Friday, January 10, 2014

Natural Gas Has Significantly Reduced Emissions from Power Plants

In 2013, Xcel Energy decommissioned this coal-fired power unit in Denver's Arapahoe Station. Shifts in the U.S. energy industry, including less electricity from coal, have meant fewer emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants, according to a new CIRES-led analysis. (Credit: Will von Dauster, NOAA) Click to enlarge.
Power plants that use natural gas and a new technology to squeeze more energy from the fuel release far less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than coal-fired power plants do, according to a new analysis accepted for publication Jan. 8 in the journal Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.  The so-called “combined cycle” natural gas power plants also release significantly less nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which can worsen air quality.

“Since more and more of our electricity is coming from these cleaner power plants, emissions from the power sector are lower by 20, 30, even 40 percent for some gases, since 1997,” said lead author Joost de Gouw, an atmospheric scientist with NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Natural Gas Has Significantly Reduced Emissions from Power Plants

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