Technology continues to provide new tools for personal and business use, and all are dependent on electricity to charge batteries. When added to the normal appliances and electronics present in homes and businesses, these technology gadgets increase our need for cheap and plentiful electricity. Natural gas is a cheap and clean source of energy for generating electrical power, and is used successfully to power homes and businesses. Although there is some debate about its sustainability, proponents are certain that natural gas can be always be available to meet the growing power demands.
Natural gas is providing an affordable and clean alternative to other fossil fuels, and competing well with renewable green sources of energy. This clean burning fossil fuel is highly versatile, with many applications for home and business use. In the industrial sector, gas is used for steel and glass production and for the manufacture of fertilizers and cement. Electrical generation, steam heat production, and transportation fuel are other important contributions of natural gas to the industrial and manufacturing segment. Natural gas is also used in the creation of the most commonly used plastic, polyethylene polymers. In the home, natural gas powers clothes dryers, kitchen stoves, fireplaces, pumps, and furnaces.
According to energy producer, Encana, Natural gas produces up to 65 percent fewer emissions than coal per kilowatt hour and 25 percent fewer emissions than oil. Natural gas contributes to about 23 percent of the energy mix in Canada and the U.S. demonstrating the capacity is already in place for natural gas to meet our future energy needs. Natural gas is the future of cheap electricity.
Benefits Of Natural Gas For Energy Production
Prior to the 1980s, nuclear power plants and coal-fired plants were primarily responsible for the production of electricity. Because of environmental concerns and technology advancements, natural gas is the preferred fuel choice for new power plants. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Natural gas-fired electricity generation is expected to account for 80 percent of all added electricity generation capacity by 2035. Because of advanced technology drilling improvements, domestically produced natural gas is expected to provide sustainable and clean natural gas production for generations to come. Electricity produced by natural gas contributes in many ways to personal, business, and national interests.
Natural gas is affordable for homes and businesses
Natural gas is plentiful
Natural gas is a clean fossil fuel
Natural gas is more affordable than gasoline
Natural gas consistently creates new jobs
Natural gas production grows the economy
Natural gas is versatile energy
Natural gas has an excellent safety record
Natural gas is convenient and efficient
The Advantages Of Natural Gas
1. Natural gas is very clean due to an almost perfect combustion, which releases very few pollutants into the air, and there is no need for underground storage tanks, eliminating the concern of spills or tank corrosion.
2. Prior to the introduction of natural gas for the generation of electricity, coal was the main source of energy used and considered to be very dirty and directly contributing to air pollution. The Clean Air Act put power plants on notice, and instituted regulations that require new and clean methods of producing electricity.
3. Advanced technology has allowed natural gas an opportunity to play an important role in the production of clean electricity.
4. Data supplied by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 shows natural gas to be the cleanest of all fossil fuels.
Natural gas's versatility allows for electricity to be generated in a variety of ways. The simplest form of electrical generation is a steam generation unit. The natural gas is burned in a boiler, which creates steam. The steam then turns a turbine and creates the electricity. While steam generation is a simple process, it does not realize the full potential for power production. Only 35% of the energy used is finally converted to electrical energy. Centralized gas turbines are another way of using natural gas to generate electricity. Instead of using steam to turn the turbines, the burning fuel creates hot gasses to turn the turbines and generate the electricity. This method also falls short of producing a large percentage of energy into electrical power.
The newer combined-cycle natural gas plants are far more efficient than either steam generation or centralized gas generation. The combined-cycle plants use the technology of both the steam and centralized gas systems resulting in thermal efficiencies of up to 60%. This efficiency rating places natural gas as a major player in the clean and affordable production of electricity.
New technology advancements are opening the doors to the new practice of distributed generation. Simply stated, distributed generation is the practice of placing small electric generation units on location at residences, businesses, and industrial sites. These mini power plants are run by natural gas and provide electricity on demand. Distributed generation is clean, dependable, and inexpensive.
Is Natural Gas Sustainable
There are two sides to every story, and that is certainly true when it relates to the sustainability of natural gas. It took energy entrepreneur George Mitchell 17 years and many millions of dollars before the drilling and use of natural gas for energy became a reality. Those who uphold the use of natural gas believe it is a sustainable clean fossil fuel and those who are against the use of natural gas point to environmental concerns. We do know, as a result of Environmental Protection Agency studies, that natural gas releases very few pollutants and is the cleanest of all fossil fuels. Facts and studies show that a greater reliance on natural gas will reduce the effects of pollution caused by burning coal and other fossil fuels. In the future natural gas is expected to provide as much or more electricity as all green sources combined.
Natural gas is here to stay, and the goal of those promoting its use is to provide current and future generations with a clean, dependable, and affordable source of electricity.