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Natural Gas Fun Facts

When most people think of natural gas, they picture a stove top burner or the warmth of clothes fresh out of the dryer. While these are a few ways natural gas is used, there are a variety of other uses and interesting facts about this clean energy source.

Natural Gas Fun Facts:

Natural gas is lighter than air.

When you cool natural gas down to 260 degrees below zero, it turns from gas to a liquid.

There are nearly four million Americans currently employed in the natural gas industry.

Museums use natural gas to regulate temperature and humidity.  This keeps paintings and other ancient artifacts from being destroyed by environmental factors.

Natural gas is odorless, so energy companies add the smell of rotten egg (mercaptan) to enable customers to detect natural gas.  This is also helpful in detecting natural gas leaks.  (Learn more about gas leaks here.)

If every U.S. gas pipeline was welded together, the new mega-pipeline could reach from here to the moon (and beyond).   There are over 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines.

Natural Gas Historical Facts:

The Greeks in 8th century BC built and dedicated a temple to Apollo, the god of music, over a flaming natural gas vent. The temple was called Oracle of Delphi.

Natural gas was first used in homes in the first century A.D. in Persia. It was seeping from the ground and was ignited by lightning which caused a flame. Since pipes didn’t exist then, the king of Persia built his royal kitchen next to the flame.

William Hart is considered the “father of natural gas” for digging the first natural gas well in America. It is said to be 27 feet deep, a small feat, given that today’s wells can be more than 30,000 feet deep.

In 500 B.C. the Chinese discovered the potential to use natural gas to their advantage. Finding places where gas was seeping to the surface, the Chinese formed crude pipelines out of bamboo shoots to transport the gas, where it was used to boil sea water, separating the salt and making it palatable.

Britain was the first country to commercialize the use of natural gas. Around 1785, natural gas produced from coal was used to light houses, as well as streetlights.

The Future of Natural Gas:

Devices that use electricity are actually using natural gas. That’s right, many electric power plants use natural gas to generate electricity.  It is estimated that by 2032, 80 billion cubic feet of natural gas will be needed per day to power more than 400 million homes. 

Machines called “digesters” can turn today’s organic material (plants, animal wastes, etc.) into natural gas. This process replaces waiting for millions of years for the gas to form naturally.

Natural gas doesn’t affect consumers during severe weather because the pipes run underground. This means no electrical power outages.

90% of chefs prefer to cook with natural gas. It evenly distributes heat which means evenly cooked food.

Natural gas is used to produce steel, glass, paper, clothing, brick, electricity, and as an essential raw material for many common products.

Natural gas emits 45% less carbon dioxide than electricity generated from coal.

Reminder for Kids about Natural Gas Safety:

Sources:
http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html

History


http://www.eia.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=natural_gas_home-basics