What Makes Natural Gas the Cleanest Fossil Fuel?
Daily energy consumption and its impact on the environment directly correlates with the source of the energy. A greater percentage of environmentally-impacting energy comes from fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas. While all fossil fuels impact the environment in some way, natural gas is cleaner and more efficient than oil and coal.
Natural Gas Generates Fewer Harmful Emissions
Fossil fuels produce emissions that impact the environment when they’re burned. Natural gas emissions are made up of water vapor and carbon dioxide. And while carbon dioxide is a large contributor to air pollution, natural gas that is burned in newer, more efficient power plants gives off between 50 and 60 percent less carbon dioxide than traditional coal plants and up to 30 percent less than oil. Natural gas also produces less sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide than oil, making it an even cleaner choice for the air.
In fact, according to the American Gas Association (AGA), natural gas emits nearly 90,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide per billion British thermal units (Btu) than coal—that’s equal to the yearly CO2 emissions of over 9 average-sized cars.
Natural Gas is More Efficient than Other Forms of Fossil Fuel
Natural gas produces more energy than any of the fossil fuels. It has a 92% efficiency rate from wellhead to home, compared to electricity generated by coal, which operates at only a 32% efficiency rate, according to National Fuel.
Natural gas energy is also cost effective; as a fossil fuel abundant in the U.S., natural gas is one of our greatest domestic energy sources. National Fuel reports that around 90% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. comes from within the country, and nearly 100% of it comes from North America.
90% of natural gas consumed in America is produced in the U.S., and 100% is produced in North America
Natural Gas Helps Other Alternative Energy Efforts
Beyond its use as a direct source of energy, natural gas is being used in a number of other ways that are helping America’s quest for clean energy. According to the AGA, natural gas is not only used by electric utilities to make cleaner energy, but its molecular disposition makes it usable to create green materials such as “light-weight cars, wind power blades, and solar panels.” The methane in natural gas is being used to make hydrogen power. Given all it does, it can be hard to believe that this versatile natural resource is still the same blue flame that heats your home.