When you are looking for the perfect energy source, your search will come to an end very quickly. The fact is that no energy source is perfect and there are good and bad attributes associated with every type. The only way to determine if an energy source is the best option is to weigh the pros against the cons. Like every other energy source known to man, natural gas has both advantages and compromises.
Fascination with Natural Gas
Natural gas has become a headline topic in the news lately for many different reasons. It has often been hailed as a solution to the energy problems that we are facing, but this is not entirely true. Trying to separate all the facts from the fiction can be pretty difficult, but taking a closer look at both the pros and cons of natural gas is a start.
What is Natural Gas?
Before you take a deeper look at natural gas, it is essential that you don’t inaccurately define this type of energy as shale gas. It has become increasingly common for people to lump natural gas and shale gas as one in the same, but this is not accurate. There are a number of distinctions between natural gas and shale gas. Natural gas is collected as a byproduct of oil drilling, while shale gas is attributed to a very aggressive method of extraction that involves getting beneath the many layers of shale under the surface. This means that shale gas is often dependent on fracking.
Taking a closer look at the advantages associated with this energy source allows you to see why there is so much buzz surrounding natural gas. Although no energy source is perfect, natural gas is overflowing with a variety of benefits that can be extremely impactful.
Pros of Natural Gas:
1. Widely Used
Natural gas is quickly becoming the most used energy source in existence. It is widely used and plays a part in about 22% of the entire world’s energy production. This is a huge percentage and shows that natural gas is immensely popular and only growing in use and production as time goes on.
2. Can it Be Delivered?
When you are determining if an energy source is viable, you have to consider the delivery infrastructure that is in place. One great advantage associated with natural gas use is that is that a delivery infrastructure for this energy source is already in place. This means that getting access to natural gas is made simple, which is a huge convenience and benefit.
3. What Are Uses?
The uses of natural gas also give this energy source a huge advantage. It can be used for both power generation and heat. This makes it a much more versatile energy source than others and is a big advantage.
4. Clean Fossil Fuel
Another pro associated with natural gas is the fact that it is known as one of the cleanest fossil fuel types in existence. Unlike other types of fossil fuel, natural gas burns very efficiently and also produces less CO2 than both coal and oil. It emits almost 45% less CO2 than coal and more than 30% less CO2 than oil. However, it is found in abundance and there is a huge supply.
Although there are many advantages associated with natural gas, this does not mean that everything surrounding this energy type is positive. There are a few downsides to using natural gas that are seen by many as cons.
Cons of Natural Gas:
One of the biggest downsides of natural gas is that it is a non-renewable energy source. This means that the supply can’t be replaced.
2. What is Emitted?
Natural gas may emit less CO2 than coal and oil, but it still produces some carbon dioxide when it is burned. This is not ideal and is seen as a negative by many. Natural gas is also known to contain methane in high volumes. This is not good because methane is a potent greenhouse gas. It is an energy source that is explosive and has the potential to be very dangerous. This means that natural gas much be used with care and some safety hazards do exist that you have to be warned against.
3. Production and Distribution
This is a concentrated source of energy that needs longer distances of transmission and transportation, which is not ideal during production and distribution of natural gas. There are extensive pipelines that are required to ensure that this type of fossil fuel is transported over land. It is stored under high pressure and needs turbine-generators to produce energy.
Learning more about natural gas requires you to take a closer look at both the advantages and downsides. In some cases, natural gas can offer many benefits, but this is not always true.