Combustion of natural gas generates abt. 30% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than fuel oil and abt. 45% less than coal, with a twofold reduction in nitrogen oxide (N0x) and almost no environmentally damaging sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions.
A switch from more carbon-intensive fuels to natural gas can mean significant carbon abatement itself. In the United States, for example, the switch from coal- to gas-fired power (facilitated by lower gas prices since 2008) abated more carbon emissions than all the renewable power capacity ever installed in the country. LNG is further an efficient and clean “peaker fuel” that can be combined with periodically available renewable power such as solar and wind.
A deeper decarbonization of natural gas can be achieved in different ways.
- Carbon Capture and Storage or Usage is an existing technology where the CO2 can be captured prior or post combustion of the natural gas. Depending on the projects the CO2 can either be injected and stored in suitable reservoirs or alternatively used in various industrial appliances. There are natural gas fueled powerplants under development that captures the CO2 along with other industrial gasses, providing not only cleaner but also cheaper electricity from Natural Gas.
- BioLNG or synthetic LNG is another promising route to decarbonization of natural gas. Bio-LNG is a credible zero-carbon pathway with massive, unrealized potential utilizing the same infrastructure as LNG. Bio-LNG is locally produced fuel which is gained from the biogas produced from waste streams such as organic household waste, sludge, manure or agricultural waste. This biogas is upgraded and liquefied into Bio-LNG, consisting of almost 100% methane. By producing fuel from waste, Bio-LNG contributes to a circular economy. When it comes to 100% biomethane, and particularly when it is produced from liquid manure, the GHG emissions balance is even negative.