Who Invented Natural Gas?

No one invented ‘natural gas’! Until the 1800s, it was, most of the time, merely an unwanted byproduct, which because of its explosive nature could turn out to be dangerous if not disposed of properly. It is believed that natural gas was first put to use by the Chinese around 1000 BC. Pipes were put into shallow sources of natural gas, which was then transported to temples to fuel the ‘eternal fires’. These fires were both religious symbols and tourist attractions.

Natural gas, like petroleum, is a fossil fuel and it took million of years for the gas to get formed. A long time ago (scientifically speaking in ‘prehistoric times’) much of the Earth’s surface was oceans and the forests. Oceans receded with time and dust covered the forests. The dust continued to accumulate or pile up over the forests over the course of millions of years. The buried forests, under high pressure and temperature, decayed into oil and gas and some other compounds. The accumulated mud over the oil and gas doesn’t let them out – unless it is drilled into.

The use of industrial production of natural gas is a relatively new phenomenon – spanning less than two or three centuries. Nowadays, gas is first liquefied and then transported. The abbreviation ‘LPG’ in ‘LPG Cylinders’ stands for ‘liquefied petroleum gas.’ CNG (compressed natural gas) is normally used as a fuel in autorickaws and buses. Although the natural gas is primarily used as a fuel, its other uses include the production of fertilizers, hydrogen, glass etc.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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