Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fossil Fuel: Natural Gas

Sometime between 6,000 to 2,000 years BCE (Before the Common Era), the first discoveries of natural gas seeps were made in Iran. Many early writers described the natural petroleum seeps in the Middle East, especially in the Baku region of what is now Azerbaijan. The gas seeps, probably first ignited by lightning, provided the fuel for the "eternal fires" of the fire-worshiping religion of the ancient Persians.
Natural gas is lighter than air. Natural gas is mostly made up of a gas called methane. Methane is a simple chemical compound that is made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. It's chemical formula is CH4 - one atom of carbon along with four atoms hydrogen. This gas is highly flammable.
Natural gas is usually found near petroleum underground. It is pumped from below ground and travels in pipelines to storage areas.
Natural gas usually has no odor and you can't see it. Before it is sent to the pipelines and storage tanks, it is mixed with a chemical that gives a strong odor. The odor smells almost like rotten eggs. The odor makes it easy to smell if there is a leak.
Energy Safety Note! If you smell that rotten egg smell in your house, tell your folks and get out of the house quickly. Don't turn on any lights or other electrical devices. A spark from a light switch can ignite the gas very easily. Go to a neighbor's house and call emergency help.

Source: http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/

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