The world is consuming more and more energy and with this only set to increase in decades to come, natural gas has been hailed as the ‘Fuel of the Future’. A rising global population as well as an increase in wealth, translates into increasing demand for more energy to power people’s homes, transport and devices.
Burning through finite supplies of oil and coal is unsustainable and renewables such as wind and solar power currently only contribute to 2% of the world’s global energy supply (1) – cue, natural gas. Natural gas already supplies 23% of the world’s energy and, according to BP’s Energy Outlook 2035, it is predicted that it will meet approximately a third of the rise in global energy demand (2).
In this blog, we reveal why natural gas is set to be the ‘Fuel of the Future’.
Natural gas supply and demand
One advantage that natural gas has over coal, oil is that supplies are plentiful, and this abundance has helped to keep the price low. Existing reserves are said to be able to supply over 50 years of energy at current production levels(2), and more reserves have been discovered in the last decade in countries such as Malaysia, Egypt and Tanzania. North America is rich in natural gas and, with explorations still ongoing, the US has been predicted to become one of the major exporters over the next few decades.
Countries looking to quickly generate more electricity to meet an increasing demand often turn to natural gas to avoid the time and cost implications of building expensive fossil fuel power stations. This is where Peak Power Plants come in. These small power plants fuelled by gas can be switched on when there is a surge in energy demand. The costs saved by running Peak Power Plants instead of fossil fuel power stations can be passed on to the consumer. For example, when it comes to transportation, the cost of running a vehicle fleet on natural gas results in huge savings compared to diesel.
Further advantages of natural gas
Natural gas is also preferable as an alternative to coal because of the range of uses. Whereas coal is best suited for the production of electricity, natural gas can be used in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) in utilities and transportation.
Another argument for the use of natural gas over coal is that it is more environmentally friendly. Whilst natural gas is not a perfect solution, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning coal are substantial. Vehicles powered by natural gas generally emit up to 20% percent fewer greenhouse gasses than comparable petrol and diesel vehicles (3). With public concern and awareness about climate change and health on the rise, governments are under pressure to demonstrate that they are taking action to reduce carbon emissions. Natural gas will undoubtedly benefit from this public pressure, as it provides a solution for meeting global energy demand quickly, whilst also reducing air pollution.
The future of energy
Natural gas is often called a “transition fuel”, as it helps to satisfying the global energy demand as the world shifts from coal and oil, to renewable energy. However, natural gas has now started to be considered as a major contributor for supplying energy in the long-term. The abundance, affordability, versatility and relatively low emissions of natural gas make it a favourable option, and with investments being made in the infrastructure to export it efficiently, natural gas will continue to play a significant role in fuelling the future.
Going forward, Squire Energy will continue to be a major exponent of natural gas and aim to provide our expertise, knowledge and accredited services to existing and new customers in the UK for the construction, delivery and installation of new gas infrastructure and primary metering services. We will continue our focus on safety and regulatory requirements, quality, delivery and budget, all coupled with an acute understanding of our customer’s needs, gained from our many years of experience in these areas.