Natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, is a highly efficient form of energy. It is composed chiefly of methane; the simple chemical composition of natural gas is a molecule of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4). When methane is burned completely, the principal products of combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Natural gas advantages over other fuels include the following: it has fewer impurities, it is less chemically complex, and its combustion generally results in less pollution. In most applications, using natural gas produces less of the following substances than oil or coal: carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the primary greenhouse gas; sulfur dioxide, which is the primary precursor of acid rain; nitrogen oxides, which is the primary precursor of smog; and particulate matter, which can affect health and visibility.
Source: American Gas Association
Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying spend less per year than homes using electricity. Even in a low oil-priced market, Fairbanks North Star Borough residents and businesses can look forward to cost savings with clean natural gas. Due to the savings from natural gas, some customers choose what home they buy based on whether the home has natural gas or not.
The FNSB suffers from poor air quality in times of extreme cold temperatures. As the temperature decreases, heating fuel use increases causing PM 2.5 issues to rise. This pollution has gotten so bad, that the EPA has identified the FSNB as a non-attainment area, requiring a plan to reduce these air-pollutants. This plan is being developed with the State of Alaska, and includes the successful distribution and delivery of natural gas to the Interior.
Natural gas is a safe fuel to use in your home or business. Because it has a limited range of flammability, there must be an exact composition of natural gas and air to mix together before it can burn. As natural gas is lighter than air, it can safely rise and disperse if vented correctly. Mercaptan is injected into natural gas distribution lines so that humans can detect if there is a leak, even if it is a very small amount. It smells like rotten eggs and dissipates with natural gas when released.