Natural Gas: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Gas

What is Natural Gas?

Natural gas, often known as fossil gas or just gas, is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture mostly composed of methane, but also including various proportions of other higher alkanes and, on occasion, a tiny fraction of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulphide, or helium. It is created over millions of years when layers of decaying plant and animal materials are exposed to extreme heat and pressure under the Earth’s surface. The energy that the plants first acquired from the sun is stored in the gas as chemical bonds. Natural gas is a kind of fossil fuel.

Advantages of Natural Gas

  • Convenient and more comfortable to store
  • Natural Gas may be transported effortlessly
  • A key player in sustainable renewable energy development
  • Economical
  • Abundant
  • Existing infrastructure
  • Minimizes foreign oil dependence
  • Creates employment
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Efficient
  • Safe
  • Extremely reliable

Convenient and more comfortable to store

If natural gas is used for cooking or for electricity purposes, the pipes can be linked to the home of the user. This removes the time-consuming process of gathering, processing, packaging, and delivering the finished product to clients.

One of the reasons for its popularity is the ease with which it can be stored. You can store it in above-ground or subterranean tanks. You may also maintain it in any condition, liquid or gas. The safety of the pipeline system is directly connected to the user’s facility.

Natural Gas may be transported effortlessly

It is easy to transfer natural gas using ships, tankers and pipes. Carbon footprint is lighter and simpler to carry. This is a realistic alternative for natural gas to be utilised in residences. One of the primary advantages of natural gas is that plastics, chemicals, fertilisers and hydrogen are produced with it.

A key player in sustainable renewable energy development

Consider gas as a “bridge” for an increasing economy of renewable energy. The diversification of the electrical mix and the hedging of risks associated with market and policy incertitudes can assist to promote a low carbon, resilient and reliable power system.

Meanwhile, the EIA forecasts to account for rising power generating shares of natural gas and renewable energy. However, this is unlikely to happen evenly: The existing excess gas supply in California has shrunk and threatenes both the profitability of natural gas plants and the development in the solar, wind and renewable energy sectors.

Economical

Natural gas is less costly than other types of fuel. Natural gas cars, as well as other engines fueled by it, are considerably more energy-efficient, making them less expensive to operate. Given that the vast majority of engines in the world are gas-powered, the expense of converting or replacing them is prohibitively expensive. It is the most popular fuel used in homes for heating and cooking.

Even when gasoline prices rise, the price of natural gas nearly usually remains constant. For example, when gasoline prices surpassed $4 per gallon, natural gas stayed at $2 per gallon. The law of supply and demand does not always have a major impact on natural gas pricing.

Natural gas has become even more affordable as a result of technological advancements; for example, the Shale Business, which supplies gas in the United States, is considerably less expensive than any other natural gas company. Because its gas is so cheap, it encourages a number of transportation businesses to switch to natural gas instead of diesel.

Abundant

Experts now believe that the amount of natural gas accessible is greater than that of crude oil or other similar goods. It has been discovered that natural gas has been available for more than a century solely in the United States. This indicates that there is a plentiful supply of this gas all throughout the planet.

Existing infrastructure

The technology for natural gas production already exists and the knowledge of the present technology makes it easier for us to utilise the gas. It is increasingly utilised for power and heat generating.

Minimizes foreign oil dependence

Many countries are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of their reliance on other countries for oil. Many people’s problems could be alleviated if everyone started utilising natural gas. This gas may be used in place of oil to power vehicles and generate energy.

Creates employment

The natural gas sector creates more than 3 million employment. This helps individuals since it pays more than the average wage. The country in which commerce is located has the lowest rate of unemployment. Jobs in renewable energy rise while traditional petroleum and gas industries decrease. However, according to the American Natural Gas Alliance, the US natural gas sector is supporting 2,8 million employment.

Environmentally Friendly

Natural gas is the cleanest of several burning fossil fuels on the planet Earth. It is considered pure, since natural gas emits contaminants into the environment, somewhat different from other gases. This cleans the air that we breathe. Cleanest fossil fuel is called as natural gas. The gaseous condition of the by-products of this gas does not contaminate the soil or the subterranean water. No soot or sulphur dioxide is produced when it is burned. This gas will not harm people or plants or animals since it is not poisonous.

Efficient

Compared with substances like propane gas, when combusted natural gas generates significantly more energy, making it much better energy source.

