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51.6 NATURAL GAS

Natural gas. is a naturally occurring mixture of simple aliphatic hydrocarbons containing 1-4 carbon atoms and small amount of hydrogen. Among aliphatic hydrocarbons, it mainly contains methane CH4 (up to 97%) with a little ethane (C2H6) propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10). Natural gas occurs deep under the earth either alone or along with petroleum deposits. Thus, during petroleum mining natural gas is always obtained as a byproduct, but there are some wells that produce only natural gas. After extraction from wells, the gas is purified to remove impurities such as water and sulphur and then sent through pipelines for use.

 

USE OF NATURAL GAS

 Natural gas is a near ideal fuel and is used as the fuel for domestic and industrial purposes.

  1. Natural gas is used as fuel for automobiles in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG).
  2. Natural gas is a rich source of hydrogen gas which is needed in the manufacture of fertilizers.

For obtaining hydrogen, natural gas is reacted with superheated steam in the presence of nickel as catalyst

1100K

CH4 + H2O           →        CO + 3H2

Catalyst