When most people hear the term natural gas energy they often think of natural gas being an environmentally friendly energy source. Although natural gases are indeed environmentally friendly, the way in which we use this energy source to produce electricity, heat our homes or cook our food is by no means environmentally friendly. Although burning natural gas is more environmentally friendly than burning alternative fuels such as coal, it still has an impact on the air we breathe and can contribute towards climate change.
Generating Electricity From Natural Gas
As mentioned in the opening paragraph of this page, the way in which we use natural gas in order to provide electricity is by no means environmentally friendly. In order for natural gas to be able to produce electricity, we have to burn it. This process gives off emissions that have been proven to be harmful to the environment.
Large industrial power stations that use natural gas as an energy source consume a significant amount of gas each and every day of operation. This results in significant levels of greenhouse gases being released into the air each year. So what is this doing to our environment? Well, although this type of energy does burn slightly cleaner than other fossil fuels (such as coal and oil), it still pumps out significant amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, and this isn’t good for us, our environment, or the fight against climate change.
As we pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect becomes stronger resulting in uncertainty for the earth’s climate in the coming years. Energy companies have for some years being focusing on trying to reduce the levels of greenhouse gases they release into the air each year as a direct result of their operations. This has in some cases being met with considerable success through innovations in how we can trap and store these harmful gases.
Liquefied Natural Gas
Liquefied natural gas or LNG has been developed purely for transportation purposes. Many years ago, natural gas energy was only economically viable to be extracted and burnt in the same country or geographic location. The reason behind this was that if you extract natural gas in Africa and would like to use this in America, then the gas would have to be transported by ship across the Atlantic Ocean. This may not sound much of a problem but due to the low density of natural gas, only limited amounts could be transported by one ship.
By super-cooling natural gas it becomes a liquid which makes it more economically viable for transportation by ship across vast oceans for use in countries other than those in close proximity to the extraction source.
Natural Gas Alternatives
So what other energy sources could we use?
Well we should be using more renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy, or even geothermal energy in a bid to curb greenhouse gas emissions whilst providing a cleaner and healthier environment.