Natural gas is used for so many things. You can cook with it, heat with it, and there are even cars that have been modified to run on natural gas. Natural gas has to go through several steps before it can be used for anything. Refining the natural gas gets rid of all the impurities and makes it possible for it to be used. One of the first steps to refining natural gas is for it to be dehydrated.
After the gas has been drawn up from the ground, it goes through a dehydration process. It may sound like a weird thing to happen to the natural gas, but it is important. What happens when it comes to dehydration is that all the water that has worked itself into the gas gets removed. There are a lot of reasons that the water needs to be removed, but one of the biggest ones is that if it isn't removed, that water will cause corrosion and damage to all the parts from the pipeline to the stoves and furnaces that the natural gas will eventually be used in. There are several ways that it can happen. One of them is to use something called triethylene glycol (TEG).
TEG is a kind of alcohol, but definitely not the kind that you drink. It gets used in a lot of different things, like air freshening sprays. On its own, it's colorless, odorless, and very viscous. When it gets added to other things, though, triethylene glycol does a lot of things. When it's added to natural gas at the pipeline, it starts to absorb the water that is in the gas. TEG does this because one of its other properties is that it is drawn to water and vice versa. That allows the natural gas to be dehydrated so that the water doesn't dilute the natural gas or damage any of the components of the pipeline, the refinery, or any other place that the natural gas gets used.
Natural gas is an important fuel source for a lot of different things. But it can't be used straight from the ground. There are things that have to be done to it in order for it to be used when it gets to its end point. One of them is to make sure that there is no water in the natural gas, using things like TEG.