Episode 6: Natural Gas Basics

[ Music ]

[ A large title appears: “Natural Gas Basics”. A smaller title appears under it: Why do they call it "natural gas?” ]

>> I want to know what’s up with natural gas.

>> And why do they call it natural anyway?

[ Four kids gather around a colorful model of a town and adjust the buildings. Julie runs over to Jordan, who is sitting nearby and looking at a laptop screen. ]

>> Hey, whatcha doing?

>> Nothing. Just researching natural gas for our movie.

>> Oh, cool.

>> Oh, wow! That stinks!

>> No, actually, it’s pretty cool. Oh, I get it, rotten eggs. [ Chuckle ] You’re so funny.

[ Lucy leaves the model and comes over to Jordan at the laptop. ]

>> Yeah, yeah, yeah. So. What did you learn about methane?

>> Well, natural gas is found deep in the earth. Oh, this is so cool! Listen.

[ Laptop screen displays diagram of natural gas formation process. Gas forms deep underground and flows upward through a long pipe. ]

>> Natural gas is the product of old plant and animal fossils that got trapped deep in the earth millions of years ago. It’s called natural gas because earth breaks down these fossils and makes it into gas. The gas gets pumped through a well and transported through the many miles of pipes of the gas company.

[ Mackenzie and Robbie leave the model and join the other three kids at the laptop. Mackenzie gives a small card to each of the others. ]

>> Jordy [phonetic], you’re going to love this. I got it from school. Scratch and sniff.

[ The kids hold their noses and wave their hands in front of their faces, grimacing. ]

>> Oh, what is that?

>> It’s mercaptan.

>> What? Why does it smell so bad?

>> Natural gas is completely odorless and colorless. So if there’s a leak, you won’t know until it’s too late.

[ A message appears: natural gas + mercaptan = rotten eggs!” ]

>> So to ensure your safety, gas utilities add a chemical called mercaptan, which smells like rotten eggs.

[ Music. A message appears: If you smell a gas leak, leave immediately and call your gas utility from a safe location.” ]

>> If you smell a gas leak in or around your home, leave immediately and call your gas utility from a safe location.

>> So what happens when it leaves the gas utility?

>> Well, from the gas company, the gas travels through underground pipes to the buildings.

>> Yep.

[ Mackenzie snaps her fingers and an illustration appears. It shows natural gas travelling through underground pipelines to a home. ]

>> Once inside the buildings, smaller pipes carry the gas to the appliances that run on gas. Like the heater, dryer, water heater, and stove; all these appliances have flames in them. Some models have a constant tiny flame called a pilot light.

[ An illustration shows a gas flame burning at the base of a water heater. Various flammable items appear nearby, and a universal NO symbol flashes on each one. ]

>> Obviously, you never want to put flammable things like papers, toys, paint thinner, or dishrags near a stove or water heater because they are all potential fire hazards.

>> Who would put paint thinner on the stove?

>> No one. But I know someone who stores it by their water heater, which is a very bad idea.

>> I guess they think it’s no big deal.

>> Well, it is! It’s a really big deal! If there’s a spill or if the fumes reach a flame in the water heater, poof!

[ Robbie scratches the face of the card that Mackenzie gave him earlier. ]

>> What is that smell?

>> Oh! Sorry.

[ Robbie puts the card back in his pants pocket. ]

>> So now we know

>> how gas gets here.

>> And why it smells so bad.

>> And why you should never keep flammable things near a gas appliance.

[ Music ]

[ Culver logo and copyright 2009 Culver Media, LLC” appear, followed by credits. ]