Why can't I just "buy" natural gas?


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Old 01-03-12, 08:24 AM
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Why can't I just "buy" natural gas?

I can go to my local reseller and buy propane but they advise that the only way I can buy natural gas is if there is a "hookup" in my area.

I have a 30,000 BTU procom dual fuel heater (portable) which I use as an auxiliary heat source when my heat pump can't keep up.

I'd like to know if what the reseller says is accurate since NG is much cheaper.

Thanks
 
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Old 01-03-12, 08:31 AM
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Hmm.

Propane is considered a liquified petrolium gas which means that in useable form it is a liquid where the gas used in appliances boils off of a tank of liquid.

Natural gas is just that, a gas.
Liquified natural gas is used, in vehicles for one, but it takes a very high capacity compressor to liquify it and when it is a liquid in a tank it is under a few thousand pounds pressure.

In order for LNG to be practical you would have to use a fairly high volume to make it cost effective.
Plus, it has a lower btu/h content than propane so you would have to burn more of it.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 08:54 AM
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You can buy natural gas from anyone who wants to sell it to you. Around Seattle, the nearest gas producing area would be Alberta, Canada.

Natural gas has a BTU value of about 1000 BTUs per cubic foot, so enough gas to operate your heater for an hour could be held in a balloon about three feet in diameter.

So if I traveled to Alberta and found someone to fill up a balloon that size with natural gas, I'd have enough gas for that purpose for an hour.

Some people live on land that produces natural gas from shallow wells in non commercial quantities. They often use their own gas for their own purposes. You might try moving to such an area.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 09:52 AM
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Ehmmm....well you set me straight as usual guys! Thank you!
 
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Old 01-03-12, 10:05 AM
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Heh, heh! That was a fun question to try to figure out how to frame a reply!


First time for that one!

How far are you from an area that has gas mains? I used to work for a gas utility, and if the gas mains were nearby, sometimes they could be extended at no cost or reasonable cost if enough people were interested in converting to natural gas.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 10:47 AM
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Liquified natural gas (LNG) is liquified at some wells and is shipped by boat to some markets. Some goes to the New England area and it might be available in smaller containers (other than a ship load).

Apparently, it is done to avoid the wild price variations due to the oil market and politics.

Dick
 
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Old 01-03-12, 11:28 AM
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Heh, heh! Probably a lot tougher to find someone to sell you a couple of gallons of LNG than someone to sell you a balloon full of natural gas!

I could imagine some local producer valving off a balloon full of gas for someone just for fun, but I have a lot tougher time imagining some industrial producer of LNG agreeing to sell a small amount of LNG to someone they would probably consider a nuisance at best or a nut or terrorist at worst.

And just what would you use for an LNG container? Probably have to be a high pressure super insulated tank such as you'd use to store liquid oxygen or nitrogen. (Probably mixing LOX and LNG is a bad idea --- sounds like a rocket fuel!)

Kind of an amusing thought exercise though!
 
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Old 01-03-12, 12:49 PM
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Ya, that was a fun one to think about!
I just have one question Seattle.

I know where to get a balloon like you described but am not sure where you would get a balloon regulator???

Nat gas vehicles might be a bit more common in Canada because of our supply.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 03:22 PM
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Hello Greg,


Compressed natural gas is fairly available in British Columbia that can be used by the public. CNG is probably somewhere in the vicinity of 2500-3000 PSI.

The gas utility I used to work for used dual fuel gasoline/CNG vehicles fairly widely, but the fuel stations weren't available to the public.

There is one CNG station available to the public about 3-4 miles from where I live, but they are rare birds around here. I think CNG was available at about a $2/gallon equivalent price with gasoline.

Regulators are readily available at modest prices. With a balloon I'd probably just use a regulator designed to provide gas at about 6" WC (1/4PSI). Any pressure above that would be regulated down to the 6" WC commonly used inside homes.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 05:41 PM
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Indeedout it was but it helped! I am about a mile away. They just extended the lines about 4 miles and stopped about a mile away. My neighbor and I are mad lol.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 07:45 PM
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call your utility and if you and your neighbor pay the cost upfront to extend the line to you they may then give it back to you once you are actually hooked up to the line. The local utility did this for my uncle. Once he had the NG furnace installed and hooked up they refunded his down payment. It was just a way for the utility to make sure it would pay off for them to run the extra line.
 
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Old 01-04-12, 07:36 AM
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GregH is correct, natural gas cannot be liquified at room and stored in normal containers due to the high pressure needed. If I have my facts right at room temperature: LPG is stored at about 100 psi. CNG is stored at 3600 psi, and is still not a liquid.
 
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Old 01-05-12, 05:12 PM
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Thanks to all much appreciated...................
 
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Old 01-05-12, 05:48 PM
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Old 01-05-12, 08:14 PM
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Seattle Pioneer -

You are right about the energy in liquified gas (LNG, LH, etc.) and oxidizers (LOX and especially FLOX).

They are materials that are dangerous when in near location to each other and not meant for DIY use.

The low temperatures a cryogenics make it difficult to deal with and maintain stability.

The materials are great for rocket engines and I had to deal with them for transportation and storage of fuels for the rocket engines that that launched many moon shots, but due to the low temperatures, high pressures and reaction with other materials, they are extremely dangerous.

Liquid oxygen and similar materials in contact with asphalt is a time bomb and can be set off with a near impact.
 
 

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