Natural Gas VS Other Energy Sources: Pros & Cons

When you think of energy and sources, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Energy in terms of physical energy? Electricity? Gas? Propane? Natural or renewable sources? Or perhaps non-renewable sources that are becoming rapidly extinct. It can be hard to pinpoint just what it is and what the multiple types are but we all know that the majority of worldwide operations need some source of energy to function at their best.

With companies over the globe turning to “green” sources, it is no wonder that natural gas is becoming more common within the industrial world. Natural gas is found within the confines of the earth, but is it a sustainable resource? Yes and no.

So, what exactly is natural gas and how does it compare to other energy sources? Let’s find out!

Natural Gas

Natural gas falls under the category of a non-renewable energy source because once it is completely used, there is no more to be had or found around the globe. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that is found beneath the top layer of the earth and must be removed through an extraction process, either through drilling using an industrial machine or through a pipeline built partially into the earth.

Advantages

  • Natural gas is widely considered one of the cleanest fossil fuels in terms of emissions.
  • Cleaner emissions will be translatable to a reduction in long-term health problems, as certain emissions from other sources (coal) can breed asthma or bronchitis in those who are close enough to breathe them in.
  • Natural gas is more environmentally friendly to extract versus other fossil fuels such as coal.
  • Extraction process does require a wide range of trained personnel, from labor workers to environmental engineers. The extraction will create a significant amount of jobs in a struggling economy.
  • Can be controlled through the use of filters and specially designed stacks that will reduce the number of emissions sent into the atmosphere. These filters and filtered stacks will divert the harmful agents into holding chambers to be disposed of properly.

Disadvantages

  • Emissions from fossil fuels have been proven to contribute to climate change and leave holes in the ozone layer. The ozone layer is what protects the earth and its inhabitants from feeling the full effect of the sun’s UV rays.
  • Emissions from natural gas can contain a higher-than-average amount of methane, which is one of the most damaging emissions there is. Methane can irreparably damage fragile ecosystems and cause long-term health problems for humans and animals alike. These methane gases can leak into the air during the extraction process and from unstable pipelines.
  • Extraction efforts can release harmful sediments into nearby streams or other water sources, damaging plant and marine life to irreparable levels.
  • Extraction efforts can speed up natural erosion processes, leading to landslides, floods, sinkholes, and other disastrous occurrences.

Other Energy Sources

Some other energy sources that are commonly found in a typical industrial setting range from renewable to non-renewable resources. Each type of energy source will fall under one of these categories, so it is important to know the difference.

Renewable Energy Source

Renewable Energy Source means  any source that is in constant supply and will regenerate itself during and after use. Like wind turbines!

Renewable Energy Sources

Advantages 

Disadvantages 

Hydroelectric – water converted to energy

Water can be reused and recycled to create a continuous source of energy

  • Can be an expensive switch and multiple machines are required
  • Can be damaging to marine life and ecosystems when done incorrectly

Solar – the use of the sun’s rays’ to create energy

  • One of the cleanest sources of energy.
  • The Power source is always available
  • Can be expensive to install the appropriate solar panels to harness the suns UV rays
  • Will only create energy provided there is a consistent timeframe of which the sun is present or strong enough to penetrate cloud cover

Wind – the use of wind and air to create energy

A clean source of energy

  • Can be expensive to install and maintain windmills to harness wind
  • Can become erratic in energy levels if there are changing wind patterns or the windmills are located in an area that doesn’t receive above a certain wind range

Non-renewable Energy Source

Non-renewable Energy Source means is any source that is in supply but over time, will fail to meet the demands of the industrial sector. Will not regenerate itself after use and cannot be regenerated as it is a natural occurrence of the earth over millions of years.

Non-Renewable Energy Source

Advantages 

Disadvantages 

Fossil Fuels

*coal, propane, etc.

  • Instant energy source from the minute it is put into action i.e., coal creates heat and energy once it is introduced to a consistent heat source or open flame
  • Will have a high enough level of energetic emissions to power an entire industrial plant for days
  • Energy emissions could potentially be duplicated through other means but at significant cost and time
Emissions from burning fossil fuels damage the ozone layer and contribute to climate change.Once gone, it cannot be regenerated


Conclusion


Sustainable resources, renewable energy and environmental conservation concept.Now that it has been discovered what natural gas is and how it measures up against other energy sources, it is no wonder that more companies are expanding outside of the mindset of using a non-renewable resource for their energy needs. More companies are switching over to a sustainable energy source and they are looking for ways to use the materials available to them on a daily basis as a conversion tool for a renewable energy source.

To discover ways to lower the amount of energy you are currently using in your daily life, such as through your utility and water usage at home, visit your local utility provider for ways to reduce energy consumption and in turn, lower your monthly bills!

The earth is our home and is the home to numerous special organisms from animals to plants to the sky. It is our responsibility to maintain our home and keep it safe from harm, which is difficult to do when companies insist on using a non-renewable resource as energy.

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