Safe

When individuals use natural gas for cooking, it can be routed by means of pipelines to the consumer’s home. This eliminates the lengthy procedure of collection, processing, packing and customer delivery of the final product.

It’s really simple and easy to save this gas, and this is one of the reasons why it is famous. It is possible to save it in tanks above or in the basement. Also, in any condition, liquid or gas you can maintain it. The safety of the pipeline system is directly connected to the user’s facility.

Extremely reliable

In contrast to other renewables, natural gas can supply you with uninterrupted electricity 24 hours a day. Gas boilers and engines to increase gas efficiency to energy conversions are also being developed. Natural gas is also reliable; electricity will not be disconnected during a storm.

Disadvantages of Natural Gas

  • Storage issues
  • Non-renewable energy source
  • Highly combustible
  • The persistent hazards of ageing infrastructure
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Expensive pipelines
  • Real environmental issues of Fracking
  • Not easy to use
  • Long processing process
  • Leakage

Storage issues

Despite the fact that natural gas is easy to store and transport, it has one significant disadvantage. Its volume is four times that of gasoline, making it more expensive to store because more money must be spent on additional storage.

Non-renewable energy source

With the benefits of natural gas aside, one should not forget that it is a non-renewable energy source. Experts say natural gas will become exhausted in the future and must be imported from other countries. Many specialists think that one day natural gas will get exhausted. So they argue it’s a non-renewable energy source that people can’t rely on forever.

As with fossil fuels (e.g. coal and petroleum), natural gas is a finite energy source and will end up running out. Although it is a non-renewable and unsustainable source of energy, it can continue to play a significant role for our planet’s long-term survival. Natural gas may be utilised as a substitute for petroleum and coal until the energy mix of the globe is dominated by renewable energy.

Highly combustible

Despite the fact that natural gas is lighter than air, it is extremely flammable. Because natural gas has no odour, it is also difficult to detect a leak. Mishandling can cause dangerous explosions. We must use extreme caution while utilising this gas in locations that are prone to catching fire. You won’t be able to detect if the gas is leaking or not because natural gas is odourless. As a result, many people avoid using it in vehicles.

The persistent hazards of ageing infrastructure

It is no secret that much natural gas transportation and storage infrastructure is old and exposed to leaks and explosions.

Greenhouse gas emissions

It emits carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other carbon compounds to the environment when natural gas is burned. These carbon gases transport carbon to the atmosphere from the ground, adding to the greenhouse effect. While efforts have been intensified to decrease emissions by nations who generate most carbon dioxide, meaningful measures have yet to be implemented.

Expensive pipelines

As the use of lengthy pipelines, specialised tanks and separate plumbing systems is necessary, the infrastructure needed is highly expensive to use natural gas. Extra costs are required for long distance transit and transportation. Add to running costs the fixing of the leaky pipes.

Real environmental issues of Fracking

During fracking, a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is pumped into a well, fracturing rock deep under the surface and releasing the trapped gas. The gas then rises to the surface and exits via the wellhead.

Substantial environmental problems arise with fracking. Fracking needs enormous volumes of water, frequently delivered to remote areas. There are worries as well as the potential for pollution of groundwater in the chemical in the combination put into the wells.

Finally, there are concerns that fracking may trigger regional earthquakes, a subject that has garnered significant national attention and concern.

Not easy to use

All the components (besides methane) must be removed in order to use natural gas. This leads in many by-products such as hydrocarbons, such as nitrogen, steam, carbon dioxide, helium and even sulphur.

Long processing process

Long and expensive processes are in place before commercial and residential usage.

First, natural gas comes combined with a fluid known as crude oil. The majority of by-products like Propane, Ethane and Butane are then removed from the product. These are recovered can be utilised in other areas. And virtually in its ultimate state is natural gas that may be utilised in daily life.

However, this is followed by another critical final step, as natural gas is a colourless and odourless hydrocarbon that is very combustible while being non-toxic. To avoid mishaps, it will be perfumed to make gas leaks noticeable.

Following that, a new natural gas composition is produced, which is how it reaches end customers. This method complicates and increases the cost of natural gas production.

Leakage

Leaks and flaring contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Even though it is lighter than air and disperses rapidly, a major concern with natural gas is that it is colourless, odourless, and tasteless, making identification of a leak difficult.

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