Understanding emissions

Gas supply emissions refer to the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted during the production, distribution, and use of gas, including methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Such gas can come from a variety of sources. In current energy systems, the majority of combusted gas is from natural gas - a fossil fuel - extraction, refining and supply.

Unburnt natural gas is around 95% methane. When burnt, natural gas GHG emissions are a combination of C02 (a by-product of combustion) and remaining methane. The ratios of each depend on the efficiency of burning.  

As a GHG methane is significantly more potent than CO2 (~30 over 100 years and ~80 over 20 years) which makes it an important target for emissions reduction as it affects the climate on a short timescale.  Carbon dioxide on the other hand lasts much longer in the atmosphere, so its cumulative effects are greater. 

Understanding GHG emissions better and reducing their escape throughout supply chains is an important step in addressing climate change and transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

In the quest for more sustainable sources of energy, there is also a growing interest and investment in infrastructure from biogas and biomethane (methane gas derived from waste biological materials) and Hydrogen. 

The SGI's emissions research team investigates levels and sources of GHGs from across gas supply networks for natural gas and biogas. Increasingly, our research is extending to examine the potential for GHG emissions from perceived clean energy hydrogen gas.