Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
NATURAL GAS IS a fossil fuel existing in deposits in the Earth over wide regions of the globe. It is composed of hydrocarbons, which are molecules of hydrogen and carbon of up to five different combustible gases, and traces of other gases such as nitrogen, hydrogen Sulfide, carbon dioxide, and helium. The type of hydrocarbon gas depends on the number of carbon atoms in the molecule. Methane is the primary gas of natural gas, having just one carbon atom per molecule. As a result, it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, with less carbon than the equivalent amount of oil or coal. The greenhouse gases of natural gas are methane, carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), and minor amounts of nitrous oxide. The combustion of natural gas releases CO 2 and nitrous oxide. Combustion is a rapid form of oxidation in which carbon will bond with oxygen as carbon dioxide 2 ...