This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 30, 2010

MIT Study: Natural Gas to Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Growing U.S. supplies of natural gas will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). An interim report on a two-year study of the future of natural gas concludes that highly efficient combined-cycle natural gas plants will replace older, inefficient coal plants. The MIT researchers found that conventional sources still offer significant global supplies of natural gas and that unconventional sources, such as gas shales, are rapidly expanding the resource base. Gas shales alone have boosted U.S. natural gas resources enough by an amount equal to 92 years of consumption at current rates of use, according to the study.

The MIT study estimated global recoverable natural gas resources at 16,200 trillion cubic feet, enough to last more than 160 years at current consumption rates. In part because of these ample supplies, natural gas consumption is expected to increase dramatically. Assuming that industrialized countries and large emerging economies adopt greenhouse gas emissions limits, natural gas will largely displace coal in the power-generation sector by 2050, according to the report. See the MIT press release and the interim report (4.9 MB). Download Adobe Reader.