Monday, November 11, 2013

trucks, natural gas, sieves

correction in blue
Last week I posted (look at the second one down) "Another one of your stupid ideas shot down,......".  Concerning the idea that Natural Gas gives off 1/2 the CO2 of coal, therefore it's a good idea, but that just ain't so, if, and we must, count the destructive power of the methane leaks.  Methane, or CH4, being NG before it's burned in your water heater or local power plant.  Methane molecules are a full 102 20-25 times more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.  Leaks at the well, the pipe, the compressor, and the utility plant conspire to make claimed advantages worthless.

My old pal, Sarge, One Angry Zebra ask if it still wouldn't be a net good if trucks were converted from diesel to NG?  I said I suppose so but not much.  But, it's as likely I was wrong, it may never be a net good.  I have found scientific studies which suggest NG as a bridge to even cleaner energies is instead a gangplank.  

If we only measure CO2, then NG is the winner, it puts out less than gasoline or diesel, as it also put out less than coal.  It's a winner in that race.  But the infrastructure moving it and storing it is the problem, starting at the well head.  NOAA scientist in February measured CH4 leaks at dozens of wellheads in Texas found leaks of 6-12% at or near the well.  We haven't moved it yet and we already lost enough to overwhelm the CO2 advantage of burning it instead of diesel.  Remember it's 102 20-25 times the destructive power of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

To complicate things, CH4 lives 12 years in the high atmosphere, CO2 100 years.  In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science they did the calculations on converting trucks from diesel to NG.  Figuring the impact of burning each fuel, the life of the burned fuels in the atmosphere, the life of CH4 escaping throughout the infrastructure.  Converting vehicles today to NG will not have a positive impact on radiative forcing of the climate (warming) for 80 years or more.  Unless, the well-to-wheels CH4 leaks are reduced by 45-70%.  Stopping all leaks is impossible, but for this fuel to live up to what the industry propaganda claims, leaks must be 2% or less throughout the infrastructure.  Again, as before I remind you, the industry will do nothing to reduce leaks unless forced.  They have so much gas available, what do they care?  And these numbers are from only a few wells, most areas deny access for testing.  My guess is there are some examples out there of far worse leaks

Wind solar wave and geothermal looks better all the time doesn't it?  Science is interesting isn't it?  Whether you believe it or not, it's still true.


  1. Again, very interesting and necessary information. The facts point the way. Off to facebook with this one too! Tks Darrel!


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