Disadvantages of Natural Gas Use
Some of the main disadvantages in using natural gas are listed below:
Flammable and Toxic: Natural gas leaks can be proven to be extremely dangerous. Such leaks may be the cause of fire or explosions. The gas itself is extremely toxic when inhaled. The main risk comes from the fact that it is naturally odorless and cannot be detected by smell, unless an odorant has been added to the gas mixture. In the case of an underground leak, the odorant may gradually become weaker and the gas may go undetected.
Environmental Impact: When natural gas burns, carbon dioxide, monoxide, and other carbon compounds are emitted in the atmosphere contributing to the greenhouse effect. Although it is cleaner than other fossil fuels (oil, coal, etc.) as far as byproducts are concerned, natural gas leaks can become more hazardous since methane is 21 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide.
Processing: In order to use it as a fuel, all constituents other than methane have to be extracted. The processing results in several byproducts: hydrocarbons (ethane, propane, etc.), sulfur, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and even helium and nitrogen.
Non-Renewable: It is a finite source of energy and cannot be considered a long-term solution to our energy supply problem.
Installation: The whole pipe installation may be very expensive to construct since long pipes, specialized tanks, and separate plumbing systems need to be used. Pipe leakage may also be very expensive to detect and fix.
Efficiency in Transportation: When natural gas is used as a fuel in cars, the mileage is lower than gasoline.
Conversion to Hydrogen Fuel: A drawback in producing hydrogen from natural gas is that efficiency drops to almost 50% compared to the original chemical energy.