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Natural Gas vs. Traditional Fossil Fuels

First and foremost, natural gas is technically a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels are defined as a natural fuel formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms. Now, it is important that we take the time to show a distinction between natural gas and other fossil fuels because, if more industrial and commercial businesses make the switch to natural gas, it could have a huge effect on the environmental health of our world.

Natural Gas vs. Traditional Fossil Fuels like Coal and Oil

Natural gas is a highly efficient form of energy composed mainly of methane, a composition of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4). When methane is burned, the product is a combustion of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Because of this, natural gas has several advantages over traditional fossil fuels like coal and oil. Natural gas has fewer impurities, less chemical complexity, and produces less pollution. Let's take a closer look at how natural gas and other fossil fuels compare.

Environmental Impact

As the shift to a clean energy environment is accelerating with every passing day, so do the arguments about whether or not natural gas is a cleaner alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

Year after year, the conversation surrounding natural gas versus traditional fossil fuels such as coal has become a rampant discussion as natural gas is a fuel often praised for its affordability while still leaving many unsure if it is technically a "clean" source of energy. Despite speculation, natural gas is an essential piece of the puzzle to establishing clean energy as another way to help protect the environment.

Natural Gas Promotes Cleaner Burning and Energy Efficiency

Natural gas is described as "clean" because it produces fewer undesirable by-products per unit energy than traditional fossil fuels like coal and oil. While many may disagree, the use of natural gas as a source can result in immediate and long-term environmental and public health benefits such as decreases in cases of asthma.

Though the combustion of natural gas does produce sulfur, mercury, and nitrogen oxides (NOx), it does so at much lower levels than its counterparts. In a recent report done by the Department of Energy (DOE), for every 10,000 U.S. homes that are powered by natural gas, they avoid annual emissions of 1,900 tons of NOx, 3,900 tons of SO2, and 5,200 tons of particulates.

Lastly, on average, coal is about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power, whereas natural gas is nearly 60% efficient.

Natural Gas Produces Fewer Carbon Emissions

Another reason why natural gas is a cleaner energy source is the fact that it produces fewer carbon emissions than its traditional fossil fuel counterparts.

As a whole, natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) when it's burned in a new, energy-efficient power plant compared to newer coal plant emissions. Natural gas also emits 15 to 20 percent less heat-trapping gases than gasoline when burned in most modern vehicles.

Natural Gas Use

The United States used about 30 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2018, the equivalent of 31 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and 31% of total U.S. primary energy consumption. Natural gas has become the preferred choice for commercial, industrial, and residential purposes:

  • 34 percent of natural gas is used for industrial purposes
  • 17 percent is used in residences
  • 35 percent is used to produce electricity
  • 12 percent is used for heating, water, and air conditioning in commercial buildings
  • 3 percent is used for transportation

Other Benefits of Natural Gas

By the numbers, natural gas is seemingly the best route to bridge the gap to a cleaner future, but it also provides a variety of other benefits that often go unreported.

For starters, households that rely on natural gas for things such as heating and cooking spend an average of $840 less per year and because of its limited range of flammability and air density, natural gas is one of the world's safest sources of energy to use in homes, businesses, and schools alike to help keep the air fresh and clean.

With natural gas, you'll also never run out of fuel or have to worry about a disruption of supply due to severe weather or power outages. Natural gas comes from underground pipelines (2.5 million to be exact) meaning it's always there when you need it.

Switch to Natural Gas with FireSide Natural Gas

FireSide Natural Gas was founded on a reputation of a commitment to excellence as one of Georgia's top providers of natural gas for commercial and industrial users in Metro Atlanta.

If you are interested in making the switch to natural gas, our team of dedicated industry experts is here to help. Contact FireSide Natural Gas at (678) 872-0250 or toll-free (866) 517-0250 for more information and speak with us today!