When you can cook better for less gas why do you waste gas?
Posted on April 24th, 2012

Dr Hector Perera

Dr Hector Perera

Methane is the gas that is used for heating in homes and businesses, cooking, generating electricity also used as a fuel for running vehicles. Apart from these uses, it is used for the production of various industrial products in petrochemical plants.  Methane doesn’t catch fire spontaneously but the initial reaction with oxygen is endothermic that means it needs some heat to start the reaction. Once it started, it gives lot more energy for that reason the overall reaction is highly exothermic or gives out more heat than it needed to initiate the reaction.

When methane (CH4) burns, it reacts with oxygen gas to produce carbon dioxide and water. The equation for this reaction is.
CH4(g) + 2O2 (g) —> CO2 (g) + 2H2O(g)

Methane +  Oxygen –ƒÆ’†’  Carbon dioxide + water  + energy
This type of reaction is referred to as a complete combustion reaction.

It can also undergo incomplete combustion in the absence of not enough oxygen to produce more harmful odourless carbon monoxide.

2CH4 + 3O2 -> 4H2O + 2CO

Sometimes in the kitchen, some people do not allow air to come in by shutting the windows but still carry on cooking. I witnessed this when I was in Colombo; they shut the windows afters six pm to avoid any mosquitoes. It is a fact that, when air inside the kitchen is lack of oxygen then methane can burn to produce this more harmful gas carbon monoxide. Additionally some people burn mosquito coils with shut windows. It is absolutely important to have adequate ventilation while cooking to avoid any collection of poisonous gases.

Further, if the cooker gives out a yellow flame instead of clear blue flame then we must know it is due to incomplete combustion. It should be cleaned to remove any soot or anything blocking the gas outlet. Burning methane gives out carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and these are atmospheric pollutant gases, the more gas is burnt more pollution takes place. Sometimes the cookers leak methane then an additional pollution because it is a relatively potent green house gas.

What I am trying to do is to use less gas or save gas on cooking then less atmospheric pollution as well. If less gas is used for cooking, do you need an accountant to investigate and calculate to find out whether you spend less money on gas? If I demonstrate how cooking can be done with less gas, explain it in quite simple words, even to be understood by GCSE students and for ordinary people, then do I need University Professors to verify whether my technique saves gas? If they wish to do so, they are welcomed. I have been challenging for anyone to disprove my scientific theory of cooking and I have placed a substantial sum of money as a challenge. For the last five or six years, my challenge went on with ever increasing challenging money but so far no one has come forward to challenge my theory. Now the question is should I remove the challenging money or increase it further?

Thanks for a very popular web site [www.lankaweb.com]; this challenge went on for years with my other various articles. The reason I put the money on the challenge is, if someone disproved my idea then it will be given away. My work is based on scientific ideas then according to science, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” I am sure you know exactly what I meant. My main aim is to help the general public and show that gas can be used efficiently than wasting and unnecessarily polluting the atmosphere.

Let me give some more useful properties of this useful gas. It can be converted into methanol by catalytic oxidation.

Methane formula is CH4, is a colourless, odourless, gaseous saturated hydrocarbon; the simplest alkane. It is less dense than air, melts at ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ”¹- “‘184°C, and boils at ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ”¹- “‘161.4°C. It is combustible and can form explosive mixtures with air. Methane occurs naturally as the principal component of natural gas; it is formed by the decomposition of plant and animal matter. When this decomposition occurs underwater in swamps and in marshes, marsh gas is released.  Since the gas is odourless an “odorant” is added so we can smell it if it leaks. The odorant is one or more of the “Mercaptans” [which smell like onion or garlic]. If you walk through a paddy field which is just ploughed, you would easily smell this marshy gas or take a stick and stir some muddy water to smell this gas. Sometimes this marshy gas smell comes out at the ground floor of houses build on land filled sites or houses build on sites filled in marshy or on paddy fields. I heard some people who sleep on the ground floor of these types of houses complain of headache, I wonder is it due to inhaling some marshy gas leaked out from the floor. Some people shut all doors and windows because of mosquito menace. In that case one must have some other kind of ventilation otherwise the air inside house get polluted.

Methane or ordinary cooking gas is used just not for different types of cooking but to get hot water for the bath and shower, for the dish washer, washing machine and even to wash cups and cooking pans. When I say different types of cooking, I mean 1) baking, (2) roasting, (3) broiling and grilling, (4) frying, (5) boiling, (6) simmering, and (7) steaming, salt, pepper, and other seasonings may be added to improve flavor.

Most of these different kinds of cooking are mainly done in Western world but in places like Sri Lanka, gas is mainly used for straight forward cooking, boiling and frying. Gas is usually not used to get water for the bath and shower unlike in cold countries. That means more uses of gas in cold weather countries. The price hike affects everybody but does not affect as much as in cold weather countries. I am sure some people in Sri Lanka do not use gas at all for cooking, instead they use firewood. The main reason for not using gas is just the price.

I mentioned earlier that I will be able to demonstrate how to save about 60% gas in cooking that means for the type of cooking and boiling for example, cooking rice, pasta, spaghetti, boiling potatoes, sweet potatoes, frying fish, cooking different curries, making “Pittu”, boiling chick peas or even making milk rice. These types of cooking are also done in foreign countries as well but additionally they largely use the oven and the grill. I am not quite sure how to save gas on baking, grilling and to warm up some ready made meals. I made my energy saving technique quite clear; one must not misunderstand that I can save gas in other areas of gas uses as well. I am sure someone would appreciate that I can save some gas in some areas of cooking. I think, something is better than nothing. If one has money to waste, money to burn, don’t care of atmospheric pollution then you may ignore my energy saving scientific cooking. When the opportunity arises again to demonstrate my technique then you would believe me. I am just waiting for any organisation to offer this opportunity. If I was wrong then I would pay for wasting their time but if was right? If you have any, please email me [email protected]

One Response to “When you can cook better for less gas why do you waste gas?”

  1. Wickrama Says:

    To cut a long story short, can you please DESCRIBE your energy saving method?

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