Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Gas

Since the last few decades, natural gas has become trendy and popular among the masses. Many people prefer natural gas over conventional sources of fuel because it comes with numerous advantages.

What is Natural Gas?

Natural gas is a type of fossil fuel which can be used as a source for cooking, heating, and generating electricity. This non-renewable fuel can also be used to fuel vehicles. Natural gas is formed when the decomposed plants and animals are exposed to extreme heat and pressure when they are under the earth’s surface for many years(about million years).

Natural gas does not have any colour or odour and contains high level of methane and few other hydrocarbons. It is easily flammable, which makes it one of the most used energy source across the world.

Features of Natural Gas

For decades, ecologists and environment lovers have described the features of natural gas. Some of the prominent features of natural gas are:

  • Natural gas can be easily found and is abundant as it is available from nature.
  • Natural gas is highly flammable due to high level of methane.
  • Natural gas is colourless, tasteless, and odourless.
  • The density of natural gas is lower than the density of the air which makes it lighter than air. So, in case of leakage, it can easily dissipate into the air.
  • Natural gas is less corrosive due to high methane and low carbon composition.

Sources of Natural Gas

Natural gas is extracted from the surface of the earth. It is formed from the decomposed plants and animals under the ground. When extracting natural gas, experts look for a certain type of rock formation on the ground as natural gas is abundantly available in these places. Experts use sound waves detection tools and gravitational pulls to detect the place where natural gas is available bountiful.

Once the spot is detected, experts dig wells around the ground for about 6,000 feet deep and use pipelines to extract the gas. The extracted gas are then sent to power plants where it is processed and made ready to use.

Advantages of Natural Gas

  • Natural Gas is Environmentally Clean: Among many burning fossil fuels available on planet earth, natural gas is the most cleanest. It is considered clean because unlike other gases, natural gas emits very less byproducts into the atmosphere as pollutants. This keeps the air we breathe cleaner.
  • It is Economical: Natural gas is not as expensive as other burning fuels.
  • It is Convenient: If people use natural gas for cooking or electric purposes, it can be directed connected to the consumer’s house with the help of pipelines. This eliminates the long process of collecting, processing, packing, and delivering the end product to the customers.
  • Natural Gas is Safe to Use: One of the biggest fear we have when using LPG cylinders or any other type of fuel is the possibility of leakage. Gases have the power to burn things and people around and can be very dangerous. However, natural gas is lighter than air. In case of a leakage, it dissipates quickly into the air avoiding fire. Isn’t that super safe?
  • It is Available Abundantly: Currently, experts state that amount of natural gas available is more than crude oil or other such products.
  • It is More Efficient: When compared to things like propane gas, natural gas provides more energy when it burns, which makes it much more efficient.
  • Natural Gas is Easy to Deliver: If we look at the current mode of delivery of gas to homes in India, we notice a lot of metal cylinders changing hands. Should natural gas take over as the preferred fuel for cooking, its delivery would be much easier since all that is needed to deliver natural gas is a network of pipes.

Disadvantages of Natural Gas

  • Limited Quantities: The problem in India is that we don’t have vast reserves of natural gas which means that most of the natural gas that is consumed by us has to be bought from other countries. Such constant purchases can turn into a rather expensive proposition over time.
  • Natural Gas is Highly Combustible: Though natural gas is lighter than air, one cannot deny the fact that is it highly combustible. As natural gas is odourless, it is difficult to detect a leakage as well.
  • Natural Gas is a Non-Renewable Source of Energy: Keeping aside the positives of using natural gas, one should not forget that it is a non-renewable source of energy. Experts state that natural gas will be depleted in the future and we will have to import it from other nations.
  • Natural Gas Emits Carbon Dioxide: One of the biggest disadvantage of natural gas is that it emits carbon dioxide which is bad for our atmosphere. Constant introduction of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere will lead to climate change and also global warming.
  • Long Processing Process: As natural gas has other components that has to be removed before using it for residential or commercial purposes, it takes a lot of time and manpower to process it.
  • Leakage: Even though it is lighter than air and can disperse easily, a big danger with natural gas is that since it is colorless, odorless and tasteless, should it start leaking, detection of the leak is very hard. Advantages of Natural Gas.
  • Storage: Even though natural gas is easier to store and transport, it has one big disadvantage. Its volume happens to be four times that of petrol which makes it more expensive to store since more needs to be spent on additional storage.

