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What are the advantages of using natural gas instead of oil and electricity to protect the environment?
Burning natural gas produces less greenhouse gases than burning oil or using electricity for the same purpose, e.g. heating. And reducing greenhouse gas emissions helps reduce the rate of increase of global warming.
- Natural gas (consisting mainly of methane, CH4) contains about four times as many hydrogen atoms H than carbon atoms C.
- Oil consists of long chains of carbon hydrates, containing about twice as many H atoms than C atoms.
- Electricity is (at present in most industrialized countries to a considerable degree) being produced from burning coal, which contains just C atoms. Furthermore, heating with electricity implies transforming heat into electricity, and then electricity back into heat, and thus means considerable losses in these energy conversion processes.
Burning C atoms produces CO2 (carbon dioxide), which is a greenhouse gas and stays in the atmosphere a long time. Burning H atoms produces H2O (water vapour), which does not stay in the atmosphere a long time (surplus water vapour comes down by precipitation such as rain).
Comparing natural gas, oil and electricity, burning natural gas produces the largest amount of innocuous H2O and the least amount of harmful CO2. Using for the same purpose electricity as it is being produced today produces the largest amount of harmful CO2.
Of course, using only renewable sources of energy for heating and producing electricity (solar, water, wind, waves, tides) is still better, as this causes by far less CO2 (none or almost none) than burning natural gas. Therefore, in countries that are already producing all of their electricity from renewable sources (such as Norway), using electricity of course protects the environment much better than burning natural gas.
Shell Gas & Power is part of the Anglo-Dutch oil company, Royal Dutch Shell.
Shell currently handles its energy and natural gas trading through its Shell Trading brand and its subsidiary, Coral Energy, LLC.
Coral Energy is a primary marketer of financial and physical power in the western United States (WECC), Texas (ERCOT), and Canada. They are also one of the largest Natural Gas providers to the western United States, having a very strong retail presence.
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