal.

Natural gas was initially used as an energy source to illuminate cities through a gas public lighting system. Later, with the arrival of electricity, this use disappeared, although not the exploitation of natural gas, which found use in other processes. Thus, among the most current uses of natural gas we find the following.

Natural gas became another fuel, being used in general in the production of electrical energy in high-performance plants, in the operation of residential and industrial boilers , and even in transportation , since nowadays it can use as fuel for vehicles such as cars or buses.

Broadly speaking, it can be said that natural gas has the same applications as coal and, especially, those derived from oil, since it is a fossil fuel from which, when burned, energy is obtained that can be used for human needs.

What impact does natural gas have on the environment?

Natural gas is a fuel that tends to have a good reputation despite the fact that it is a polluting fossil energy . This is because, when burned, it releases CO2 , the main greenhouse gas , into the atmosphere . However, its good reputation comes from the fact that, in its combustion, a lower amount of this gas is released into the atmosphere when compared to those derived from oil and coal. In addition, another reason that makes it different from these fuels is that it does not emit sulfur dioxide , one of the polluting gases in the atmosphere in cities and one of the main gases that cause acid rain .

This has meant that, for some, it is considered a transitional energy. That is to say, an energy that, while polluting, has a lesser impact on the environment and that could be used as energy to pass between oil and coal until the full implementation of clean energies. However, it must be clear that natural gas is a fossil fuel , which means that, regardless of whether it can be used as transitional energy, it constitutes a polluting and non-renewable fuel .

On the other hand, although natural gas emits less CO2 into the atmosphere when it is burned, it is common for a significant part of the gas itself to be released into the atmosphere during its extraction. This leads to an increase in the presence of methane in the air, which is another of the most important greenhouse gases and causes of climate change along with CO2. In other words, although it is less polluting energy than oil and coal, it is not clean energy or that it has a zero environmental impact, as some companies that sell it would have you believe.

That said, it is important to know that it is an energy that, without being respectful of the environment, at least, it is less harmful to the planet than other fossil fuels . In this way, although it is not the best alternative for which we can choose, it is an option that, until the energy transition based on clean and renewable energy sources is fully implemented, can reduce the impact of other fossil fuels much more aggressive with the planet.

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