Is natural gas a clean energy

Gas as an energy source has many advantages. In terms of CO2 and fine dust emissions, it is clearly superior to other conventional energy sources. Gas is clean, safe and inexpensive. With gas, the short-term climate protection goals can be met as well as the milestones on the way to decarbonisation. Wherever natural gas still flows today, climate-neutral gases will soon be able to provide the same service. Whether we need long-term secure storage for days of dark doldrums with high energy consumption in the cold season or whether we want to produce climate-neutral: The necessary infrastructure - consisting of pipeline network and storage - is already in place with gas. The energy source natural gas is an all-rounder and can make a decisive contribution to the implementation of the energy transition - in the electricity sector, in mobility and, above all, in the heating market.

Good for the climate and the environment

Even today, natural gas is clearly superior to other conventional energy sources in terms of CO2 and fine dust emissions. Almost 500,000 kilometers of the natural gas network transport the gas to wherever it is needed. This infrastructure can advance the energy transition in the future. After all, the lines and storage facilities can be used for renewable gas without any modification or expansion - and that has great future potential: Biomethane and power-to-gas, powered by electricity from wind and sun, are making natural gas increasingly green. In this way, natural gas is becoming an important and flexible component of the decarbonised energy world - for heating, for generating electricity, as fuel, for industry and commerce. Less CO2, more renewables and high efficiency, because power-to-gas means that no more kilowatt hours of electricity are lost.

Component of an efficient heat transition

The boiler in the basement can be changed quickly. It pays off: New gas condensing models consume significantly less energy and thus not only reduce CO2 emissions, but also the monthly invoice amount. And that quickly, reliably and at moderate prices. Energy-efficient renovation and affordable living space fit so well under one roof. If all oil boilers in households with a connection to the natural gas network were replaced by gas condensing boilers, 18 million tons of CO2 could be avoided per year - that is around 40 percent of what still needs to be saved in the building sector between today and 2030. Combined with solar thermal energy, renewables also come into play, with biomethane even almost climate-neutral heating is possible - without any retrofitting. Thanks to innovative technologies such as combined heat and power or the fuel cell, gas will remain a component of an efficient heat transition in the long term.

Natural gas as the foundation of industry

The industry has relied on natural gas for decades - for example in the chemical industry or in food production. Industry and commerce already account for more than half of natural gas sales in Germany. If the economy were to continue to convert to natural gas and to reduce the use of heating oil and coal, that would be a plus for the climate balance, and fine dust emissions would also decrease. Holistic power-to-gas solutions in industry that are powered by green electricity have potential for the future. Businesses can also use bivalent technologies to generate space heating using both electricity and natural gas. That makes the demand more flexible. Just as the market demands with a growing but fluctuating share of renewable energies from wind and sun.

Drive for the traffic turnaround

Those who fill up with natural gas instead of gasoline reduce their CO2 emissions by around a quarter - with natural gas from renewable sources by up to 97 percent. Natural gas vehicles emit hardly any nitrogen oxides, their fine dust pollution is almost zero, and they are particularly quiet compared to diesel vehicles. From small cars to large trucks, all major manufacturers now offer natural gas vehicles, 100,000 of which are already rolling on Germany's roads. The fuel can be transported to almost every fuel pump in the country via the natural gas network - and liquid natural gas (LNG), already on the market today, can also drive heavy goods vehicles and shipping in the future.

100 percent natural: natural gas that grows back

The biogas generated from regenerative sources can be upgraded to natural gas quality and fed into the natural gas network. There it can be stored and used flexibly as required: On the heating market, so that households can heat almost climate-neutrally without having to swap a boiler; on the electricity market to compensate for the weather-related fluctuations in wind power and photovoltaics - and 100 percent renewable. Other possible areas of application are industry and the transport sector. If more biogas plants are converted to feed-in, existing and new plants become more efficient and the technologies further modernized, ten times as much biomethane could be available in 2030 - not only from residues, liquid manure, sustainably and water-friendly energy crops and straw, but also from algae.

Circulatory system: Turn electricity into gas

Renewable energies from wind and sun do not flow at the push of a button, but when the sun shines and the wind blows. But even with generation peaks and slack demand, no kilowatt hour of electricity will have to be lost in the future - because the excess electricity can be used to generate hydrogen from water with the aid of electrolysis. This can be used directly, mixed with natural gas to a certain extent, or processed into "Substituted Natural Gas" and fed into the grid. The power-to-gas process creates the connection: With this sector coupling, green energy from wind and sun can be stored and used in a variety of ways: for heating, in industry, as fuel or again to generate electricity. Renewable gas thus demonstrates flexibility and also reaches the transport and heating markets: an important contribution to climate protection.

High level of acceptance among the population

In the public, i.e. with customers, natural gas has been positively documented. This is the result of a market research study that BDEW has carried out annually. When asked which energy source the respondents would choose if they had to decide to install a new heating system today, around 42 percent answered: natural gas. Around 74 percent of those surveyed who already use natural gas would choose natural gas as heating energy again today. From the consumer's point of view, natural gas has the unique selling point of convenience and convinces with its economical and efficient applications as well as its environmentally friendly properties.