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Substitute (or synthetic) natural gas; a mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons produced from coal, petroleum, etc., and suitable for use as a fuel. Before the discovery of natural gas coal gas was widely used as a domestic and industrial fuel. This gave way to natural gas in the early part of this century in the US and other countries where natural gas was plentiful. The replacement of coal gas occurred somewhat later in the UK and other parts of Europe. More recently, interest has developed in ways of manufacturing hydrocarbon gas fuels. The main sources are coal and the naphtha fraction of petroleum. In the case of coal three methods have been used: (1) pyrolysis – i.e. more efficient forms of destructive distillation, often with further hydrogenation of the hydrocarbon products; (2) heating the coal with hydrogen and catalysts to give hydrocarbons – a process known as hydroliquefaction (see also Bergius process); (3) producing carbon monoxide and hydrogen and obtaining hydrocarbons by the Fischer-Tropsch process. SNG from naptha is made by steam reforming. See CRG process.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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