Natural gas is a naturally occurring petroleum based fossil fuel that may be found along with oil, coal or by itself. Natural gas is the by-product of once-living plant and animal organisms decaying over millions of years. Natural gas hydrocarbon is similar to propane and butane. Natural gas, as it comes out of the ground, is a mixture of gases consisting mainly of methane (85%-95%). Other gases, such as ethane, propane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water and sulfur compounds, may be present with the gas. The gas IGU distributes is 99.7% methane because of liquefaction process requirements.
Methane, the main component of natural gas, has a boiling point of -259 °F (-162 °C). That means it turns from liquid to gas at -259 °F. If you are familiar with characteristics of propane during extreme temperatures experienced during Interior winters, you will know that propane will not vaporize and turn to gas at temperatures colder than -44 °F (-42 °C) . Natural gas will never experience this problem, even on the coldest of Interior nights. Natural gas is about half as light as air. Because of this, natural gas will dissipate and rise very rapidly. Propane, on the other hand, is heavier than air, and will pool close to the ground.
Natural gas is odorless, tasteless and colorless. Because the gas is odorless, IGU adds a harmless amount of a chemical called Mercaptan into the gas stream for easy detection if gas is ever accidentally released into the atmosphere. Mercaptan is a highly detectable sulfur based compound that is similar to the smell of “rotten eggs.” The Mercaptan is completely consumed when burned and is not harmful in the quantity found in IGU’s gas. Natural gas is also non-toxic, non-poisonous and non-corrosive. Although methane is not harmful to the human body, it can be an asphyxiant. Asphyxiants displace oxygen making the atmosphere difficult to breath.
For your information, here are MSDS sheets for natural gas (as methane) and liquefied natural gas LNG
– MSDS sheet for Methane (Natural Gas)
– MSDS sheet for LNG
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