How was it formed?
Gas was formed millions of years ago. Dead organic material built up on ocean floors, riverbeds and swamps. It mixed with mud and sand. More sediment piled on top. The heat and pressure changed this layer into kerogen. Over time, kerogen breaks up into shorter, lighter molecules and is mostly carbon and hydrogen. If this mixture is gaseous, it will turn into natural gas.
How is it used to generate electricity?
Gas is burned in a turbine, like a jet engine on a plane, but bigger. This turns a generator, producing electricity.
The hot exhaust gases are then used to make high-pressure steam, which is fed into a steam turbine, which turns another generator, making even more electricity, It is very efficient!
Sometimes, the steam from the back end of a turbine can be used to provide heat to house or offices. It can also used for processess such as making paper or chemicals.
Where can you find it?
North Sea and Irish Sea. It is also found in Russia, Eastern Europe, Norway, the Middle East and Africa.
Advantages and disadvantages of using gas to generate electricity
- Gas is light and easy to transport by pipeline
- Large amounts of electricity can be generated from one gas-fired power station
- Gas-fired power stations are normally built near rivers and the gas pipeline network but they can be built anywhere
- Burning gas produces carbon dioxide, which contributes to the greenhouse effect
- Gas is not renewable. There is a limited supply, which will eventually be used up
- The UK is importing most of its gas. This means that our energy supplies may become quite costly if wholesale prices rise
How many power stations in the UK?
36 (100MW and above).
Gas reserves will last until late in the 21st century.
Back to Energy sources