Natural gas is fossil fuel in a gaseous state. Methane is one of its largest component. Pockets of this gas are formed beside oil fields and coal beds. Heavy hydrocarbons are removed during the processing of natural gas (butane and propane) so that it burns without producing a lot of pollution.
This gas is found in gas fields and it can also be found in coal. The technology is available to extract it from coal. It's called "coal gasification." The coal gasification process is accomplished by exposing coal to high temperatures and high pressures in order to break it apart into gaseous components. The problem is that coal gasification is such an expensive process that it's not practical financially.
Methane also forms at landfills and are produced by cattle. However, the technology for capturing and using the natural gas produced at landfills and by cattle is still being developed. At the moment, gas from these sources isn't exactly financially feasible yet.
But it is available in many countries and is comparatively inexpensive to produce. It can work--in fact it is already many small-scale rural systems are being powered by this energy resource. It can be a viable alternative source of energy that can help us kick the oil import habit if we can give it a chance. All we need is to learn how to harness it and maximize its utilization.
This gas is piped to homes for the purpose of providing heat. Many central heating units, free-standing gas heaters, and cook stoves use natural gas as fuel. And the good thing is, it can also be used to produce electricity. Producing electricity with natural gas is just like the process used to produce electricity using coal. It can be used to heat water and the water will then produce steam. The resulting steam pressure will be used to turn a turbine or a generator.
The system is an efficient method for generating electricity, but it can become even more efficient by using a combined cycle system. The combined cycle system uses a natural gas fuel turbine, along with heat-recovery generator and steam turbine. This system increases the efficiency of producing electricity from natural gas to an amazing 60%.