Natural gas is accounted for 31% of America’s power consumption. Like all types of energy, using natural gas presents advantages and disadvantages. if you’re considering whether to install natural gas yourself, you’ll likely be wondering about these and how they apply to you.
Read on as we explore the pros and cons of natural gas.
What Is Natural Gas?
Even if you know nothing about energy or fuel, you’ll likely have heard the term “natural gas” before. However, you may not know how it differs from other similar sources of energy. Natural gas is a mixture of different hydrocarbon gases. Its primary constituent is usually methane. Its most common uses include heating, electricity generation, and cooking. Natural gas as a fuel is efficient since it is typically compressed to less than 1% of its original volume. This is thanks to modern CNG storage solutions. CNG (compressed natural gas) combustion also produces fewer harmful emissions in comparison to other forms of fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas.
The Pros of Natural Gas
Natural gas has not remained one of America’s most popular fuels for decades without good reason. Below are some of the key reasons why people continue to choose natural gas over its rivals.
Compared to other types of fossil fuel, there is a large amount of natural gas left for collection in the world today. Experts estimate that in America alone there are over a trillion barrels of natural gas that remain to be harvested. Compared to other types of finite fuel, such as coal, this is quite a lot.
No fossil fuel is exactly environmentally friendly. However, when it comes to non-renewable power sources, natural gas is ahead of the competition. Both coal and oil are more detrimental to the environment than natural gas.
There have been some accidents in relation to natural gas use and production over the years. However, these have been minor compared to those caused by other types of energy production, especially nuclear energy.
New shipping regulations were put forward by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2020. These put much lower limits on the amount of sulfur that is permissible in marine bunker fuels. Liquefied natural gas is much lower in sulfur than some other options. Businesses operating in the area of marine shipping, therefore, have a renewed interest in natural gas. This great article contains more detail on these developments, and how natural gas relates to them.
The Cons of Natural Gas
While natural gas has advantages over many other power sources, it’s far from perfect. Some of the most significant drawbacks of natural gas are listed here.
While natural gas is more environmentally friendly than some other fossil fuels, it poses more environmental problems than any source of renewable energy. Solar and wind energy, for example, are far better in terms of their environmental impact. For larger industrial purposes, renewable energy may not be an option. However, if you’re actively trying to lower your carbon footprint and you just want to provide heating or electricity for your home, you might be better off investing in something like solar panels.
Inefficient Production Methods
Closely tied to the environmental concerns around natural gas are worries about its production method. Because of the amount of by-products that occur in the manufacturing of natural gas, experts express concerns about its sustainability. These by-products include water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium, and sulfur.
You may have heard about the controversy surrounding the practice of fracking. This is one of the main drawbacks of natural gas as a power source. Fracking is the process by which natural gas is extracted from the earth. Its full name is hydraulic fracturing. It involves drilling into the ground above which the natural gas lies and using a high-pressure water mixture to drive the gas to the surface. This process has huge repercussions for the surrounding landscape. It causes huge water and soil pollution and may also lead to earthquakes.
While its abundance is listed here as an advantage of natural gas, this abundance has a limit. Like any other non-renewable resource, natural gas will eventually run out. When supplies start to get lower, the price will skyrocket. It’s not yet possible to say at what stage this will happen, but it will come to pass at some point. If you invest in natural gas infrastructure now, its operating costs may increase significantly in the years or decades to come.
How the Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Relate to You
Everyone’s energy requirements are different. Something that sets natural gas out as a winner for you might be the reason why it’s no good for someone else. While it has a more favorable environmental impact than some other fossil fuels, the drawbacks of natural gas center around the fact that it is not entirely sustainable. Therefore, if the environment is an important consideration for you, you may want to look elsewhere for your power solutions.
However, this is not a luxury that every energy customer has
Looking to solar or wind power is a viable option for those looking to power or heat a home or small business. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an energy solution for heavy industry or haulage, natural gas may be the greenest option at your disposal.
Getting the Best Energy Solution for Your Home
The pros and cons of natural gas, like those of every other energy source, are relative to your situation. What works perfectly for one home may be less than ideal for another. To decide whether natural gas is the right fit for you, weigh up all the advantages and disadvantages in light of your own circumstances. Did you enjoy this article? Be sure to have a look at some more of our content if so! We post articles about all kinds of home improvement topics.