Is Natural Gas Renewable?

Natural gas burning in rows of blue

Is natural gas renewable? The answer is a little complicated. Natural gas, the fossil fuel, is not a renewable resource. Much of this natural gas we are burning now formed in deposits nearly 300 million years ago. While it may not take another 300 million years to form, scientists theorize that more could form in 50 million years. Since this formation will still not happen within any of our lifetimes, we do not regard natural gas derived from fossil fuels as a renewable resource.

However, there are more ways to obtain variations of natural gas rather than relying on the formation of the fossil fuel. Natural gas is comprised mostly of methane gas, with small traces of ethane, propane, butane and nitrogen. Since natural gas is primarily methane, a substance that is readily available, this can be used to manufacture renewable natural gas, also known as sustainable natural gas.

Methane is manufactured from organic materials in decomposition phases. These materials include substances like livestock manure and vegetation collected from landfills. Renewable natural gas can then be produced economically, and distributed to natural gas suppliers like Walton EMC along the existing gas pipeline system. This makes for efficient method of supplying existing natural gas suppliers with renewable heat and renewable gas energy, at no additional cost to the customer.

Is there a difference between nonrenewable natural gas and renewable natural gas? None that you’ll notice!  Nonrenewable natural gas can be used in the same way as traditional gas to heat water, prepare meals and warm our homes and offices. However, the use of renewable natural gas comes with an added benefit for the environment. When renewable natural gas is converted into energy, methane that would otherwise have entered directly into the atmosphere is ignited which results in the release of a much less damaging greenhouse emission.