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New low carbon gas fuel options

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A new study from Energy Environment Economics (E3) has suggested that low carbon gas fuels are a viable option for California when looking to meet GHG reduction goals and can simultaneously help achieve pollution emission reduction targets. This information has come to light as California policymakers move toward environmentally focused energy goals, including increased reliance on renewable sources.

Decarbonised gas

Low carbon gas fuels are also known as decarbonised gas and refer to gaseous fuels with a net zero, or very low, GHG impact on the climate. These include fuels such as biogas, hydrogen and renewable synthetic gases which are produced with low lifecycle GHG emission approaches.

Roger Schwecke, VP of Customer Solutions, SoCalGas said, “California needs multiple energy options that delivery choice to our customers and put our state in the best position to successfully achieve its goals. Natural gas is a clean, abundant and affordable energy source that can help California address climate change and reduce smog, while supporting a strong economy.”

The new report from E3 examines the potential role of decarbonised gas fuels, as well as the existing gas pipeline infrastructure, to help meet California’s long term climate goals. It compares two technology pathway scenarios for meeting the state’s goal of reducing GHG emissions as well. Schwecke said, “the study concludes that a technology pathway for decarbonised gas could help meet the state’s GHG reduction goals and may be easier and could be less costly to implement in some sectors than a high electrification strategy…The findings point to the need for a significant program of research and development to make decarbonised gas a reality and allow consumers, businesses and policymakers greater flexibility and choice.”

Key findings

Four key report findings suggest that decarbonised gases distributed through the state’s existing pipeline network are complementary with a low carbon electrification strategy by addressing critical challenges to the state’s transition to a decarbonised energy supply.

Firstly, decarbonised pipeline gas can help to reduce emissions in sectors that are for technical or customer acceptance reasons difficult to electrify. Secondly, the production of decarbonised gas from electricity could play an important role in integrating variable renewable generation by producing gas when renewables are generating power, and then storing the gas in the pipeline distribution network for when it is needed. Thirdly, a transition to decarbonised pipeline gas would enable continued use of the state’s existing gas pipeline distribution network, eliminating the need for new energy delivery infrastructure, dedicated hydrogen pipelines or additional electric transmission and distribution capacity, to meet the 2050 GHG target. Lastly, decarbonised gas technologies would help diversify the technology risk associated with heavy reliance on a limited number of decarbonised energy carriers, and allow consumers, businesses and policymakers greater flexibility and choice.

Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd

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