Whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, the phase of a fuel has important implications for how it can be used. In the United States approximately 20 percent of the nation's electricity is obtained from natural gas fired power plants, and natural gas is extremely important to residential and commercial heating markets. Hydrogen, a fuel that continues to attract a great deal of attention and research, derives its importance from the promise that it may one day be competitive with oil as a transportation fuel. This work describes the technology and scale of the infrastructure that has evolved to produce, transport, and consume natural gas. It emphasizes the business of natural gas production and the energy futures markets that have evolved as vehicles for both speculation and risk management. This resource focuses on possible advantages to the adoption of hydrogen as well as the barriers that have so far prevented large scale fuel switching. An interview with Dr. Ray Boswell of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory discusses his work in identifying and characterizing methane hydrate reserves, one of the most promising fields of energy research today.
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