Is Natural Gas Renewable
With rising energy bills, it can be difficult for businesses to lower their utility costs and reduce their carbon footprint. The demand for renewable energy is growing, with companies exploring alternative methods of fuelling their utilities. Hydroelectric power and geothermal energy are examples of renewable electricity, but what about gas? Is natural gas renewable? We explore what natural gas is, the differences between non-renewable and renewable natural gas, and its environmental impacts.
What is natural gas?
Natural gas is one of the largest energy sources in the UK, and is used to power businesses and homes up and down the country. Although, just because it comes from a natural resource, it doesn’t mean that natural gas is renewable. In fact, there’s a clear difference between non-renewable and renewable natural gas.
Natural gas is a naturally formed resource, that can be found beneath the earth’s surface, comprised of methane and other hydrocarbons, such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Similarly to other fossil fuels, it’s created from organic matter that died millions of years ago, including plants and animals.
Natural gas is found much deeper down in the earth’s core than oil so it can be complicated to extract, which can be damaging to the environment. The controversial process of fracking, for example, uses high power jets of fluid to drill down into rocks and release the gas inside. The practice has been banned in the UK and across much of Europe due to its impact on the environment, particularly due to it supposedly causing earth tremors.
Resources of natural gas are finite, which means it’s not renewable and supplies will run out if not managed correctly. However, there is a type of natural gas that is renewable and doesn’t come with the same risks as its non-renewable counterpart.
Renewable natural gas
Similar to non-renewable natural gas, the renewable version is made from decomposing organic matter. However, renewable natural gas is created using environmentally sustainable waste sources, such as food waste, landfills, animal waste, crop residuals and water waste, which are constantly being replaced.
So, is natural gas renewable? Well, it depends. If the natural gas is produced from a sustainable source, such biomethane created from animal manure, then yes. However, the natural gas that’s extracted from deep in the earth is a fossil fuel, so when resources run out, that’s it.