Methane Gas Vs. Natural Gas

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Cows generate methane gas.
Cows generate methane gas. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Christian Guthier)

Both methane gas and natural gas have bright futures in the clean-energy market. The natural gas that is widely used to heat residential homes is mostly methane. In fact, natural gas is 70 percent to 90 percent methane, accounting for its high flammability. The main difference in these two similar gases is how they are used and applied to help humanity.

Methane Source

The decomposition of organic compounds creates hundreds of millions of cubic feet of methane gas each year.

Methane Potency

According to Edmond Toy, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, "methane is approximately 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide."

Methane's Gasoline Equivalent

It takes about 225 cubic feet of methane gas to equal one gallon of gasoline. In a single year, one cow can produce the equivalent of 50 gallons of gasoline.

Expensive Natural Gas Vehicles

A study on heavy duty trucks conducted in California found that diesel trucks cost less to produce than natural gas trucks. So-called LNG, or liquefied natural gas, trucks cost $30,000 dollars more than heavy-duty diesel.

Vital Natural Gas

Natural gas is a vital part of the United States' energy equation. The Energy Information Administration estimates that 23 percent of total energy consumed in the nation comes from natural gas.

BTU Comparison

The Gas Council Laboratory at Watson House in England conducted a study on methane and natural gas. The study found that a pure methane sample tested at 678 BTUs while the natural gas sample provided a BTU value of about 1,000.

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