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Sustainable Energy

Student : Pham Viet Phuc


Class: K5_KKT

Question: What are the environmental impacts of natural gas extraction


and consumption?

Natural gas has many qualities that make it an efficient, relatively clean burning,
and economical energy source. However, the production and use of natural gas
have some environmental and safety issues to consider.

Firstly, Global warming emissions : This is the most serious problem of natural
gas . Its combustion are much lower than those from coal or oil. One of the
principle greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide. Considering only tailpipe
emissions, natural gas also emits 15 to 20 percent less heat-trapping gases than
gasoline when burned in today’s typical vehicle. The combustion of natural gas
emits almost 30 percent less carbon dioxide than oil, and just under 45 percent
less carbon dioxide than coal.The drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells
and its transportation in pipelines results in the leakage of methane, primary
component of natural gas that is 34 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat over
a 100-year period and 86 times stronger over 20 years .
Secondly, Air pollution : The combustion of natural gas produces negligible
amounts of sulfur, mercury, and particulates. Burning natural gas does produce
nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are precursors to smog, but at lower levels than
gasoline and diesel used for motor vehicles. For instance, DOE analyses indicate
that every 10,000 U.S. homes powered with natural gas instead of coal avoids the
annual emissions of 1,900 tons of NOx, 3,900 tons of SO2, and 5,200 tons of
particulates.
Thirdly, Smog and poor air quality is a pressing environmental problem,
particularly for large metropolitan cities. Smog, the primary constituent of which
is ground level ozone, is formed by a chemical reaction of carbon monoxide,
nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and heat from sunlight. For this
reason, it can be used to help combat smog formation in those areas where ground
level air quality is poor.
Acid rain is also formed when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides react with water
vapor and other chemicals in the presence of sunlight to form various acidic
compounds in the air. The principle source of acid rain-causing pollutants, sulfur
dioxide and nitrogen oxides, are coal fired power plants.
Besides, Pollution from the Transportation Sector ,Vehicles using nature gas:
Emissions from vehicles contribute to smog, low visibility, and various
greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas can be used in the transportation sector to
cut down on these high levels of pollution from gasoline and diesel powered cars,
trucks, and buses. According to the EPA, compared to traditional vehicles,
vehicles operating on compressed natural gas have reductions in carbon monoxide
emissions of 90 to 97 percent, and reductions in carbon dioxide emissions of 25
percent. Nitrogen oxide emissions can be reduced by 35 to 60 percent, and other
non-methane hydrocarbon emissions could be reduced by as much as 50 to 75
percent.
Moreover, Natural gas exploration, drilling, and production: The construction
and land disturbance required for oil and gas drilling can alter land use and harm
local ecosystems by causing erosion and fragmenting wildlife habitats and
migration patterns. When oil and gas operators clear a site to build a well pad,
pipelines, and access roads, the construction process can cause erosion of dirt,
minerals, and other harmful pollutants into nearby streams. Drilling a natural gas
well on land may require clearing and leveling an area around the well site. Well
drilling activities produce air pollution and may disturb people, wildlife, and water
resources.
Finally, Water pollution :
Groundwater : One major cause of gas contamination is improperly constructed
or failing wells that allow gas to leak from the well into groundwater. In addition
to gases, groundwater can become contaminated with hydraulic fracturing fluid.
In several cases, groundwater was contaminated from surface leaks and spills of
fracturing fluid. Fracturing fluid also may migrate along abandoned wells, around
improperly sealed and constructed wells, through induced fractures, or through
failed wastewater pit liners.
Surface Water : Drilling muds, diesel, and other fluids can also spill at the
surface. There is also risk to surface water from deliberate improper disposal of
wastewater by bad actors.
Water Use: The growth of hydraulic fracturing and its use of huge volumes of
water per well may strain local ground and surface water supplies, particularly in
water-scarce areas. According the EPA estimates that 70 billion to 140 billion
gallons of water were used nationwide in 2011 for fracturing an estimated 35,000
wells.
Earthquakes : Hydraulic fracturing itself has been linked to low-magnitude
seismic activity less than 2 moment magnitude (M) (the moment magnitude scale
now replaces the Richter scale) but such mild events are usually undetectable at
the surface . Although it can be challenging to attribute individual earthquakes to
injection, in many cases the association is supported by timing and location of the
events.

Today, Nature gas have an important role in the global economy and society but
we need to find out and research solutions to effectively use this source of fuel in
the future.