[Dr. Scott W. Tinker] We now know that natural gas is mostly hydrogen. In fact, it's four hydrogen atoms bound to a carbon atom. This high hydrogen content and simple structure make it incredibly useful. It can be used to make products like acetic acid. Acetic acid is one of the primary ingredients in plastics, and we know that plastics are used in everything. It can also be used to make ammonia. Ammonia is one of the primary ingredients in fertilizers. Modern agriculture depends on ammonia. But the most important use of natural gas is simply to add oxygen. When you oxidize- another name for burning- you get carbon dioxide, water, and a whole lot of heat. This makes natural gas the usual heat source for most industrial equipment like boilers, burners, and kilns, and small residential equipment like water heaters and stoves, and clean enough that it can be burned directly in the house. Power plants burn it to boil water, make steam, and turn turbines. Natural gas makes about a quarter of U.S. electricity and growing, and it's growing in transportation too. It can be converted to liquid fuel, but more commonly, it's compressed and burned directly in fleets of buses or taxis that have central fueling stations. Because it's a gas, transporting methane is more difficult than liquids or solids, and there are environmental impacts of producing and using it but less than coal or oil. With an ability to contribute at a large scale to all areas of energy use- heat, electricity, and transportation- and a growing global supply, natural gas will play an important role in our energy future.