Natural gas is used in more than one way to serve the needs of multiple industries, such as petroleum, chemical, energy, plastic, metal, glass, refining, mining, and food processing. Primarily, natural gas is utilized as a source of heat and raw material. Read on to learn about natural gas uses and its applications for the industrial sector.
Use in the Manufacturing Industry
Natural gas is widely used in the manufacturing sector. It is used in manufacturing processes as a raw material and source of heat. When it comes to its usage as raw material, it is considered a basic ingredient to manufacture plastics, fertilizers, fabrics, pharmaceuticals, and antifreeze. It is also a commonly used ingredient to produce different chemicals, for instance, ammonia, butane, propane, ethane, acetic acid, and methanol.
Natural gas is used as a source of heat to serve the manufacturing processes. For instance, natural gas is used to melt, bake, glaze, or dry a product. It is also a primary source of heat for manufacturing steel, glass, cement, tiles, ceramics, bricks, paper, and food products.
Use in the Power Generation Industry
Natural gas is used in power plants to produce electricity. It is stated that the electric power industry is the prime consumer of natural gas. In 2013, it was found that around 34 percent of the natural gas was used to produce electricity in the USA. Roughly the same percentage of natural gas usage was also observed for other developed economies.
Natural gas is a great source to generate electricity for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes. Coal, oil, and natural gas are the three main fossil fuels that are used by the electric power generation companies. But, it is noted that natural gas releases 45 percent less CO2 than burning coal and 30 percent less CO2 than burning oil. Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other particulates are also emitted in less amount with the burning of natural gas. Thus, we can say that natural gas is a safe choice when it comes to producing electricity. Many industries who are the bigger consumers of electricity like the refining industry, mining industry, manufacturing units, etc. are consuming power made of natural gas.
Use in the Metal Industry
Natural gas is quite useful for the metal industry. Infrared (IR) heating units are used to satisfy the natural gas needs of the metal industry. They are the most economical and innovative heaters to produce heat. The infrared heating units employ an innovative procedure to ramp up the processing for powder coating different types of metal objects.
IR heaters use natural gas to quickly heat raw materials used in iron and steel manufacturing. Ceramic fibres entailing platinum catalyst are mixed with natural gas to increase the temperature by causing an oxygen reaction. The whole process is done without even producing a flame. Many metal producers use the same method to speed up their metal manufacturing activities, such as folding, welding, punching, shearing, casting, etc. IR heating units are an economical alternative to electric heating units.