Natural Gas Uses
We are living in an environment focussed on cleaner energy and increasing energy efficiency. Natural gas is vital in helping achieve these goals. For this reason, natural gas is critical to our future and will have an ongoing place in the global economy for the foreseeable future.
Natural gas is
- the lowest carbon hydrocarbon, producing approximately half of the CO2, and one-tenth of the pollutants of coal when burnt to produce electricity;
- a flexible fuel alternative that can complement and grow together with renewable energy. When the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine (sometimes for days), natural gas can respond quickly to firm up the energy from these renewable sources to meet society’s energy needs as they happen;
- readily dispatchable and dependable in providing peak electricity supply, as well as replacing other power sources such as coal;
- used to produce liquified natural gas (LNG) which is a lower-emission alternative to diesel and heavy fuel oil for transportation in ships, trucks, buses and trains;
- can achieve high temperatures (that renewables cannot) to produce manufactured products such as steel and alumina, and to process minerals;
- an essential ingredient in many essential products including glass fabrics, fertilisers, and chemicals used in manufacturing;
- technology and infrastructure has been built up over decades, is proven and dependable;
- is an abundant and affordable energy source which is safe to store and use;
- is a major source of energy for nearly 70% of Australian homes, as gas directly piped to them or through electricity supplied through the grid from gas-fired power plants;
- may be blended with hydrogen and used in existing gas networks; and
- will play a very significant role to 2050 and beyond as a means of decarbonising the power sector.
Given the vital role that natural gas plays as an energy source, as a complement to renewable energy sources, and as a key ingredient in hydrogen production, natural gas has an ongoing role in the global economy.
Demand remains strong and growing for natural gas exported from Australia in LNG form, particularly to Asia. In addition, natural gas is anticipated to play a key role in emerging alternative global fuels, providing a pathway to competitive commercial-scale availability of low-carbon hydrogen.