Yes, natural gas has both advantages and disadvantages. Despite all the disadvantages, natural gas is one of the cheapest and easily available fossil fuel in this world. All said and done, it can be considered that natural gas can serve as a viable alternative to other fossil fuels till such time as something more efficient can be found.


News About Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Gas

  • PM Invites Oil, Natural Gas Exploration By Foreign Firms

    The Prime Minister has invited foreign firms to invest in oil and natural gas exploration in India. At the inauguration of Petrotech 2016, the PM talked about the advantages of investing in India, whose economy is slated to grow five-fold by 2040.

    Assuring foreign investors that the days of cumbersome rec tape are over, he invited them to launch renewable energy projects in the country as well, with the aim of making these more affordable and widespread.

    The government is also seeking to ensure all homes have electricity by March 2018, and is providing piped natural gas connections to over 10 million households as well.

    The emphasis on LPG as a form of fuel is part of a campaign to encourage the use of safe fuel for cooking, especially across the hinterland that has so far been relying on traditional fuel such as firewood.

    9 December 2016

  • Chandigarh Houses to Receive Piped Natural Gas

    MP Kirron Kher announced today that the Minister for Petroleum and Gas Dharmendra Pradhan will be inaugurating a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) project in Chandigarh’s EWS House in Sector 49. The CNG project will be launched from Sector 44. SK Sharma Project Manager for Indian Oil Adani Gas Private Limited said that after Sector 49 it will begin the Piped Natural Gas service in sectors 50, 51, 52 and Dhanas. The company aims to provide the entire city with Piped Natural Gas within the span of one year. The company has laid close to 31 kilometers of pipeline near the outer region of Chandigarh. Piped Natural Gas will cost less than Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for domestic use as it will come with a separate government subsidy. The connection will initially cost residents Rs.56,000, which includes a refundable security deposit. Residents will be able to opt for one of three schemes: rental, EMI or Upfront. Residents in Sector 49’s SBI Housing Society have received connections and are awaiting gas supply. The project will initially start will 200 houses and will expand from there on.

    8 November 2016

  • Gas4India Campaign to Increase Natural Gas in Energy Mix

    A new campaign Gas4India has been launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. This campaign aims at promoting the use of natural gas in India. This can be achieved by increasing the ratio of natural gases in the energy basket of India. Presently, natural gases make up 6.5% of the basket. Initiatives have already been taken by the government to implement a gas chain. Reforms will also soon be introduced to promote the campaign. Social media will be used extensively to engage citizens. Hyper-local offline events will also be held to make connections with consumers. The target set to increase the share of gas in the energy mix is 15%. The initiative to drive India towards a gas-based economy will bring in huge investments in this sector. There will also be a number of jobs created with this move.

    6 September 2016

  • India will Increase Natural Gas to 15% in Energy Mix

    India has plans to make alterations to the energy mix and include a higher proportion of natural gas. Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan said that the current mix includes 6.5% of natural gas, and this would be increased to 15%. There has been no timeline set to achieve this figure. However, a new campaign called “Gas4India” will be launched soon and will promote the use of LPG in India. Public and private sector companies are partnering to promote the campaign. The campaign will make full use of social media, offline events, hyper local events, workshops, discussions and cultural events. Considering the various technologies available for the conversion of sewage, high ash content coal, bio waste, husk, bagasse and other feedstock into gas, this move makes sense economically. The government is already promoting LPG across the nation and is setting up the infrastructure for gas.

    6 September 2016

  • Natural Gas Forecast for India Looks Positive

    The natural gas forecast for the country is looking increasingly positive with the government undertaking a slew of measures to promote LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) in India.

    With the aim of tapping into the 1.25 billion strong market, the government has announced measures such as the development of shale networks as well as sanctioning new shale exploration in the country and a more liberalised gas regime.

    These measures are projected to increase India’s natural gas output by almost 60% within the next four years, resulting in a reduction in the burden on localised gas demand.

    With LNG being a safer and more environment friendly option to the current gas options, this would positively impact the country’s ecology.

    17 June 2016

  • Mumbai to Start Using Natural Gas for Crematoria

    The Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation recently announced that it is planning to convert its 44 wood and electricity based crematoria in the metropolis to piped natural gas based complexes. This novel move will definitely contribute in saving electricity bills in addition to protecting trees and environment. The BMC currently manages 44 crematoria, out of which 11 run on electricity with 14 Muslim and 11 Christian cemeteries at 54 locations across Mumbai. The electric crematoria have to be regularly closed down for maintenance and the new move will change that.

    6 July 2016

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