Electricity from Natural Gas





Electricity from Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel found in underground reservoirs and it is mostly composed of methane and hydrocarbon.  Electricity from natural gas is generated through steam turbines, combustion turbines, or a combination of both. Using a steam turbine involves burning natural gas to create heat which in turn converts water to steam. The steam turns the turbine and this generates electricity. Natural gas can be burnt in a combustion turbine to generate electricity. The combined cycle utilizing both methods is the most efficient. It is considered the cleanest of all fossil fuels because it produces minimal nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, particulate matter or sulfur dioxide, all of which are considered major polluting emissions. Natural gas is a non renewable energy source but it is also abundant. The extraction of natural gas from unconventional sources such as those trapped in deep impermeable rock and non-porous limestone and sandstone has increased supply. It produces little solid waste during the extraction and refining process. The US has been the major producer of natural gas in the world since 2011. In 2015, production for natural gas increased by 3.7billlion cubic feet daily, representing a 5% increase. The production was 79bilion cubic feet per day (Little and Tran).

One of the negative consequences of using natural gas is that it will produce methane over a period of continued use. Methane is considered one of the most potent greenhouse gases, which contributed to global warming. Another negative consequence is that the combustion of the gas produces carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in amounts comparable to the burning of coal. In addition, the production of natural gas can disrupt wildlife, impact the environment negatively through drilling, and lead to increased landslides, flooding, runoffs, soil erosion, and loss of soil productivity.  

Works Cited:

Little, Jeffrey and Tu, Tran. “U.S. Natural Gas Production Reaches Record High in 2015.” U.S. Energy Information Administration. 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 7 July 2016

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