Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Natural gas as a replacement for Diesel/Gas..transition to renewables?

Natural gas is considered to be a cleaner alternative to other fossil fuels like coal, diesel or gasoline. In countries like India, in order to combat air pollution, local governments are making it mandatory for public transport vehicles to use natural gas.

At a recent conference co-hosted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted there has been a sharp rise in U.S. natural gas reserves in recent years: "That's a big deal because gas will be a transition fuel as we go to renewables."

A recent report on natural gas by The Economist magazine concluded "a gasified American economy would have profound effects on both international politics and the battle against climate change. Displacement of oil by natural gas would strengthen a trend away from crude in rich countries … the unearthing of vast new supplies of gas could bring further upheaval."

The U.S. Congress,  appears to be on track to pass the National Gas Act.  Iincreased subsidies for converting trucks to natural gas. Compared with diesel, natural-gas engines produce much less nitrous oxide and particulate matter, and about 20% less greenhouse gas.

The emission standards for heavy- and medium-duty diesel engines will become more stringent, and fleets are already switching to natural gas engines to avoid the higher costs of environmental compliance required of diesel engines.

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