Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. It offers various environmental advantages over the other energy sources. Using natural gas improves air quality (by reducing smog), reduces of GHGs and decreases the possibility of acid rains. These clean burning facts of natural gas have led into a boost in natural gas consumption all over the world. Consequently, this clean source of energy has continuously increased its share in the global energy mix in last few decades and the shining prospects for future are still to be realized.
Unlike oil and coal which are composed of complex molecules with high carbon, nitrogen and sulphur contents, principal component of natural gas is methane. As a result, the combustion of oil and coal leads to release of harmful by-products which include high levels of carbon emissions, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxides. Furthermore, oil and coal combustion result in other harmful products such as particulate matters in forms of ash and soot.
For generating a particular amount of energy, natural gas produces approximately 25% less carbon dioxide than gasoline, 27% less than fuel oil, 30% less than crude oil and 45% less than coal. Despite the fact that methane as the principal component of natural gas is an important Greenhouse Gas, studies underpin that reductions in CO2 emissions significantly reciprocate the negative effects of GHG release resulting from natural gas combustion.
Petrol or diesel-powered cars are one of the key causes of smog generation. Since natural gas emits less nitrogen oxides and particulate matters, it does not contribute to smog formation. Comparing with Petrol/diesel fired engines, Gas-fired engines cut carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide up to respectively 97% and 25%.
Acid rains are another growing environmental concern, and natural gas is well capable to tackle this problem effectively. When Nitrogen oxides or sulphur oxides make reaction with water vapour existing in atmosphere, nitric or sulphuric acids are produced. These acids then fall on earth as acid rains. Coal-fired power plants are considered as the major cause to acid rains. Natural gas does not emit sulphur oxides and produces 80% less nitrogen oxides compared to coal.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum is a pioneer international governmental organization which has made considerable efforts to promote the use of natural gas and enhance the global natural gas trade as the cleanest fossil source of energy. As a member of the world community, GECF also recognizes its responsibility to the environment and strives to make it as green as possible by enhancement of gas share in the world energy basket and encouraging the world to further sustainable development of the global gas reserves.
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