Natural gas is an extremely important energy source in the stage of reducing pollution and maintaining clean and healthy environment. In addition to being essential and safe energy source in the household, the use of natural gas offers numerous ecological benefits when compared to the other energy sources, especially the fossil fuels.
Natural gas is a very clean fuel at combustion. Coal and oil as well as the other fossil fuels are chemically more complicated than natural gas and when combusting they emit potentially harmful chemicals in the air. Coal and oil consist of lot more complex molecules, with high percentage of carbon and nitrogen, as well as sulphur components. At their combustion, pollutants are emitted i.e. a high percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SО2). They also emit solid particles (ashes, soot, metal and other polluters), substances that do not combust, but are deposited in the atmosphere and deteriorate the air quality. On the other hand, at combustion of natural gas, very small quantities of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are emitted, and there is practically no ash or other substances and the level of carbon-dioxide and carbon-monoxide as well as other carbohydrates is very low. The main composition component of natural gas is methane and at its combustion, far less harmful products are emitted than at the combustion of other fossil fuels. Chemically, this process is a reaction between methane and oxygen obtaining as final products carbon dioxide CО2, water N2О and a great quantity of energy. This reaction can be chemically presented as:
CH4 [g] + 2 O2[g] → CO2 [g] + 2 H2O [l] + 891 kJ
In the process of natural gas combustion the emission of CO2 is by nearly 30% lower compared to the oil combustion process, and somewhat below 45% less CO2 compared to the coal. In the process of natural gas combustion the emission of solid particles is by 90% lower compared to the oil, i.e. 99% lower compared to the coal combustion. The increased usage of natural gas reduces the emission of the other hydrocarbonates. The natural gas composition is almost free of sulphur, which points to the fact that during its combustion no SO2 is emitted and the emissions causing acid rains are also reduced. The nitrogen participates in the natural gas composition with small percentage, therefore the emissions of nitrogen oxides are reduced by 80% compared to the coal. In case of planned and controlled emission of natural gas, it is not reported as a toxic substance, it possesses an evaporation property, and since it is twice lighter than air, its effect in these layers of the atmosphere is insignificant.