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Thread: Natural gas carbon footprint - worse than coal?

  1. #1 Natural gas carbon footprint - worse than coal? 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Release of methane to the atmosphere during well completion, production, processing, storage and transportation by pipeline adds significantly to the global warming potential of natural gas. The effect is worse when the natural gas is produced from shale formations.

    Methane slowly oxidizes to CO2 in the atmosphere so its global warming potential depends on the time frame being considered. According to the analysis presented in this very good YouTube video the 20 year global warming potential for shale gas is a lot worse than that of coal; over 100 years it's about the same as coal.

    Shale gas is promoted as the best potential energy source for the future, and of course it is advertised as clean. It may not be as clean as advertised. The scientists in the video acknowledge that their analysis is based on incomplete data and is offered as a starting point for discussion. It's about an hour long, including questions, but it's worth watching.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHg6U...layer_embedded


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    I only watched the first several minutes. To what degree are we talking about gas releases?

    The concept idea that natural gas is worse doesn't seem right to me. When we burn coal, we create primarily CO2 from the mass of the carbon. When we burn natural gas, we are creating energy by making water too. Much of the energy is burning hydrogen, not just carbon, from the various light low molecular paraffins.


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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    You could take the trouble to watch the whole thing and your questions would be answered.

    However, in brief, yes it's about releases of methane during production, transportation, storage and use. Well I already said that in the first post. This has always been an issue and the scientists in the video have attempted to quantify it. Their results may be questionable, and indeed some of the most interesting discussion (IIRC) came during the question time at the end.

    You will notice that the title of my post had a question mark at the end. I am not convinced they are right but I thought it might be an interesting topic to discuss.

    By the way, the topic is methane, but there is also a lot of CO2 directly released during natural gas production from formations in which the gas is sour.
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    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    You could take the trouble to watch the whole thing and your questions would be answered.

    However, in brief, yes it's about releases of methane during production, transportation, storage and use. Well I already said that in the first post. This has always been an issue and the scientists in the video have attempted to quantify it. Their results may be questionable, and indeed some of the most interesting discussion (IIRC) came during the question time at the end.

    You will notice that the title of my post had a question mark at the end. I am not convinced they are right but I thought it might be an interesting topic to discuss.

    By the way, the topic is methane, but there is also a lot of CO2 directly released during natural gas production from formations in which the gas is sour.
    I think the release would be small compared to the usable gasses that produce less CO2 when burned. Just my SWAG however.

    I may take the time sometime to watch it. Just not now. Maybe in the next week or so when I'm off to school for four weeks, and have more time when I will be trapped in a hotel room, or spend money to go out.

    I'll miss my toys at home.

    Bought an old used laptop. Actually, bought my daughter a Toshiba Satellite that would do her 3D rendering in college real fast and took her HP dv8000 I bought her for High School six years ago. Does what I need it too. Just hope the hotel's wireless is fast enough of a connection for my Netfix on demand to work.
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  6. #5 Natural Gas Fracking 
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    Here is an article from MNN that says that natural gas fracking produces greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional gas, oil and coal production.

    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/ene...ouse-footprint
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