HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Environment & Energy (Group) » Nature: The Planet May ... » Reply #10

Response to Wilms (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 23, 2016, 07:36 PM

10. Yes, I'll be happy to do so. The big lie about dangerous natural gas is that it's a "clean" fuel.

This claim is made because the main constituent of dangerous natural gas is methane. Methane lacks a carbon-carbon bond, and thus does not form very much soot, except for a minor side reaction known as the Boudouard reaction from the carbon monoxide formed from incompletely burned methane.

The Boudouard reaction has the following equation: 2CO ↔ CO[sub]2[/sub] + C. The C is carbon black, mentioned in the paper as a climate forcing material since it absorbs light.

Small amounts of soot are also formed from ethane, propane, and butane, which are also constituents of dangerous natural gas.

However the relative lack of soot compared to coal - soot being responsible for a fair fraction of the deaths from air pollution - causes dangerous natural gas to be incorrectly labeled as a "clean" fuel.

The dirty secret of the dangerous natural gas industry, besides the destruction of land, water and air from the practice of fracking, is that when methane burns, it releases carbon dioxide. This is actually not an industrial secret. It's well known, I would hope, by most high school chemistry students.

Methane of course, is a more powerful greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide, and it well known that methane leaks significantly in mining, shipping, use, storage and other sources of leaks. In this way dangerous natural gas also is a climate forcing tool

The other major constituent lacking in many grades of dangerous natural gas is sulfur, except for tiny amounts of mercaptans added as an odorant. Sulfur when placed in combustion situations is oxidized to sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide. The latter reacts with water to make sulfuric acid, a component of acid rain, along with nitrogen oxides, which react to form nitric acid. As is pointed out in the paper, sulfur oxides in the atmosphere scatter light, rendering more diffuse, and add an element of opacity to the atmosphere. It has a net cooling effect.

Thus dangerous natural gas results in two climate forcing gases, methane and carbon dioxide, while reducing the quantity of a cooling gases, sulfur oxides and sulfuric acid vapor. (Some geoengineering proposal - very, very, very, very stupid proposals in my view - have suggested adding sulfur oxides to the upper atmosphere.)

Dangerous natural gas also produces less nitrogen oxides than does coal or gasoline (particularly when burned in compression engines, since heat and pressure causes nitrogen to "burn" albeit endothermically). Nitrogen oxides are the brown component of smog that one can see if one stands on most days on the beach in one of the beach cities of Los Angeles, Redondo, Hermosa or Manhattan and looks out at the ocean, as well as many other places, the New York Skyline. These also reduce climate forcings.

I hope this clarifies the situation with respect to dangerous natural gas. Thanks for asking.

Have a nice evening.

Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Please login to view edit histories.