Types of gas available in Australia

Australia is home to large volumes of natural gas used to power homes; around 60% of gas is of the natural kind, which is mostly made up of Methane. This can vary depending on which area of Australia you live in. In this article, we are going to run through the two types of gas that can be found throughout the home, and whether the gas available in Australia used to power homes can pose a risk in any way.

Methane is the most popular gas that is used to power the whole home, this is because it is natural and is the safest to use in domestic circumstances, for example cooking food on a gas hob. Methane runs through piping in the home and is distributed into areas like the kitchen, and sometimes to heat a boiler depending on how you have it powered.

Other types:

As mentioned, the most common type of gas used to power homes is made up mostly of Methane, but there is also another gas known as LP: Liquid Petroleum, which is commonly found in a cooking gas cylinder. It can be used as cooking fuel and is mixed with propane and butane, which are both flammable hydrocarbons. LP is more common in cooking gas, as Methane is used to power the rest of the home. This is not to be confused with cooking gas, which is again, powered by Methane.

LP is more commonly used in outdoor spaces, for example in a circumstance where you would need to transport gas to provide an open flame. It is less of domestic gas and more for commercial use. You would not find this connected internally into the home, it is more for outdoor use.

Is it safe?

Methane, in particular, is the safest, due to it being completely natural. It is also a good alternative to heating a home as it costs less to produce and is more economical for the environment, whereas other methods incur fossil fuels being burnt. Of course, leaving the gas on for a prolonged period of time can be fatal, and if you ever smell a gas leak exit your home immediately and call emergency services, like methane and other gases in the home are extremely flammable.

LP is also considered safe as it is sold in grocery stores, but should not really be used inside the home due to the fact that it is compressed and less controlled than methane. It is more for commercial use.

What are the benefits of methane?

  • It is natural: Meaning that it produces fewer greenhouse gases and can also be less harmful. Of course, the only gas that is not harmful is oxygen, so please do not confuse methane with being a 100% safe gas being produced.
  • Costs less: Natural gas is 40% cheaper than its electricity sister. Where it is not a man-made material, it means that there is an abundance of it (similar to solar energy) therefore suppliers do not need to charge as much for it.
  • Economical: It is far less damaging than burning fossil fuels or using nuclear power that can be detrimental if there is a fault. It can be considered as ‘green’ energy to some degree.
Author: Claire Stapley
Claire Stapley is ElectricityComparison.com.au's Energy Editor, based in Melbourne Australia. Claire is a founding member of ElectricityComparison.com.au News and Energy Team.