Natural gas is:
- Easy to detect even though it is odourless and colourless in its natural state because the smell of rotten eggs (thanks, mercaptan!) is added to it so you’ll know if your equipment has sprung a leak.
- Lighter than air, and if it leaks, it simply dissipates as it rises into the atmosphere.
- Hard to ignite and can only catch fire if a leak springs in an enclosed space and the gas mixes with the air’s oxygen at a concentration of 5-15%. Plus, the temperature must be at least 538° Celsius – that’s hot! – with a static electric discharge or flame coming from a socket. Basically, natural gas doesn’t ignite without many contributing factors in play.
Is natural gas toxic?
No, it is not. Natural gas is colourless, odourless and non-toxic. A rotten-egg smell is added to it for your safety. The smell is added so that even the smallest amount of escaped natural gas can be detected easily.
How is natural gas transported?
Natural gas is transported through a network of gas pipelines that extends right to the home or building that uses it.
How safe is natural gas?
Natural gas is one of the world’s safest sources of energy.
Natural gas also burns cleaner than fuel oil. Emissions produced by natural gas combustion are far less harmful than those produced by oil, coal and wood. No fuel tanks are required for delivery, reducing the risk of leaks polluting land and groundwater.
Despite the safety properties of natural gas, it is, of course, flammable and can produce carbon monoxide when trapped in a confined space and there is an inadequate supply of oxygen.