Study Lowers the Benefits of Natural Gas

A rig drills for natural gas at a hydraulic fracturing site owned by EQT Corp. located atop the Marcellus shale rock formation in Pennsylvania. Bloomberg. Image from the Wall Street Journal.

A rig drills for natural gas at a hydraulic fracturing site owned by EQT Corp. located atop the Marcellus shale rock formation in Pennsylvania. Bloomberg. Image from the Wall Street Journal.

February 14, 2014

By Dr. Tyra OldhamLANDsds Sustainable Voice News

Natural Gas has been the golden child of energy creating surpluses.  The focus on the oil and gas has boosted profits and led way to U.S. growth in the energy market.  The boom has overshadowed alternative energy or rather the renewable market.  The natural gas explosion “on a major natural gas pipeline in southern Kentucky led to a forced evacuation of residents and injured at least one person early on Thursday,” reported Reuters.  The news of the Study Downplays Natural Gas Benefits” can lead to a second look a this energy phenom.

A new study says methane leaks from natural gas wells and pipes undermine the lower emissions potential of that fuel. A new report published in Science  suggests that switching from diesel to natural gas in trucks could increase greenhouse gas emissions.  Burning natural gas releases about half as much carbon dioxide as burning coal. But methane, a component of natural gas, often leaks out of pipes and wells, negating its climate benefits when burned. The new study analyzes 20 years of data and says the EPA has underestimated methane leakage, but concludes that burning natural gas is still better than burning coal,” reports the Environmental Leader.

The reality is natural gas is a political and an environmental football.  The standards for storage and transport are under review on how to store this energy source safely. The emission standards as well as benefits must be weighed against the long-term disadvantages that may produce higher costs to the overall market.

Natural gas will continue to be reviewed until an energy mix can be qualified and adopted as standard supporting the infrastructural DNA consisting of transportation, facilities and power solutions.

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