The role of natural gas

Providing more energy to people while reducing its impact on the planet is one of the 21st century’s greatest challenges.

Natural gas can help to meet that challenge by reducing emissions and improving air quality when it replaces coal and diesel.

Gas is also a reliable partner for renewable energy sources; providing critical support for wind, solar and hydroelectricity by helping to match supply and demand.

Natural gas is also vital in parts of the economy that are more difficult to electrify, including industrial processes and freight transport.

Natural gas in the energy transition

Cleaner electricity

Wind turbine shot at sunset

Natural gas emits between 45% and 55% lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal when used to generate electricity, according to IEA data.

Using natural gas instead of coal to generate electricity can also significantly reduce air pollution.

Natural gas supports renewables because it can quickly compensate for dips in solar or wind power supply and rapidly respond to sudden increases in demand.

Natural gas is also a good partner for hydropower, providing secure electricity supply when there is insufficient rainfall.

Industry

Man in protective clothing at work in steel foundry

In light industry, such as textiles, switching from coal to gas boilers can make a significant contribution to cost reductions, lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

In heavy industries such as iron, steel, cement and chemicals, switching from coal to gas to produce the intense heat required in furnaces can significantly reduce emissions.

Natural gas will continue to be a central component to produce everyday products such as plastics and fertilisers.

Built Environment

Low angle view of golden illuminated Roppongi Hills Mall building in Japan

In developed countries, highly efficient, distributed gas-fired combined heat and power systems will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In developing countries, natural gas will replace wood and coal in heating and cooking, helping to improve health conditions.

These systems can also support the integration of low-emissions sources of energy, including geothermal heat and power, solar, wind and batteries.

Transport

container ship in harbour in the evening

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is helping to diversify the fuel mix and reduce air pollution as a fuel for heavy-duty road transport and shipping.

Natural gas is also converted into high-quality cleaner burning gas-to liquids (GTL) fuels for heavy duty vehicles, inland and seagoing marine vessels.

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