Is Natural Gas Going to be Our Savior?
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Author name: Alex Wilson Blog Category: Energy Solutions BuildingGreen Sounds Off A gradual shift in the supply-and-demand balance for natural gas and increasing shipments of LNG will bring the prices back up, while the risks of fracking continue to be debated Gas well in the shale country of Pennsylvania. Click to enlarge. Photo Credit: Philly Workers Voice In many parts of the country and for many applications, natural gas is considered a panacea to our energy challenges. Comprised mostly of methane, natural gas is clean-burning, with just a tiny fraction of the particulates, nitrous oxides, and other pollutants that are emitted from burning coal or oil. Because the ratio of hydrogen to carbon is higher with natural gas than with longer-carbon-chain fossil fuels like coal and oil, less carbon dioxide is generated when it is burned. At the point of combustion, natural gas releases about 500 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour ( kWh ), compared to about 900 grams for coal. That’s good news in terms of climate change . And the dramatic upsurge in natural gas production made possible through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has cut prices dramatically over the past five years. These low prices have contributed to utility companies replacing some of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants with advanced, natural gas plants—and this has lead to rather significant reductions in our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions over the past few years. Natural gas seems like a winner. What’s not to like about it? read more