Natural gas is one of the largest sources of energy for businesses in the United States and its popularity continues to grow. During the last decade, the use of natural gas in the United States increased by 35 percent and is expected to continue to grow by another 40 percent by 2015. Approximately 87 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is produced within our borders.
Natural gas is 90 percent efficient compared with electricity, which is only 27 percent efficient. It also burns cleaner than other fossil fuels so it is safer for the environment.
Natural gas is ideal for manufacturing or processing many products and materials because it's:
Commercial uses of natural gas
Natural gas provides energy for mining, producing goods and processing food; the chemical industry is the largest industrial user of natural gas. Iron, steel and aluminum mills and petroleum refineries also use large quantities of natural gas, as do glass, ceramic, plastic and paper-making industries.
Combustion of natural gas with other fuels makes it possible to use more domestic energy while meeting clean air standards. The select use of natural gas with coal or oil can cut fuel costs, reduce the impact of interruptions in our foreign oil supply and increase flexibility in choice of sites for new energy facilities.
Because natural gas emits essentially no sulfur dioxide and extremely low levels of particulate matter, it can be burned in the same or separate combustion units at industrial facilities or electric generating plants to meet environmental goals. Some examples of current industrial uses of natural gas include on-site generation and commercial heating and cooling. See our section on natural gas equipment for more commercial uses of natural gas.