Natural Gas: The chief source of domestic energy, with production reaching well over two million tons annually, the gas is widely distributed and used around the nation. The gas is also heavily involved in the transfer of power from the generation plants to the end-user, meaning there are many uses for it and a need to keep it secure at all times. For this reason, the daily EIA (explosive incident inventory) reports are essential to the monitoring and safety of this precious resource.
Because it is a natural gas product, it is similar to and can easily be mixed with crude oil, meaning that the gas produced can also be mixed with water to form LPG (liquid petroleum gas). The gas can move by means of a pipeline or can be stored in a reservoir before transportation. There are numerous natural gas storage projects throughout the nation, including the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) field. In order to protect natural gas from damage due to corrosion from temperature fluctuations and equipment failure, as well as from lightning strikes, flammable vapors rising from underground storage tanks, the gas can be contained in a variety of ways.
One method of storage involves using natural gas as a direct insertion device, where it is heated, injected into a storage tank and left to maintain its temperature. Another method is indirect natural storage, in which the natural gas is first heated in a facility and injected into the storage tank. A third method called fracture gas containment involves using the natural gas to fracture an underground area, containing pockets of natural fractures. When the natural gas is fractured, pressure is applied on the cracks, which forces the gas molecules through the fractures, thus expanding them and creating the gas that can now be safely stored.
An additional type of natural gas containment involves using a pressurized tank and baffle system to contain gaseous emissions. The baffle reduces the pressures of gaseous emissions and helps maintain the temperature of the gas. The gas is then injected into a storage tank, and the gas becomes too warm so that it begins to evaporate. This evaporation process is supposed to cool the remaining gas, but sometimes the process causes the liquid to change its consistency, which causes the gas to become unstable and sometimes causes leaks.
Other containment systems include carbon dioxide containment and high-pressure sodium and potassium containment systems. The carbon dioxide containment requires the use of a vacuum, while the high-pressure sodium and potassium containment require solvents. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen have been known to cause leaks; however, the leaks may not be as frequent as some scientists believed, because no leak had yet been found. Some leaks could result from the containment equipment itself, such as if the system were to become overheated and then cease working, resulting in an explosion.
Another containment system for natural gas is the combustible gas storage system. In this system, a combustible liquid or gas is stored in a container. If the liquid is exposed to air, it would ignite and cause a huge explosion. The main concern about this type of containment is that it poses the threat of explosion if it is inadvertently ignited by an accident or spark. Containment systems for this type of gas can be installed inside or outside the building, depending on local ordinances.
Natural gas venting systems are designed to vent the air in buildings. There are two types of venting: non-vented and vented. Non-vented systems are more efficient than vented systems, because they do not blow out gases. However, they cannot prevent a gas leak. They work just to vent the air in buildings where the natural gas venting system is not available.
There are different ways of utilizing natural gas. It has been extensively used for heating, although it is expensive when purchasing and installing the equipment. Most homes use natural gas as their primary source of heating. Homes in the rural areas of the U.S. are the ones that use natural gas for heating. It is also used to power equipments like the heaters. It is estimated that it will become the major source of heating in ten years.